10 Places to Visit in South Bengal

If you’re thinking of taking a few day’s break from the mundane everyday work, and the city life is boring you, then it’s time to finally plan that long awaited vacation. But don’t worry, I know taking a week off wouldn’t be possible for you, because work is work. So we have put together a list of 10 places to visit in South Bengal, which you can cover in about 2-3 days! Sounds exciting, right? Read on to get to know more!

1. Sunderbans

If you’re feeling a bit on the wild side and want to experience nature in all its glory, then this is the place you must go. Filled with the beautiful mangrove forests, Sunderbans is a must visit place for every nature lover. The banks of the Padma, Meghna, and the Brahmaputra river basins make up the Sunderbans. UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. A must visit!

What to see:  While you’re here, you’d come across the Royal Bengal Tiger, along with various other species of animals like deer, crocodile and snakes.
How to reach: Canning is the nearest rail head. You can reach Canning in 1 hour 20 minutes from Kolkata.
Best time to visit: September – March.

2. Digha, Purba Medinipur

This is an all time favourite tourist spot for people of all ages. The beautiful Old and New Digha comprise of the Digha sea beach. The spellbinding sea will surely make you forget all your worries. Although you cannot take a swim in the Old Digha beach, you can obviously head over to the New Digha beach for that!

How to reach: You can reach Digha easily by bus, car, or train. There are regular trains from Howrah to Digha Railway Station. Also,  a car or bus ride will take 2-3 hours.
Best time to visit: October – February.
Pro tip:  Digha is usually very crowded and will not be a quiet retreat if you were looking for one.

3. Chandannagar, Hooghly

Located on the Hoogly river, Chandannagar is a place which is totally different and unique in all its characteristics. You can still feel the remnants of the French colony here, in every nook and corner. Some French buildings have been able to withstand the effects of time, and are still standing even today. This place is truly a slice of France.

Things to see: While you’re here, check out the Chandannagar Museum, the Patal Bari, the Chandannagar Strand, KMDA Park, Sacred Heart Church and Nandadula Temple.
How to reach: You can easily reach Chandannagar by road and railway. There are a good number of roads connecting Chandannagar to Kolkata. By train, Chandannagar has its own railway station which can be easily reached from Howrah Railway Station.
Best time to visit: October – February.

4. Murshidabad

The Eastern bank of the Bhagirathi river is where Murshidabad is. You definitely must visit this place if you’re planning to learn some history and immerse yourself in the past. Murshidabad is noted for its rich culture and heritage and also because of the tonne of things that you can see here.

Things to see: While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the Hazarduari Palace, Nizmat Imambara, Moti Jheel, Khoshbag, Murshidabad District Museum, Kathgola, Katra Mosque, Wasif Manzil, Footi Mosque and Madina.
How to reach: Murshidabad has its own railway station. You can also opt to reach Murshidabad by bus or car, which will not take much time as the road is quite good.
Best time to visit: October – March.

5. Shantiniketan, Birbhum

If you’re looking for a quiet getaway to just laze around, then you must visit Shantiniketan. This beautiful place is totally mesmerising. It is famously known for being the home of Rabindranath Tagore. If you’re in Shantiniketan, trust me, you need not go anywhere else. There’s always something or the other going on here like Poush Mela, Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav, Nandan Mela,  Magh Mela, Rabindra Jayanti etc. Seriously, it really is a place where you’ll surely find peace.

How to reach: The nearest station to Shantiniketan is Bolpur (2-3 km). You can also take a car or bus and reach Shantiniketan easily.
Best time to visit: Late November – February. But, visit during the end of December if you wish to enjoy the Poush Mela.

6. Garh Panchkot, Purulia

Garh Panchkot is a ruined fort which is located at the foothills of the Panchet Hills, in Purulia. This is another beautiful place to visit- the scenic beauty will refresh your mind and soul. There are various temples to see here. The most famous one being the Panchratna Temple ruins. The ruined Fort will give you a glimpse of the time gone by. The beautiful lush greenery of the Panchet Hills will surely soothe your eyes and make you forget all the worries that burden you. A must visit place!

How to reach: You can reach Garh Panchkot by train or car easily. It lies at a distance of 265 km from Kolkata.  If you opt to take a train, then Asansol is the nearest railway station. Taxis are readily available there.
Best time to visit: Any time is a good time to visit Garh Panchkot.

7. Bishnupur, Bankura

This is another place which will take you back to the past. Bishnupur is beautiful with all its temples and works of art that are available here. Once you’re here, the sheer number of temples and the beautiful work on them will leave you utterly speechless.  Remember to look closely at the architecture and the beautiful work- it will surely remind of the times gone by.

Things to see: You must visit the Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai, Jorebangla Temple of Keshta Rai, Madanmohan Temple, Dalmadal Kaman, Lalgarh, Lalbandh, Acharya Jogeshchandra Museum, Gumgarh, Stone Chariot, Nutan Mahal, Bishnupur Hawa Mahal, Memorial of Shrinivas Acharya etc to name a few.
How to reach: You can take the Durgapur Expressway and reach Bishnupur, if you’re travelling by road. By train, Bishnupur has its own railway station and all major trains have stoppages here.
Best time to visit: October – March.

8. Kolkata

If you haven’t really seen Kolkata, then this is the perfect time to go out and explore this place. Although this is mainly considered an industrial hub, you’ll be amazed at a number of things you can see here- especially if you’re not a native resident. Kolkata’s history goes back a long way. Interestingly, it was a major part of the British Rule in India. So, a lot of these tourist attractions were made under the British.

Things to see: The major tourist attractions are- Victoria Memorial, Fort William, Howrah Bridge, Birla Planetarium, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Indian Museum, Science City, Eden Gardens, Birla Mandir, Jorasanko Thakurbari to name a few!
How to reach: Trains, planes, and roadways connect Kolkata extremely well with the rest of India. There are literally hundreds of trains and planes coming in and out of Kolkata daily. You can also opt for the roads, which are great too.
Best time to visit: October – February.

9. Bankura

Bankura is another beautiful place whose past history knows no bounds. The red soil of this place will surely remind you of the times gone by and will add another dimension to your stay. Old temples and various old relics are the essences of Bankura. Also, the beautiful work done on them will leave you utterly speechless.

Things to see: Joyrambati, Susunia Hill, Biharinath Hill, Mukutmanipur, Jhilimili, Durgapur Barrage, Gandoa Dam, and Koro Pahar are the other places which are a must visit.
How to reach: By train, the nearest railway station is Shalimar which is approximately 4 hours away. You can also drive there- the roads are great.
Best time to visit: November – February.

10. Hooghly

Hooghly is named after the Hoogly River, beside which it stands. It was once under the French and the Portuguese and thus there still are a few instances of that time left.

Things to see: Bandel Church, Imambara, Chandannagar Museum and Indo French Institute are some of the most famous tourist attractions.
How to reach: You can easily reach Hooghly by train or road. It has its own station. The roadway is also great.
Best time to visit: December – February.

So here are the 10 places to visit in South Bengal. These beautiful places are perfect for a day or two’s vacation. If you’re looking for a quiet, serene vacation or a very happening and lively one- you’ll find them on this list. So hurry up and make up your mind and start packing!

Contributor: Archi Sengupta. 

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