Not only is Kolkata city the ‘City of Joy’ where you can visit some of the country’s finest attractions in the country, but it is also a city from where you can go on memorable road trips in India.
West Bengal and its surrounding states are laden with several outstanding getaways that you can explore according to your moods and fancies, be it pilgrimage spots or nature trails. Our guide provides a comprehensive list of the most captivating road trips from Kolkata.
Short Road Trips from Kolkata (2 days)
The shortest road trip to a small riverside town. Just get in your car or bike and head on out to Raichak to visit its top delights, including the Diamond Harbour and Chingrikhali Fort. The Harbour is where the Hooghly river meets into the Bay of Bengal and is a popular picnic spot for the locals.
The Fort is close to the harbour and was once a Portuguese stronghold, now in ruins. By the fort there is a lighthouse that you can climb atop to enjoy great views of the harbour and its surroundings.
Distance from Kolkata: 55 kilometres
A spiritually important small town that you can visit for its fabled past. Start by visiting the Taraknath temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and supposed to be one of the 12 abodes of Jyotirlingas of Shiva, then head to the Buddha Temple which was consecrated by the Dalai Lama himself. This is the only Buddhist temple in the Hooghly district.
Distance from Kolkata: 62 kilometres
An essential road trip from Kolkata. The Sundarban National Park is a UNESCO heritage site is home to the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world. You’d especially love taking a road trip during the monsoons. Spot the Royal Bengal tigers here and also check out saltwater crocodiles and other species. You can visit the nearby village on a biking tour and go fishing too.
This getaway into the quietude of nature has been described as a heavenly experience by tourists and visitors.
Distance from Kolkata: 102 kilometres
The university founded by Tagore that produced some of India’s greatest intellectual minds. Shantiniketan road trip is a cultural trip that will be thoroughly enriching. Take a guided tour to Visva Bharati University, visit the Tagore Ashram to see the legendary master’s memorabilia, and visit Amar Kutir to shop for some rare and unique handicraft items. Also do visit Chhatimtala, a peaceful place where Rabindranath Tagore used to teach his students.
Distance from Kolkata: 162 kilometres
A short road trip that will take you to a historic terracotta temple city with spectacular architecture and old world charm. Rasmancha is a hut-shaped temple with an array of brick pillars, exquisite carvings and awesome cannons to admire. The Jorbangla temple is a great example of terracotta architecture as well as Shyam Rai Temple, also greatly carved in red terracotta stone.
Distance from Kolkata: 180 kilometres
6. Digha & Mandarmani
Popular beach destinations, a road trip to Mandarmani and Digha is called for when you’re in the mood for coastal lounging. Its four famous beaches are New Digha Beach, Mandarmani Beach, Talsari Beach, Udaipur Beach and Shankarpur Beach. Adventure beach activities to indulge in here are parasailing, snorkelling, water zorbing and water skiing. Enjoy jet skiing and ATV Bike rides in Mandarmani.
Distance from Kolkata: 184 kilometres
Taking a road trip to the first planned industrial city of India has to be special. The city’s top attractions are a 200-acre park called Jubilee Park, Dimna Lake beside the Dalma Range, and Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary and Tata Zoological Park. The absolute hidden gem at Jamshedpur is the Amadubi Rural Tourism Center, a rural artist centre that depicts tribal life and some jaw-dropping tribal artwork. Spend time with humble and unassuming Jharkhand tribals, a truly rewarding experience.
Distance from Kolkata: 284 kilometres
Road Trips from Kolkata: Long Road Trips (3 days & over)
8. Bodh Gaya
The ultimate spiritual road trip; Kolkata to Bodhgaya road trip will be memorable for so many reasons. This road trip will take you to the location of Gautam the Buddha’s enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage place in the whole world.
Pay your respects at the Bodhi Tree, explore the Mahabodhi Temple complex, marvel at the 80 foot Buddha statue, check out the Thai and Royal Bhutanese monasteries and visit the archaeological museum. The main reason to visit Bodh Gaya would be to absorb the spiritually uplifting vibes of Buddha’s awakening.
Distance from Kolkata: 474 kilometres
A great road trip for fans of heritage and architecture. Stop at Konark first and check out its 13th century Konark Sun Temple, dedicated to Sun God. The temple is in the shape of a splendidly carved chariot with 12 pairs of wheels. In Konark visit the nearby Konark Beach.
Proceed to Puri to visit India’s most famous pilgrimage site, Jagannath Temple. Also go to Puri Beach, a shallow beach ideal for swimming. Do visit Chilka Lake, India’s largest saltwater lake and enjoy boating and bird watching and its Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary.
Distance from Kolkata: 500 kilometres
Before Darjeeling, stop at Kurseong which is a less-explored hill station when compared to Darjeeling. Nonetheless, it is a quiet town nestled in green hills and beautiful vistas. Visit Dow Hill, St. Mary’s Hill, check out the Castleton Tea Estate, and Eagle’s Crag to enjoy breathtaking views of the hills.
Distance from Kolkata to Kurseong: 590 kilometres
This will be a scenic road trip taking you across the Himalayan regions of West Bengal that are to die for. In Darjeeling, there are so many wonderful things to do you won’t want to return to your regular city life.
Ride in the toy train, watch the Kanchenjunga sunrise, meditate at its peaceful monasteries, and ride on the passenger ropeway. Make sure you plan a weeklong road trip to fully enjoy this paradise on earth.
Distance from Kolkata to Darjeeling: 615 kilometres
More or less the same stunning Darjeeling route with a few detours will lead you to the dreamy hill town of Kalimpong that also has several British era buildings and other-world ambience. Also known for its Buddhist traditions, in Kalimpong, you will find precious Buddhist scriptures at Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang Monastery.
Do not miss out on visiting the Delo Park for its natural wonders and visit the colourful Phodong and Tharpa Choling monasteries. This is a peaceful hill station which is not too crowded and offers much needed ‘me time’ in a beautiful landscape.
Distance from Kolkata: 624 kilometres
Through the hinterlands of Jharkhand, this epic road trip will take you to the most visited and revered Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi. But the city is more than its religious sites and symbolism. Its colourful, chaotic and vibrant atmospherics are its main attraction.
You will get to see crowded ghats with devotees trying to bathe in the holy waters of Ganges, people burning the corpses of loved ones so that they attain “salvation”, and myriad Hindu mystics meditating everywhere. Sunset and sunrise boat rides are popular here along with the evening aarti ceremony on the ghats.
Distance from Kolkata: 680 kilometres