The essence of monsoons can hardly be felt in the city where the sound of rain is drowned by zooming vehicles, and overcast skies are merely a warning to a messy day ahead. Travel along these lesser-known weekend getaways near Kolkata to enjoy the monsoon – Part 1.
1- Rasikbil– Paradise of Birds
Location: Coochbehar district of West Bengal
Nearest town: Alipurduar
Distance: 34 km from Alipurduar, 45 km from Coochbehar, 212 km from Siliguri, 468km from Kolkata.
Rasikbil or Rasikbeel is situated at the foothill of Sintura Hill of the great Himalaya in the Coochbehar district of West Bengal. It is basically low water land (Bil or Bill) or swamp, where water may be available all over the year. These attract a lot of birds which make nests in the trees around this area. There is also a tribal village. Various kind of local birds are available in and around the Rasikbil all over the year and also some migrant birds are available in winter. There is also a dear Park, a python house, a leopard house, Aviary, a tortoise rescue center and a crocodile rehabilitation center. Tourists who loved to watch the local birds and migratory birds, Rasikbil is the real place for them.
Attractions at Rasikbil
The tourist who love to watch the local birds and migratory birds then Rashikbil is the ideal place for them. The main attraction of Rasikbil is avifauna found in and around Rashikbil. There is also a large aquarium, a deer park, a crocodile rehabilitation center and many more. And you can enjoy boating in the Rasikbil.
Some major destinations around Rasikbil are the Buxa Tiger Reserve (a famous for Royal Bengal Tiger), Rasikbil itself is a part of the buffer area of the tiger reserve, Coochbehar (situated just 45 km away from Rasikbil), etc. Coochbehar has a significant role in Indian history. Cooch Bihar town was the capital of Koch Kingdom. Some heritage constructions are available in Coochbehar. Coochbehar Rajbari and Madanmohan Temple are famous among them.
How to reach?
By Road: National Highway No. 31 between Siliguri and Guwahati passes over Cooch Behar and Alipurduar. But there has no any direct journey from Siliguri. So you should follow break journey. North Bengal State Transport Corporation Buses, Bhutan Govt. Buses, Mini Buses, Private Buses, and Taxi are available from Siliguri to Coochbehar or Alipurduar. Then you may take the Coochbehar – Rampurhat minibus which will take you to Rasikbil via Toofanganj in 2 hours. You will also get buses from Alipurduar. You may also go to Rasikbil via Kamakshaguri.
By Rail: Nearest railway station to Rasikbil is Kamashkhaguri. Kamashkhaguri is 6 kilometers away from Rasikbil. Some trains have stoppage at Kamashkhaguri which train is going towards Guwahati from Kolkata or other metro cities of India. New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri Railway Station are the main railway station in this area. After you arrive at New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri, you should follow the road journey to reach Rasikbil. Coochbehar is another nearby railway station of Rasikbil.
By Air: The Nearest airport is Bagdogra. It is a domestic airport. All major air services are available from all over India. The distances between Bagdogra and Siliguri is 13 km. You can find out various vehicles to come in Siliguri and then follow the above road route.
Location: Purba (East) Medinipur District of the state of West Bengal
Nearest town: Digha
Distance: Shankarpur is about 185 km from Kolkata and 14 km from the famous beach town Digha.
Attractions at Shankarpur
Known for its scenic beauty, the one thing that gives Shankarpur an edge over other beaches of India is its pristine surroundings. Shankarpur is a beautiful beach town in the East Medinipur district of West Bengal. Known by few and visited by even fewer, Shankarpur is the beautiful beach town that affords to give you-you the luxury of the sea, as it’s meant to be- calm and boundless. Shankarpur provides you the luxury of experiencing the thrill of isolated beaches, calming winds, and that typical old world charm. Mandarmani and Digha are some major destinations to visit.
How to reach?
By Road: The bus route is very nice, you get to see a lot of good places on the way. Plenty of government and private buses travel between Kolkata and Shankarpur. On an average, Kolkata to Shankarpur travel time is 2 hours.
By Rail: 12857 Tamralipta express Howrah Dep time 6:40 AM Digha flag station 10 AM
15722 Pahria express Howrah Dep time 7:50 AM Digha flag station 12 noon
12847 Durant Express Howrah Dep time 11:15 AM Digha flag station 2.15 P.M
18001 Kandari express Howrah Dep time 2:15 PM Digha flag station 5:50 PM
3- Duarsini- in the land of Chou
Distance: 178 km from Kolkata
Attractions at Duarsini
Duarsini offers interested tourists the chance to watch birds or study the culture and traditions of the local tribal people. The local folks observe a number of festivals across the year and this means that any time may be a good time to visit Duarsini. This region is home to a number of tribes such as Santhal, Shabaradh, Munda, and Kheriya.
One can visit their homes but they should be accompanied by a local person.
During the night tourists may also hear the drum beats that come from the tribal village, which is located a short distance away. In the local language, this form of music is referred to as Madol. One of the major draws at Duarsini is spending a moonlit night that is accompanied by the drumbeats thus creating an enchanting experience.
How to reach?
By Road: The distance between Kolkata and Duarsini is 178 km by road.
By Rail: Duarsini is located at a distance of 13 km from Burdwan, which is a town situated 65 km from Sadar Purulia. It is also 20 km from Ghatshila. This effectively means that the tourist spot is located at the border of West Bengal and Jharkhand. The closest railway stations to Duarsini are Purulia and Ghatsila. The trains to this destination are operated by Southeastern Railways.
One can also avail the Ispat Express that leaves the Howrah Station at 6:55 in the morning and get down at either Galudi or Ghatshila.
Distance: 4 h 13 min (158.6 km) via NH16 and NH116B
Attractions at Junput
The place offers stunning sea-view and rows of Casuarina trees. The beach is untouched and pure. Brackish water fish cultivation and research are done here by the State Government Fisheries Department. A center for studies in marine biology is the nucleus for the area’s sea-fish research and shark oil extraction. Junput also has a farm for breeding ducks.
By Road: you can get a bus or car to reach Junput. You can also drive to Contai or can hire a car to reach Contai and from there take a left turn to reach Junput.
By Rail: One can easily avail any Digha bound train from Howrah Station or Sharmilar Station in Kolkata to reach Contai rail station.
5- Talasari Beach
Location: Baleswar district of Odisha
Distance: 8 – 10 km from Kolkata
Attractions at Talasari beach
The Talasari beach is pristine, serene and has been bestowed with a spectacular panorama. This virgin beach has sand dunes, calmer waves amid several palm trees, coconut trees, cashew trees are known to be the last beach on the northeastern coast of India. Talasari gets its name from Tala (rhythm) and Sari (row)- the rhythm formed by a well-arrayed lush green belt and golden sands with an occasional red fleck (thanks to the red crabs ambling around) meeting the enormous sea, which is almost melodious.
How to reach?
By Road: If you plan from Kolkata then nearest Stop is Digha/Border from where you can reach Chandaneswar by Jeep/Auto/Rickshaw. From Chandaneswar to Talsari you have to hire an Auto as no public shared transport is available there.
By Rail: Talsari is only 8–10 km away from Digha. Most visitors of Talsari are from Bengal anyway. Recently two trains have been launched from Howrah (Kolkata) to New Digha. It takes 4 hours approx.