With crisp cold winds, lazy afternoon sun and a cup of hot tea in our hands – we finally welcome Winter. And with the chill, we kick-start our new vacation plans. Be it a few days or just a weekend – all we want – is to soak up the dim winter sun.
So, what’s your winter holiday plan?
Which is the best winter destination 2018?
Will it be a short trip in and around your city or a long holiday?
Want to know the best Winter Holiday Destinations near Kolkata?
Mayapur: Your One-Stop-Spiritual Destination
Located at a distance of 130 kms from Kolkata – Mayapur is a popular Vaishnavite site. It is one of the dhams of the 9 holy islands that make up the petaled-lotus flower called ‘Navadwipa’.
Infamous for its connection to ISKCON Community – Mayapur boasts of being an incredible locale of mystical shrines – Chandrodaya Temple, Shree Chaitanyamath (the actual birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu), Yoga Peeth (center of Meditation, Vedas and yes Yoga!), Sri Devananda Gaudiya Math and Chand Kazi’s Samadhi.
A trip to Mayapur satiate your Mind, Body and Soul to core – driving you closer to Nirvana!
Khanyan: Experience Life Zamindar Style
Want to get a peek at the lives of zamindars before the British?
Want to explore the Royals in India?
Khanyan is your ultimate Royalty-Infused Destination!
What makes the village different from others?
The Raj Bari of course! This quaint village houses the historical Itachuna Rajbari. Khanyan is located only about 70 kms away and is connected by Kalyani Expressway to Kolkata.It is must to spend a night at the Itachuna Rajbari, while visiting Khanyan – if you wish to immerse into the past of the Royals and their life.Visit the royal Sabhagar, where at one point of time the zamindars of the land held their everyday congregation to solve the problems of the locals. You can also stop at the Mahanad Kali Bari – which is only 8 kms from the Rajbari.The kalibari is over 200 years old and the folklore surrounding the temple is that Rani Rashmoni was inspired to build the Dakshineswar Mandir after she offered puja in this temple.You can also pay homage to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay at his residence in Debanandapur – where a museum stores his letters, photographs, and writings and popular work.
Chandraketugarh: The Historical Exploration of A Civilization
Only at a distance of 35 kms from Kolkata, near Barasat – Chandraketugarh is a part of the ancient kingdom of Gangaridai.The star attractions of these ruins are the Khanamihirer Dhipi – which is home to both the Chandraketugarh fort and the ancient temple dedicated to Khana and Mihir, who was one of the Navaratna in Chandragupta II’s sabha.The only structures remaining of these magnificent archeological finds are the walls of a temple and a few flights of stairs. It is also the site of an incomplete mosque built by Pir Gorachand and his followers. The local folklore suggests that the mosque was actually being built on the ruins of a Buddhist Stupa.Do not miss the grand view of the Bidyadhari river by passing through the Bidyadhari Bridge.A winter holiday to Chandraketugarh will ensure that you can unwind in the beauty of these historical landmarks while gaining a little knowledge about our ancestors as well.
Pakur: A Glimpse Into Our Trail of Independence
Pakur is a cluster of orchards and ponds shadowed by the Rajmahal Hills, at a distance of only 280 kms from Kolkata.Pakur, a hub of historical value, is filled with rich stories of bloodshed, resistance, and patriotism to soothe the revolutionary soul.One of the architectural marvels – the Birkitti Fort – built by the local Rajput clans is present here. Thought to be the spot where the battle between the local Rajput chief, Raja Udit Narayan Singh and Nawab Murshid Kuli of Murshidabad took place – this timeless citadel serves as a reminder of the power of the Rajputs and their time-honored traditions.Another historical site – the Devinagar Ruins – had been built by Raja Udit Narayan Singh. There are remnants of a temple and village huts visible – but the main attraction of the ruins is the tunnel that once connected Devinagar to the village of Birkitti – which can still be seen today.Pakur also has a huge British influence – Martello Towers are oblong domes that were built to resist cannon fire and were high enough to station soldiers to shoot natives from a vantage point. These small towers were built by the British Raj during the Santhal Revolt of 1857.There are also natural hot springs in Sidpur, that is considered to be very auspicious for the local Sapa Hore tribes – taking a dip in these holy springs on the occasion of Makar Sankranti is supposed to cleanse your body and soul.So, why not take a dip to cleanse your immortal soul and also learn a little about the tumultuous history of our nation.
Mukutmanipur: The Dam of All Dams
The second biggest earthen Dam in India – Mukutmanipur is about 55 kms from Bankura and 230 kms from Kolkata. Situated on the confluence of the rivers Kumari and Kangsabati, this forms the perfect backdrop for an idyllic weekend travel.When visiting the Mukutmanipur Dam you can see the wonders of the lush forests and the beauty of the gushing water from unimaginable heights.Known for its majestic view, you can have a small picnic on the banks of the dam or can go hiking in the forests around the area. You can also explore the Ambikanagar ruins, considered to be an important place of pilgrimage for Jains.For Nature lovers, you can also hit the Deer Parks and the Jhilimili Forest. The Palace of King Raicharan is also open for tourists to see the glory of the Kings.A winter vacation to Mukutmanipur can give you the exhilarating experience of the powers of Mother Nature in her angry and turbulent form.
Joypur Forest: A Little Forest goes A Long Way
Want to experience an adventure in dense forests for a weekend?
Then plan a trip to Joypur Forest.Located just 140 kms from Kolkata in the Bankura district, this extremely dense forest is also a part of the Chota Nagpur hills. With many glistening rivers, ancient temple ruins and, monuments of yesteryear civilizations this forest has something for everyone.The forest has a variety of flora and fauna for tourists to enjoy and you can even have a picnic within the forest boundaries – but take care as you cannot cook in the forest. For history buffs, Bishnupur – the land of temples – is just 10 kms from the forest and can be accommodated on a day trip.The best time to plan a holiday to Joypur Forest is during winter when most of the animals can be seen with little ones and you can also enjoy the trek with the fresh crisp air filling your lungs.
Sundarbans: A Royal Bengal of A Ride
The tour of all tours – a Sundarban houseboat cruise is an idyllic way to spend a few days of winter. With the beauty of the meandering river and the forest in all its tranquility – the Sundarbans make the perfect setting for a memorable vacation in winter. Located only 85 kms from Kolkata, you can book a room in the houseboat or the houseboat in entirety. The tour starts from Godkhali and takes you to all the small islands and into the parks without you having to disembark. With different packages planned to suit you, rustic accommodations and wholesome meals prepared with love and dedication – the Sundarban cruise is more of an experience than a holiday. You can visit the Sundarbans National Park, the Bhagabatpur Crocodile Sanctuary, Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower, Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, Nethidhopani Watchtower, Sagar Island, Haliday Wildlife Sanctuary and you never know you just might be able to see a Royal Bengal Tiger there. If not then do not fret for there are a million and one animals, birds and reptiles that you can see in the Sundarbans.
Daringbadi: The Little Kashmir of The East
Want to experience snow? Want to walk among the coffee plantations? Want to see elephants up close and personal? Then a vacation in Daringbari in winter is the thing for you. Known as the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’ Daringbari is at a distance of 680 kms from Kolkata and is gifted with natural bounties that include coffee gardens, waterfalls, pepper gardens, and turmeric fields.You can also visit the Kotagarh Sanctuary and the Belghar Sanctuary to see the wild elephants, tigers, gaur, red jungle fowl and a large variety of reptiles.The area is also an avid spot for adventure lovers as you can go trekking or rock climbing in winter or can just walk the vast expanses of the Sanctuaries hoping to catch a glimpse of the animals.Daringbari is mainly unexplored and does not get many tourists visiting for which accommodations are far and few – so book well in advance to ensure a peaceful trip.
Joychandi Hill: Where Hills, Forests and History meet
The destination with hills, forests, and historical significance all rolled into one, Joychandi Hill, stands 800 feet tall amongst the plane lands of Purulia.Only at a distance of 260 kms from Kolkata, you can plan a weekend trip to Joychandi Pahar, to visit the temple of Mata Chandi on the top of the hill.With just a 520 steps climb to the temple, there is an abandoned watchtower which, according to local folklore, was used by dacoits a few hundred years back.You can also visit Garpanchkot, near Panchet Lake, Boranti Village, Maithon Dam and for movie addicts, you can visit the caves where legendary filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, filmed ‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’.In the winter months, there are also provisions for rock climbing for the thrill-junkies, in these rocky hills.
Golpata Forest, Taki: The Confluence of International Borders
Did you know that we had a forest just 80 kms from Kolkata?Bet you didn’t.Welcome to the Golpata Forest in Taki.Known as the natural border between India and Bangladesh, you can drive down to Taki for a weekend trip. The winter months are perfect to see the beauty of the Golpatar trees and see the Icchamati river flowing down to join the Ganges at the Sundarbans.This confluence is considered as an international boundary and you can watch fishermen from India and Bangladesh swim near each other as if to taunt one another into making the mistake of crossing the border.You can also explore Maachranga Dwip to see the majestic ruins of the Durgadalan and also see the Kuleshwari Kali Temple, the Jora Shib Mandir which is over 300 years old and General Shankar Roychowdhury’s patrilineal house.
Bawali Rajbari: A Peek Into The World Of Royalty
Want to be transported to another world, another era where the rich lived lives of pomp and show, where the zamindars had big sprawling palatial houses?Then visit the Bawali Rajbari.At only a distance of 35 kms from Kolkata, you can experience the lives of the zamindars of yesteryear. A weekend trip is the best plan and then you can actually experience the beauty and pomp of the Rajbari. Being one of the few rajbari left, which allows people to stay overnight – here you do not book a room, you book an experience.Be treated to the beauty of the Sandhya Aarati, a boat ride on the Hooghly, rural walks around the property and night tours of the Rajbari.You are also treated to the exquisite meals enjoyed by the zamindars themselves. You can have authentic Bengali cuisines or can feast on the mixture of Mughals, British, Armenian and Jewish cuisines, which are offered here.Experience the beauty and the romance of the architectural heritage of a family and people that would have otherwise been only random names in the pages of history.
Bagriposi: A Nature Lover’s Abode
One of the best places for a tour, situated only at a distance of 230 kms from Kolkata, Bagriposi, is the place to visit for all Nature lovers. Surrounded by rustic forests, overshadowing hills and beautiful waterfalls, Bagriposi, is the go-to for people who want to envelop themselves in the lap of nature.Here you can enjoy a picnic near a gushing waterfall or can take classes for rock climbing or can visit the Duarsini Temple or can explore the caves in the area.You can also visit the villages in the nearby area and see the simplistic lives of the people.You can also visit Simlipal National Park from Bagriposi and see the cheetal deer and elephants and if you are among the lucky few can may also be able to see a Tiger.
Belpahari: Simplicity Of Town Life
A small quaint town situated in Jhargram district, Belpahari offers tourists a chance to experience the simple rustic lifestyle of the townsfolk.
With picturesque village-styled hotels and an abode of Natural beauty – Belpahari is perfect for a winter holiday with family or friends.For nature lovers, this beautiful town is surrounded by dense forests that have a number of sanctuaries such as – Chandil Dalma Elephant Reserve, Dalma Hilltop Wildlife Sanctuary and Jhargram Deer Park to visit to see wildlife.With umpteen number of waterfalls such as Ghagra Waterfalls, Hudhudi Waterfalls, the Tarafeni River Dam, Khandarani Lake and Gadrasini Hill with the cave, to explore – there is never a dull moment in the travel.You can spend the day roaming around the natural setting or can enjoy a chat and some chai with the locals – for in this homely town you never know, you might just make a friend.