When the rigours of academic life start overwhelming you, the city of Kolkata turns out to be the perfect balm for your frayed nerves, helping you catch a breathe of relief. A cavalcade of big yellow taxis awaits you outside the campus gates: jump in and waltz through Kolkata’s decorated corridors of history and heritage. The city of joy and love, grandeur and glory, Kolkata is full of life, warmth, and bustle. Formerly the capital of British India (1772-1912), this charming city never ceases to fascinate people from all over the world, who cannot resist but keep coming back. Its imperial monuments, strong cultural and religious flavour leaves an indelible impression on every visitor. The Indian Museum, National Library, and Victoria Memorial provide hours of excitement to art and history enthusiasts. In addition, Dalhousie Square, one of the world’s 100 most endangered sites, is perfect for a refreshing walk, taking you through by-lanes of the bygone era. Heritage comes in a platter, and even garnished, when you slowly unfold Kolkata’s past, knowing about its people and places, idly walking through alleys heavily laid with marks of the Indian Renaissance.
At the heart of the city is Park Street – a bustling boulevard populated by multi-cuisine restaurants, live music bars, and clubs for those who like enjoying the world in different plates. Flury’s, a Kolkata institution, stands tall and statuesque in their midst, almost as if supervising the city’s daily activity. Venture inside for a Flury’s authentic English breakfast or one of the patisserie’s delectable chocolate treats to excite your taste buds. Or, you can head to Mocambo and Peter Cat for a taste of 1950’s India, complete with red vinyl couches, continental delicacies, and turbaned waiters.
Kolkata always awaits your arrival with love, world renowned hospitality, and of course, mouth-watering delicacies. But is it just the city that enthralls every visitor? No, there are multiple destinations in the outskirts that will leave you awestruck.
Where the land meets the sea at the southern tip of West Bengal, there awaits the Sunderbans, a stretch of impenetrable mangrove forest of great size and bio-diversity. A UNESCO World Heritage Site (awarded in ’97), Sunderbans encompass a vast area covering 4262 square kms in India alone, with a larger portion in Bangladesh. 2585 sq. km of the Sunderbans within the Indian Territory forms the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in the country.
The Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna. Dense mangrove forests occupy 56 islands, while saline water flows through numerous tidal channels and creeks, making the entire system look exotic. It is difficult to approach and even more difficult to spend time in. But for those who dare, it is one of the most attractive and alluring places.
People say there’s Heaven on Earth, you would be more eager to agree to this once you are in the Sunderbans. A unique mix of different geographical features, the place also serves as an ideal destination for avid bird watchers.
Though only a 100 odd kms from Kolkata city, Sajnekhali, an established tourist destination takes 5 - 6 hours to reach through a combination of road and water transportations. In a landscape dominated by great tidal creeks and waterways, the best way you can enjoy the scenic aura of the place is by traveling on a motor-boat.
If you are looking for an opportunity to get up close with Mother Nature, Sunderbans is where you need to be. Home to the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger, lazy estuarine crocodiles, large variety of snakes and other reptiles, Sunderbans will surely excite the adventurous you. Take a short boat trip around Sunderbans, and your camera is sure to run out of batteries, as you try to capture most of this enthralling destination.
Located on one of the many deltaic islands spread majestically across Southern Bengal, Bakkhali is one tourist destination you cannot ignore if you are in West Bengal. The biggest attraction is a 7 km long beach beautifully dotted with casuarinas, stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj. Enjoy the cool breeze, while rolling waves gently kiss your feet, as you get lost in the tranquility of this desolate beach.
Bibhuti Bhushan Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bibhuti Bhushan Wildlife Sanctuary (Parmadan) is just over three hours drive from Kolkata and is popular for spotting deer, snakes, and diverse bird species. Located on the banks of the Ichamati River, this popular wildlife sanctuary serves as a wonderful rehabilitation facility for antelopes. Here, you can opt for a boat ride around the forest or stroll through the greenery, while animals and birds welcome you into their world.
The beautiful beach of Shankarpur is about 185 km from Kolkata. Once you hit this coastal retreat, it won’t take much time before you get lost admiring the divine beauty of this place. Long stretch of the sun-kissed beach, outlined with casuarinas coupled with the resident pleasant weather, Shankarpur helps you escape the monotony of life. And, there’s more to flavor up your weekend getaway with Mandarmani and Digha located closeby.
If you are looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate your tired soul, and re-invent nature, Diamond Harbour is where your search ends. A small town which has now become a favorite tourist spot is located in the southern suburbs of Kolkata, on the banks of River Hooghly, quite near to its confluence with the Bay of Bengal.
Breaks during the term provide a perfect opportunity to discover the real India. Being large as ever, India never stops fascinating your senses, as you embark on a journey to witness its culture, people, and places.
Vivid glimpses of tradition, spirituality, natural beauty, and modernization is what awaits you, once you start visiting states like Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, and other regions of this vast nation. Sit down with your travel planner and chalk out your tour schedule. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the most popular landmarks and tourist joints.
The Taj Mahal, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, stands proud on the banks of River Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfect example of India’s architectural splendour.
Built in white marble, it is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. The symbol of eternal love, this beautiful mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. One of most famous tourist landmarks in the country and the world, this domed marble cenotaph attracts about 2-4 million admirers each year.
Better recognized as the “Land of Kings”, Rajasthan is a widely acclaimed travel destination in India. Once in Rajasthan, the captivating aura of this place will definitely fill your senses with color and happiness.
There are several magnificent forts and palaces in this state, showcasing the glorious past of its erstwhile rulers. Some of these royal abodes have now been converted into heritage hotels, offering world class accommodation, together with unmatched luxury and unique Indian hospitality.
Located in the southernmost part of peninsular India, Kerala is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Quaint beaches, breathtaking backwaters, luxurious houseboats, historic temples, beautiful landscapes adorned with verdant greenery, rich culture and traditions, exotic cuisines, and friendly people to help you discover more of this wonderful state, Kerala really emerges out to be ‘God's Own Country’!
The Himalayas or the ‘Abode of Snow’ are popular amongst travel enthusiasts who enjoy adventure and sports, but still crave to catch glimpses of exotic flora and fauna. The Himalayan mountain system is the planet's highest and boasts the loftiest peaks in the world. The Himalayas cover the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Besides indulging in trekking and other mountain sports, do not forget to taste India’s strong spiritual and religious traditions by visiting pilgrimage sites like Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu, Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, and the ancient temples of Kullu and Manali.
One of the most popular destinations for tourists worldwide, Goa mixes every ingredient that’s necessary to allow you relax after a hard-working academic session, Beaches, churches, architectural sites, coupled with numerous seafood joints are the prime attractions of Goa, the smallest Indian state by area.
Another of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a well-known tourist destination in the country. A unique collection of Hindu and Jain temples from the medieval era, Khajuraho is globally popular for its erotic sculptures. You can see several beautifully engraved figurines on the walls of these temples. A perfect harmony of art and architecture is what you will envision once you embark on a trip to Khajuraho.
Last but not the least, the capital of the Republic of India, New Delhi, must find place in your travel plan. Best known for its broad tree-lined boulevards, numerous national institutions and monuments, New Delhi blends history with modernization.
There are numerous attractions in this historic city, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Akshardham Temple, Rajghat, and Rashtrapati Bhawan, to name just a few.