West Bengal, the state that is rich with literature, art, culture and heritage of many formerly ruling powers, such as the British, Portuguese, French and more, is a fantastic place to plan your tour. You can walk through the beautiful streets of the towns, villages and cities in West Bengal and learn about the state's royal past.
While places like Kolkata, Darjeeling, Sundarbans, etc. are filled with stories to tell, they also happen to be the most popular tourist destinations that tend to get crowded, especially during vacation season. If you'd like to explore this beautiful state but also be able to do so with fewer tourists crowding the place, visit these offbeat destinations that are just as beautiful and intriguing to visit.
Nestled on the foothills of Panchet hills lies the ruined remnants of the Garh Panchkot Fort. These ruins stand as a testimony to the attack by the Bargis back in the 18th century. Garh Panchkot lies in Purulia, which is located almost 300 km from Kolkata.
There are ruins spread around this location, which can be found in the lush greenery of the Panchet Hill. On the way, you may even see the Panchet Dam.
Dooars is a floodplain that literally means "doors" in many Indian languages and the place is named so due to the 18 passages that lie between the hills of Bhutan and plains of India.
Dooars is a natural beauty that is spread with tea gardens on one hand and thickets of forest and jungle on the other. In the vicinity of Dooars, you will find places like Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Latpanchore, to name a few.
PC: Debarshi Bhaumik
Lepchajagatis a quaint secluded village that is located just a few kilometres from the famous hill station, Darjeeling. For a quick escape into the arms of nature, visit Lepchajagat.
Lepcha is a tribal group that used to dominate the region, which is where the village gets its name from. Some of the places of interest in and around the beautiful village are Jorpokhri, which is a twin lake, Manebhanjan, Old Ghoom monastery, etc.
Sandakphu is one of the most sought-after trekking destinations, since it is the highest peak in West Bengal. Perched on the Singalila mountain ranges, it can be accessed by trekking through the Singalila National Park.
You can explore the national park while trekking where you may witness animals, such as Himalayan black bears, clouded leopards or indulge in watching birds, such as blood pheasant, scarlet minivet, to name a few.
The trek upto Sandakphu might take 7-8 days to be completed. Guided treks are available in plenty to Sandakphu.
The beach town of Shankarpur is an offbeat destination, that welcomes visitors with clean and secluded beaches where you can unwind and relax in isolation. The town is located about 176 km from Kolkata that takes about 4-5 hours to reach.
Perfect for a weekend getaway, Shankarpur's one and only excitement are its tranquil beaches. Go beach-hopping to Shankarpur Beach, Mandarmani Beach and Digha Beach at this quaint town.
PC: Anirban Biswas
Nestled beside the river Bidyadhari lies the archaeological site of Chandraketugarh. A delight for history buffs, Chandraketugarh is a town that reveals excavations that belonged to the ancient Gangaridai kingdom that existed 2,500 years ago.
Excavations include terracotta art, brick structures of Khana-Mihir mound, etc. All of these excavations are now under the care of Archaeological Survey of India. To revel in a bygone era, visit Chandraketugarh, the offbeat town which is located just 45 km from Kolkata.
Yet another quaint little village is Samsing, located in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. The village is settled on the foothills of Jalpaiguri and is spread with lush green tea gardens, forests and pristine natural beauty. With a pleasant and balmy weather, Samsing can be an ideal offbeat getaway.
Neora Valley National Park is located just a few kilometres from Samsing, where you can witness the beautiful river Neora and the exotic and cute red pandas. Grab a pair of binoculars for birdwatching since the park is home to numerous birds, such as crimson-breasted woodpecker, mountain hawk eagle, red-headed bullfinch, etc.
PC: Biswajit Majumdar