Engrossed in the colonial legacy that is as old as three centuries, Kolkata sparks off a spirited reaction from folks who visit it. And with crisp cold winds, dim winter sun and a hot cup of coffee, residents of Kolkata welcome winter like no other city.
Along with dim winter sun and chills, winter also hosts many festivals, and thereby holidays. Be it a long weekend or a few days; all that people want is to take a break from the routine work and bask in the lazy afternoon sun. And if you are planning for a winter holiday or a short trip in and around Kolkata, we have the best list for you. Here are the ten best places to visit near Kolkata in winters with your loved ones.
1. Joypur Forest
As the name suggests, this forest provides a complete sense of joy to respite seekers. Located about 145 km away from Kolkata, this beautiful natural wonder is entirely decked amid the Chota Nagpur Hills. Boasting a variety of rare flora and fauna, Joypur Forest is a must-visit during winter. A short trip to this forest can be an excellent getaway to reconnect with your loved ones, as well as with nature. The best time to visit Joypur forest is in December, as most of the exotic and harmless animals can be witnessed easily in the woods while you enjoy a trek with the fresh air filling your lungs.
Well connected via Kalyani Expressway, Khanyan is located 70 km away from Kolkata. It is an ultimate royalty-infused retreat for tourists and travellers. This quaint village hosts many historical landmarks and shrines. Itachuna Rajbari, Mahanad Kali and Kalibari are a few Rajbaris, where at one point, the zamindars dictated the terms and held their congregation to solve the problems of the locals. Besides Rajbaris, Khanyan is also apt for history buffs, as there are local galleries and museums that stores many local letters, photographs, and writings and famous work.
3. The Sundarbans
Located about 85 km, a couple of hours drive from Kolkata, Sundarbans is a land of beauty with meandering rivers and the forest. Thus, making it an ideal winter destination to travel with friends and families. You can have a pleasant stay at the houseboat and admire the perfect natural setting along the cruise. Many small islands and parks are decked in the vicinity of Sundarbans. Besides the view, you can also get the best accommodation and wholesome meals for economical packages. Boasting plenty of wildlife sanctuaries and watchtowers, Sundarbans is the most sought after winter destination near Kolkata.
Located about 280 km away from Kolkata, Pakur is a haven of orchards and ponds placed amid the splendid Rajmahal Hills. Pakur is a famous battleground that witnessed bloodshed, resistance, and patriotism during the infamous rule of British Raj. Pakur's architectural marvels have a substantial British influence. The Birkitti Fort, Devinagar Ruins, and Martello Towers are a few of the historical landmarks you can visit in Pakur with your family and friends to learn a little about the tumultuous history of our nation. It is also home to natural hot springs in Sidpur, which is considered to be sacred by many locals. Rumour has it that a dip in this holy springs on the occasion of New Year is supposed to cleanse your body and soul.
5. Joychandi Hill
Located at an altitude of 800 ft, this lesser-known hill station is a natural paradise. With rolling hills, lush forests, panoramic landscapes and historical significance, Joychandi Hills is the best place to visit near Kolkata during winter. Situated 270 km away from Kolkata, Joychandi Hills is a place where hills, forests and history meet. Apart from its natural bounties, the hill station is also home to many attractions like Garpanchkot, Panchet Lake, Maithon Dam and Mata Chandi, to name a few. It is also an apt winter destination for thrill-seekers and adventure junkies as it offers trekking, hiking and rock-climbing options in the rocky hills.
6. Golpata Forest
Presently serving as the international border between India and Bangladesh, Golpata Forest is located just 80 km from Kolkata, in Taki. You can take a short trip to Golpata forest with your friends and family to enjoy an idyllic winter weekend or vacation. During winter the whole forest thrives with diverse flora and fauna like no other place near Kolkata. You can also camp on the banks of River Ichamati and witness its rare conflux with the River Ganga at the Sundarbans. Maachranga Dwip, Durgadalan, Kuleshwari kali Temple, and the Jora Shib Mandir are a few other tourists attractions in and around Golpata Forest that will leave you wanting for more.
Situated on the conflux of the rivers Kumari and Kangsabati, Mukutmanipur is one of the best places to visit near Kolkata in Winter. It is the second biggest earthen dam in India and is located about 235 km from Kolkata. Displaying many green hills and lush forests, Mukutmanipur is an ideal place for you and your family to have a pleasant excursion on the banks of the dam. You can also go hiking in the forests around the hilly area. And for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, there is deer park and the Jhilimili Forest to venture into. Whatever the purpose, this winter destination will surely give you an exhilarating experience of the nature meeting civilisation.
Mayapur, a popular Vaishnavite site, is home to many mystical shrines. Located about 120 km away from Kolkata, it boasts nine holy islands representing a petaled-lotus flower formation; hence famously called 'Navadwipa'. If you are pious, Mayapur is the right place to visit near Kolkata this winter as it is adobe to many famous shrines like Chandrodya Temple, Yoga Peeth, and Shree Chaitanyanath, to name a few. It is a one-stop-spiritual destination that will satiate your mind, body and soul to start the new year with a bang.
Renowned as the ancient kingdom of Gangaridai, Chandraketugarh is located about 35 km away from Kolkata. It is decked with old forts, ruins and temples dedicated to Khana and Mihir. Years of the archaeological venture has unearthed many ancient walls and stairs of archaic temples. Apart from the magnificent ruins, Chandraketugarh boasts a grand view of Bidyadhari river, and it is best viewed from the Bidyadhari Bridge. It is one of the best winter getaways near Kolkata, and it will ensure you unwind in the marvel of some historical landmarks abreast gaining a little knowledge about our ancient history as well.
10. Bakkhali Beach
Located about 125 km from Kolkata, Bakkali Beach is a virgin beach stretching almost 7 km along the coastline. Mostly untouched by city dwellers, the beach is one of the new entrants in the tourism scene of West Bengal. You can stroll along on the pristine white beach, bask in the sunset and sunrise and even witness a few migratory birds while enjoying the fresh sea breeze with your loved ones. Besides, being a beach destination, Bakkhali is also home to Crocodile propagation reserve. Thus, making it an ideal place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.