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Best Weekend Dates of 2015

December is the month of Christmas, most of us love the little bit of chill in the weather (that is all we get at Kolkata) and the varieties of cakes and cookies. I also love another thing – the New Year calendar with the red markings on it depicting the holidays. Many, like me eagerly wait for the calendar to find the extended weekends and plan the exciting holidays ahead of others. To make your task easy, I have short listed the extended weekends below. Remember, not to show this list to your...
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Bird watching spots near Kolkata

01. Indian Botanic Garden, Shibpur, Howrah (more details) The Indian Botanic Garden in Shibpur covers some 270 acres of land, located by the Hugli River and is some 230 year old. This place is indeed a heaven for bird-watchers as it houses a wide variety of bird species that also includes a small percent of water-bird species as well. Birds found here include Stork-billed Kingfisher, Rufous Woodpecker, Brown Hawk Owl, Bronzed Drongo, Black Bittern, Greenish and Yellow-browned Warbler, Lineated Barbet, Booted Eagle and Black-naped Oriole. Beside, some rarest species of birds like Black-capped Kingfisher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Red-breasted Parakeet and Eurasian Cuckoo can also be spotted here. How to reach: The Indian Botanic Gardens is located in Shibpur, Howrah district with Howrah Station being the nearest railway station. This particular place can be reached by boarding a ferry service from Bichali Ghat in Metiabruz or by crossing the Vidyasagar Setu as one of the exits of the bridge will lead to the garden. 2. Rajarhat Bypass Although most parts of the marshy land of Rajarhat have been taken over for developments of new townships, this area is perfect for wetland birds and that is the reason why it attracts a good number of species of birds like Asian Openbills, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Breeding Oriental Praticoles and Ashy Woodswallows among others. Besides, Peregrine Falcon, Pied Harriers, Black-shouldered Kite and Common Kestrel are common sights during the morning time. Smaller birds like Bengal Bushlark, Oriental Reed Warbler, Oriental Skylark and Bluethroat can also be spotted. How to reach: Rajarhat Bypass can be reached easily by taking the bypass that leaves Kolkata Airport and leads to Kolkata. 3. Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, Narendrapur, 24 Parganas (more details) This is a tiny sanctuary of 17 acre and is housed in an old and deserted orchard with grassland surrounding it. Wide number of bird species can be seen here including Oriental Honey-buzzard, Slaty-legged Crake, Scaly Thrush, Eurasian Woodcock, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Tickell’s Thrush, White-eyed Buzzard, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Little Spiderhunter, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Large-billed Reed Warbler, Changeable Hawk Eagle and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo. How to reach: Also known as Koyeler Bagan is located in South 24 Parganas, very close to the Rathtala Bus stop. The sanctuary is some 10 km form Ruby General Hospital and can be reached by buses and auto-rickshaws from Garia. Or, boarding a private bus can be equally convenient as they halt at Rathtala. 4. Nalban Fishery Complex (more details) The Nalban Fishery Complex is a huge inter-connected water body that is under the usage of commercial fishery. Good variety of bird species like Purple and Grey Heron, Great and Intermediate Egret, Black-headed Gulls, Rubythroat, Baillon’s and Ruddy Crake, Rusty-rumped Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warblers, Watercock, Common Shelduck, Grey-headed Lapwing and others can be found here. Some 150 species of birds have been recorded in this area. How to reach: Nalban Fishery Complex starts from the border of the Saltlake Technology Park in Salt Lake. There are many local buses, metered taxis and mini buses that connect Nalban Fishery Complex with the rest of the city. 5. Santragachi Jheel, Howrah (more details) The Santragachi Jheel is some 13,75,000 square feet and becomes the home to some 4000 to 5000 water birds, especially during the winter months. Water hyacinth covers most part of the water body with very less green cover. Species of birds like Northern Pintail, Lesser Whistling-Ducks, Ferruginous Pochard, Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Comb Duck and Baikal Teal can be found in good numbers...