delete

Somrabazar, Hooghly – 82 kms from Kolkata...

Steeped in history and flanked by the mighty Ganges, Somrabazar is known for its terracotta temples, ruins of Zamindar Mansions, lush green paddy fields crisscrossed by rivulets, the riverine island – Sabujdwip and the seat of spiritual awakening of Rani Rashmoni. It is an ideal place to spend a day or two, if you are keen on discovering heritage structures and take long walks along the marshy banks of Ganges to spot some of the rarest birds’ species. Apart from the nearby attractions of Guptipara, Bandel, Balagarh and Hooghly, Somrabazar is also known to produce some of the best sweets of Bengal. BOOKING DETAILS OF SOMRA BAZAR Places to see in Somrabazar: Somra bazar has been home to some of the elite Zamindar families in the history of Bengal like the Sens and Mitra Mustafis. Although most of the mansions of the erstwhile Zamindars are now in complete ruins but one can still make out the lost grandeur of these mansions from their Cornithian Pillars, hanging balconies and Durga Manchas. For more photos of Somrabazar click here The Anandamoye Temple in nearby Sukharia Village is one of the finest specimens of the 25-pinnacled terracotta temples in Bengal. Founded in 1763 AD, Anandamoyee Temple houses the main temple of Anandamoyee Maa, which is surrounded by 12 smaller temples. Although the present structure of the temple was completed in 1813 AD, few terracotta panels are still in good condition. The other notable temples of Somrabazar are Harasundrai Temple built in 1814 AD and Nistarini Temple built in 1847 AD. The Siddheshwari Kalibari Temple on the banks of the Ganges may not be structurally grand as the other temples of Somra bazar but its spiritual and historical importance is immense. It is said that Rani Rashmoni while sailing beside this temple had the spiritual awakening to found the Dakshineshwar Temple. If you do not belong to the group of “history hunters” and prefer more to be a naturalist, then Somrabazar will not disappoint you too. The huge marshland created by the changing courses of Ganges and the rivulets and river islands brings a whole lot of migratory and residential water birds. Somrabazar surely will surprise you with its healthy bird population. Interesting, Somrabazar has been a preferred film location for many films including the National award winning Mrinal Sen’s “Akaler Sandhaney.” Nearby attractions in Somrabazar: A 15-mins ride in a Toto or Rickshaw from the Railway Station will bring you to the Ferry Ghat of Somrabazar from where you can take a boat to Sabujdweep. One of the largest river islands in West Bengal over Ganges, Sabujdweep is a protected sanctuary. There are no accommodation options at Sabujdweep but a walk along the banks of this island and spending a few morning hours within this greenery will surely rejuvenate you. Few other popular tourist attractions near Somra bazar include the Hansheshwari Temple in Bansberia (27 kms.), Imambara (32 kms) in Hooghly and Bandel Church (30 kms). Things to do in Somrabazar: You can hire a Toto or Rickshaw and visit the temples of Sukharia and Somra bazar. You can also hire a fishing boat in the creeks and sail through the paddy fields and marshlands spotting some rare birds in their natural habitats. You can also visit some of the last boat making factories of Balagarh (7 kms) to witness the dying art of wooden boat making. Also, foodies won’t be disappointed at Somra bazar – the sweetshops of Somrabazar is sure to...
delete

Bawali, Budge Budge – 35 kms from Kolkata...

Staying in three ethnic cottages located beside two large ponds surrounded by more than 180 species of plants and an overdose of greenery can be your next weekend destination near Kolkata. A cruising drive of 35 kms through the villages on the outskirts of Kolkata would take you to this plant nursery, a garden, a modern ethnic guesthouse, a fish farm and a knowledge centre for under-privileged children – all put together. You can spend your weekend angling some great catches, reading some great books, telling stories to the village children and visiting some local attractions like the 300-year old Bawali Rajbari, Ganges riverside and Achipur. BOOKING DETAILS OF BAWALI Places to see in Bawali: The greatest attraction of Bawali is the 300 -year-old Bawali Raajbari (palace) and its adjacent Navratna Gopinath Temple built during the same time. It is believed that Rani Rashmoni built the famous Dakshineshwar Temple inspired from the architecture of this temple in Bawali. A visit to the temple ruins and the recently renovated Rajbari with its antique furniture, sprawling lawns and verandahs lined with Corinthian pillars would be a nice experience. For more photos of Bawali click here Nearby Attractions of Bawali: The area around Bawali has witnessed many historical events. The nearby Ferry Ghat of Budge Budge greeted Swami Vivekananda in 1897 when he returned from his Chicago visit. Till date, this event is celebrated by the people of Budge Budge on 19th of February every year. You can also visit the Raypur riverside just 07 kms away and watch the ships passing by. Another significant event, which took place in Budge Budge in 1914, was the Budge Budge Riot, where the Sikh nationalist Gurdit Singh was arrested in his Japanese ship Komagata Maru for protesting against the Exclusion Laws in Canada. Unfortunately, 20 nationalists fell to the British police firing and many were kept under house arrest in the nearby villages. A plaque remembering the 75th anniversary of this incident is now found in the Sikh Gurdwara of Vancouver, Canada. If you are a history addict, then try to make a trip to nearby Achipur on the banks of River Ganges. Interestingly, you would find a Chinese Temple here still holding back its wood carvings and a grand entrance. History says that Achipur was a Chinese settlement founded by the Chinese businessman – Tong Achi who established a sugar mill here during the 1770’s when Warren Hastings was the Governor-General of Bengal. The sugar mill had closed down long back but the temple and Tong Achi’s grave on the banks of River Ganges can still be found. The famous Boro Kachari Mandir is around 6 kms from here. You will find the ruins of the Barood Ghar (ammunition depot) of the British army located just beside the river is worth a visit. Things to do in Bawali: You can enjoy your weekend, fishing for the greatest catch of your lifetime (maybe a 5 kg Katla or Rohu) or you can simply take your favourite book and read it once more sitting on the balcony overlooking the green paddy fields and ponds. You can also take long village-walks or ask the Nursery Manager to show you all the interesting plants and orchids. If you are thinking of spending some quality time this weekend, then it would be a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge and experience with the less-privileged children of the nearby villages who are taught the regular subjects by...
delete

Baharampur, Murshidabad – 200 kms from Kolkata...

Sited on the eastern side of the Bhagirathi River, approximately 201 kms north of Kolkata is the city of Baharampur. The etymology of the place is derived from the word ‘Brahmapur’, as it was once predominantly occupied by Brahmin families. The administrative headquarters of the Murshidabad district is located here. During the Golden Age of Bengal, Baharampur (Beharampur) was a thriving cosmopolitan city with a vibrant colonial presence. The city served as the first Head Quarter of the East India Company. Gradually, several other European colonial forces also moved here, including the Dutch, French and Portuguese. The Nawabs and Sultans of Bengal also commanded a strong presence in the city. With plenty of historic sightseeing spots around Baharampur, it is an ideal weekend destination. BOOKING DETAILS OF BAHARAMPUR Places to visit around Baharampur: Being the erstwhile stomping grounds of Bengal’s former colonial powers, Baharampur is steeped in a rich cultural and historic tapestry. Even today, spectacular architectural remnants of colonial buildings and tenements that were built during the Raj era continue to stand tall amidst the city skyline. Some of the notable places to visit around Baharampur are – Hazarduari Palace, Katra Masjid, Barrack Square, British Town Hall, Nizamat Imambara, old British Barracks, British Administrative houses, Central Jail, Krishnath College, British Town Hall, Saidabad Palace, Old Cossimbazar Palace, New Cossimbazar Palace, Nashipur Palace, Home of Jagat Seth, Jafarganj Cemetery, Kathgola Palace, Fauti Masjid, Namak Haram Deorhi, Khushbagh, Pataleshwar Temple of Cossimbazar, Residency Cemetery of Babulbona, Dutch graveyard of Cossimbazar, Old English Graveyard of Cossimbazar, Residency Cemetery of Babulbona, Dutch graveyard of Cossimbazar, Old English Graveyard of Cossimbazar, Cemetery of Burmese King Thibo, Laldighi Park and Motijhil Park. Images of Baharampur For more photos of Baharampur click here Nearby attractions of Baharampur: The region in and around Baharampur is teeming with a surfeit of tourist attractions, some of which were mentioned previously. The famous Hazar Duari located in Lal Bagh is approximately 30 km from the city. The road leading to this historical site is dotted with several other remnants of buildings built by the Nawabs of Bengal. These include the Palace of Cossimbazar, Katra Masjid, Motijhil and Imambara. Karna Suvarna, the erstwhile capital of West Bengal is also located in close proximity to the city. The Jain Temples of Jiaganj are also very popular attractions around Baharampur. Things to do at Baharampur: One of the popular things to do while in Baharampur is to attend its many festivals. These occasions are celebrated with a lot of pomp and pelf. The festivals are a riot of color and sounds and play an integral role in fostering communal harmony in the area. Durga Puja, which is celebrated zealously throughout West Bengal is also one of Baharampur’s most anticipated festivals. Charak Puja is another such occasion that induces the locals into a spirit of revelry and excitement. It commemorates the passing of the year, whilst ushering a new prosperous one for the celebrants. You can also take a boat ride from Baharampur to Murshidabad over the Bhagarati River (Ganges). Special rides during the Full moon can be life time experience to remember. How to reach Baharampur: By Rail – Baharampur is well connected by road and rail to Kolkata and its neighboring cities and towns. There are three railway stations in the vicinity; They are at Baharampur Court Station, Cossimbazar Station and Murshidabad Station. These stations can be accessed via the Sealdah Lalgola line. The trains that operate daily between Kolkata and...
delete

Krishnanagar, Nadia – 100 kms from Kolkata...

Krishnanagar is a historical city located at the southern banks of Jalangi River in Nadia district of West Bengal. It is mostly renowned for its founder and ruler, Raja Krishna Chandra Rai who was a prominent zamindar of Bengal. During the reign of Raja Krishnachandra, Krishnanagar city flourished as a center of art and culture which the Raja propagated immensely due to his personal artistic and aesthetic bent of mind. The Rajbari thus, stands as a striking example of the Rajas exquisite artistic outlook. The Krishnanagar Rajbari (palace) is the main attraction of this illustrious town that attracts most tourists and visitors. During festivals, the Rajbari including the whole Krishnanagar city is brightly illuminated with various colorful lights that is simply gorgeous to watch. BOOKING DETAILS OF KRISHNANAGAR Culture and tradition have always thrived in the Krishnanagar city with many prominent Bengali literary figures like Bharat Chandra, Dwijendralal Ray and Narayan Sanyal originating from this place. The place was also famous in history for its ‘Jatra Dal’, which is a popular form of local Bengali folk drama. For more photos of Krishnanagar click here Places to see in Krishnanagar: Krishna nagar is a historical city with many prominent historical structures. If you are at Krishnanagar then the following places are a must visit for experiencing the rich cultural heritage of this place: The Krishnanagar Rajbari – Also known as the Krishnanagar Palace is the palace of the famed Raja Krishnachandra of Bengal who was a noted zamindar of this area. The palace is most noted for its Durga Temple where many festivals are celebrated all year with much grandeur. Many people visit this place from far and wide to take part in the holy occasions here. Ranaghat – It is a very popular town located in the Nadia district of West Bengal. It is mainly prominent for its sweets, handloom industry and flower trade. It is located about 70 kilometers from Kolkata city. The town finds many mentions in the pages of history during the colonial era. The ‘ratha-yatra’ and ‘Durga puja’ festivals of the famous Deychowdhury family are much admired in Ranaghat. Roman Catholic Church – Krishnanagar also served as an important seat of Christian Missionary movement in Bengal. The Roman Catholic Church located here is the ideal example of this event. The church is a grand architecture that has many prized paintings of Jesus Christ on canvases and wooden frescos painted by renowned Italian artists. Other places of interests include the Protestant Church, College Bhavan, the Public Library, Anandamoyi Tola Kali Bari, Krishna Nagar Academy and Company Bagan (which is a horticultural garden run by the state government). Things to do in Krishnanagar: If you are in Krishnanagar, don’t miss the famous Jhulan mela that is celebrated at the Rajbari (Krishnanagar Palace) every year in the month of July/August. Dol Purnima is also another much celebrated festival here. Other prominent festivals are the Jagaddhatri Puja, which is celebrated with much magnificence and splendor at Krishnanagar. The lighting are special eye-treats for everyone that is specially brought from the nearby town of Chandannagar to dazzle the town. And finally, don’t forget to gorge on the famed sweets of Krishna Nagar, which is the pride of this town. ‘Sarbhaja’ and ‘Sarpuria’ are among the famous sweets invented right at this town by the halwaikars or moyras (who prepare sweets) of Krishnanagar. The shop of “Adhar Chandra Das” finds special mention here for the famous invention of the above-mentioned sweet...
delete

Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary – 172 kms from Kolkata...

With an area of 200 hectares Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary located on the fringes of the University town of Bolpur is just the perfect getaway for your next weekend. Just a kilometer from the Viswa Bharati University area, this lush Wildlife Sanctuary is home to three large water bodies (Jheel) which hosts migratory as well as resident birds in plenty. The sanctuary was established in September 1967 and has one of the most successful deer conservation records in the state. It is home to numerous Cheethals (Spotted Deer), Blackbucks and other resident animals like jackals and foxes. The whole sanctuary is a protected area with watch towers and jungle paths for tourists to walk around and catch glimpses of deer and other wildlife. There is a nice and cozy private hotel just 5 minutes walk from the sanctuary for the tourists. All the sightseeing attractions of Bolpur can be visited in day trips staying at Ballavpur.  BOOKING DETAILS OF BALLAVPUR WLS Places to see in Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary: The main attractions of this sanctuary are the blackbuck deer and spotted deer. There is also a huge tract of wetland created by the three water bodies (Jheel) which hosts thousands of migratory birds in winter like Lesser Whistlings, Pintails, Teals, etc. The sanctuary is also home to a healthy population of resident birds like Black Hooded Orioles, White Bellied Treepies, Commorants, Hoppoes, Egrets and others. Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary Photographs 12► The Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary may lack in size but it is very impressive for its remarkable dense local vegetation comprising Sal, Akashmoni, Sisoo, Cashewnut, Amlaki, Bahera, Haritaki and other trees. The whole sanctuary can be covered by foot and tourists can catch glimpses of wildlife from the watchtowers located at strategic sites. Nearby attractions of Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary: The most significant sightseeing options near Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary is the Viswa Bharati University and its different departments, the most notable being the Kala Bhavan. You can spot some frescoes and sculptures of Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij around Kala Bhavan. Tagore’s Ashram features a number of buildings namely the Santiniketan building, Dehali, Nutan bari, Kaalo Bari and others. School classes and some major activities are held in the Amro Kunja (Mango Grove). You can also spot a hillock featuring an age-old banyan tree on the eastern side of the ashram. The Uttarayan complex has several buildings like Konark, Udayan, Shyamali, Chatimtala and others. The Rabindra Bhaban Museum popularly called Bichitra houses letters, manuscripts, medals, documents, paintings and certificates associated with Tagore. The Khowai region and Kopai River (Rabindranath’s Amader Choto Nadi) are other destinations where you can spend some time. Apart from this, you can also visit Hindi Bhavan, Cheena Bhavan, Nipon Bhavan, Sangeet Bhavan, Patha Bhavan, Vinaya Bhavan, Sihsha Bhavan, Kaalo Bari etc. Kankalitala, just 9 km from Santiniketan is a temple popular as a Satipeeth. Surul, located near Sriniketan, features temples decorated with terracotta carvings. You can also visit another Satipeeth at Labhpur-Fullara, just 30 kms. from Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary. Another nice nearby destination is the Tilpara Barrage over River Mayurakshi (around 30 kms away). Sunset from the barrage over River Mayurakshi is a aite to cherish. Tourists also visit Nanoor, famous as the birthplace of the Sanskrit poet of the 14th century – Chandidas. Kendubillo is another destination, popular as the hometown of another renowned Sanskrit poet, Jaidev. You can also make trip to Bakreshwar, the famous Satipitha, housing the Bakranath temple and hot springs. Tarapith, the famous Saktipeetha, is...
delete

Dhauli, Bhubaneshwar – 448 kms from Kolkata...

The sacred Dhauli Hills or Dhavalgiri cradled on the banks of River Daya has been a major pilgrimage site for centuries, frequented by both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Just 10 kms from Bhubaneshwar, Dhauli was the famous battlefield of Kalinga War which proved to be the turning point in the life of Emperor Ashoka. The hills are dotted all over by a number of rock cut caves and ancient Hindu temples. You can also explore the numerous pillars, stupas and monasteries in the region. The rock cut elephant carving located at the base of Dhaulagiri Hills is one of the earliest Buddhist themed carvings in Orissa. However, the most famous are the set of rock edicts left by the Emperor Ashoka in about 260 BC. Most tourists visit Dhauli or Dhaulagiri on a day tour from Puri or Bhubaneshwar and miss the joy of experiencing the true beauty of Dhauli. You have to spend a night on the serene ambiance of Dhauli experiencing the magnificent sunset and sunrise over the endless sea of paddy fields. You can take a walk along the Daya River on the same road which was once trudged by one of the greatest kings of history – King Ashoka. BOOKING DETAILS OF DHAULI Places to see in Dhauli: You will truly admire the Japanese Peace Pagoda, set amidst a number of ancient monasteries and stupas. This marvelous structure is truly worth visiting. It is a notable Buddhist structure built jointly by the Japan Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh in the year 1972. Beyond the Stupa, there is an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Dhavaleshwar. For more photos of Dhauli click here. You can savor a magnificent view of the surroundings from the top of the Dhaulagiri Hill. The green stretch of paddy fields along with cashew eyes trees offer visual splendor. You will also admire the beauty of the winding and sparkling Daya River. You can also see inscriptions and engravings in Dhauli, which can be traced back to the Ashokan era. The place is a popular pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Dhauli is admired with many stupas, which were once built by Emperor Ashoka himself. Nearby attractions of Dhauli: You can also visit Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa and the temple town of Puri from Dhaulagiri. The handicraft town of Pipli (famous for its appliqué work) and the temple of Konark are also located nearby. Things to do in Dhauli: Apart from visiting the Dhavaleshwar Temple and Stupa, you can hike along the Daya River and take long walks around the ruins of various structures of Dhauli Hills. Also, take a stroll along the forest track of Dhauli hills, which is truly an exciting outdoor activity. How to reach Dhauli: The town of Dhauli is easily accessible by buses from the neighboring regions of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The nearest airport of Dhaulagiri is in Bhubaneswar, which is well connected from Kolkata. There are no direct trains to Dhauli, so you need to drop down at Bhubaneswar railway station. Best time to visit Dhauli: You can experience the true essence of Dhauli, if you are visiting the destination during the winter months, starting from October and extending up to March. Summer is extremely hot in Dhauli, hence, it is better to avoid the summer season. Lodging and dining facilities in Dhauli: The Govt. Tourist Lodge at Dhauli is the only well-equipped accommodation here. The lodge is located very...
delete

Sahibganj, Jharkhand – 376 kms from Kolkata...

Cradled on the southern bank of the river Ganges, the picturesque town of Sahibganj or Sahebganj located in the northeastern region of Rajmahal subdivision of Jharkhand is a place where time has stopped. The town is valued by the tourists for its historical significance. From the notes of Megasthenes to the decisive battle of Sher Shah and Humayun and finally to the Santhal Rebellion of 1855 and Freedom of India, Sahibganj has played a very important role throughout. Here erstwhile palaces of royals and riches are littered everywhere and the landscape boasts of twin lakes, bird sanctuaries and the mighty Ganges. Moreover, the exotic landscape of the region features plenty of fossil remains of flora preserved as casts, impression and petrifaction. BOOKING DETAILS OF SAHIBGANJ Places to see in Sahibganj: The sightseeing places at Sahibganj truly offer a visual pleasure. There is a natural twin lake at Sahebganj, called Udhwa Lake attracting tourists to savor its beauty. The lake is a safe refuge for different exotic species of birds. Moreover, migratory birds from as far as Siberia also visit the lake every year in huge number. You can also visit the Udhwa Bird Sanctuary, the sole bird sanctuary of Jharkhand nestled in the nearby village of Udhwa also known as Patauda. On your way to Sahebganj, you will find the beautiful ruins of Sangi Dalan built under the benefaction of Raja Maan Singh between 1580 and 1600 AD. The winding view of the River Ganga flowing next to this edifice offers a visual splendor. There is a historical well in Sahibgang, built in 1915, which is locally called ‘Bhagwa Kuan,’ constructed to commemorate the memory of Edward VII. You can also visit nearby Mandro to see the fossils of trees and animals. Nearby attractions around Sahibganj: Sahibganj is admired by a number of historical attractions. An experience of visiting the historical city of Rajmahal near Sahibganj is truly enduring, which was established by Emperor Akbar long back in the 15th century. The place is a major witness of a number of significant battles. The town houses some remarkable monuments, which include Akbari Masjid, Singhi Dalan, Tomb of Maina-Bibi and Tomb of Miran. Nearly 13 km north-west of Rajmahal town there is a serene village called Kanhaiyasthan, which owes its name to the shrine of Lord Krishna (Kanhaiya). It is said that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on his way to Brindavan from Bengal stayed at this place and received the vision of Lord Krishna. The impression of the step of Chaitanya Dev has been preserved at the site. You can also visit the ruins of Jama Masjid at Hadaf in Rajmahal, built under the reign of Raja Maan Singh in 1592 AD, which was once recognized as the most elegant building of Gaur (Bengal). In close proximity from the location, you will find Bara Darwaza, a unique fort located at the top of a hillock. The fort features 12 identical doors. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the remaining of the fort as a heritage site. You will also find a number of temples in the neighboring areas of Sahebganj. The temple of Shiva in Barhait is truly adorable. The place is frequented by disciples during the month of Shravan and the Mahashivratri. You will also admire the Binduvasini Temple near Barharwa railway station. Thousands of devotees assemble at the place during Ram-Navami when a grand fair is also held for nine days at the site. There is also a temple...
delete

Rajgir, Bihar – 490 kms from Kolkata

Surrounded by hills and drenched in history and myth Rajgir is a 3000 year-old city still holding strong to its roots. Here, Lord Buddha stayed and preached and even initiated the mighty king Bimbisara whereas Lord Mahavira spent fourteen years of his life preaching in Rajgir. World travellers like Hiuen Tsang (650 BC) and Fa-Hein (400 BC) visited Rajgir and meticulously recorded its daily life and people. Rajgir is even older than history – still today believers visit a dilapidated wrestling ring where the Pandava prince Bheema, is said to have fought and killed Jarasandha. Strange marks on the rock are believed to be the chariot wheel marks of Lord Krishna and an un-deciphered script on a rock face is said to contain the code to open the store of gold of a mythical king. Lakes hidden within hills, ropeways leading to peace pagodas located on hill tops, hot springs and horse cart rides make Rajgir a mixed bag of surprises. BOOKING DETAILS OF RAJGIR Places to see at Rajgir: The caves of Gridhakuta was home to Lord Buddha for three months of the year and from this hilltop he preached some of the most precious sermons to his disciples. The Venuvan garden marks the site which King Bimbisara offered Lord Buddha to reside. A ropeway leads to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa, built by the Japanese on a hilltop to spread Buddha’s message of peace. The Ghora Katora lake just 7 kms on the outskirts of Rajgir within the hills and forests is another great place to do some boating and wind up. Rajgir finds a very important place in the life of Lord Buddha and Mahavira. Here, you can still locate the dispensary of the royal physician Jivak where Lord Buddha was once brought to have his wounds treated. Then, there is the Jarasandh Ka Akhara where it is said that the Pandava prince fought against Jarasandh. The sulphur hot springs of Bramhakund, the mythical chariot wheel marks of Lord Krishna and the 40 kilometer long pre Mauryan Cyclopean Wall whose remains in few areas can still be traced supposed to have encircled ancient Rajgir. Various caves, temples and remains of ancient jails and fort walls dot Rajgir. For more photos of Rajgir click here Nearby attractions from Rajgir: The most popular nearby destinations of Rajgir are Nalanda, Pawapuri and Bodhgaya.   Ruins of Nalanda University: The remains of the 2500 year old university where Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) and others stayed as a student and perfected his knowledge on Buddhism can still be seen today. At its height, this residential university attracted 2000 teachers and 10000 students from Persia, Tibet, Greece, China and other countries. However, everything came to an end, when the invader Bakhtiyar Khilji beheaded thousands of monks and burnt the royal library for six months in 1193 AD. Today, you can take a tour of the ruins of this massive university complex and view the remains of the granaries, students’ quarters, classrooms, monasteries, teachers’ quarters, gardens, libraries and stupas. The newly built Xuanzang Memorial Hall is a beautiful building where   Holy town of Pawapuri: Just 38 kilometers from Rajgir is Pawapuri – the holy site for Jains where Lord Mahavira, the last of the 24 Tirthankaras was cremated. It is said that the frenzy to collect his ashes by his followers resulted in the removal of so much soil that a lake was created. Presently, a beautiful Jalmandir (water temple) built in white marble...
delete

Bodhgaya, Bihar – 470 kms from Kolkata

Very different from the rest of the temple towns in India, Bodh gaya is very clean, hassle free, safe and beautiful. Waking up to the early calls of the Buddhist prayers, visiting the 2200 year-old Mahabodi Temple beside the Bodhi tree and watching the thousands of Butter lamps flickering in the wind can be the best stress-buster of your life. Being one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Buddhists throughout the world, this little town buzzes with believers of peace and harmony. Bodhgaya is the site where supreme Enlightenment was attained by Gautama Buddha under the Mahabodhi tree and you can still feel the place where one of the greatest human beings to ever walk on the face of the earth attained enlightenment. Located beside the Phalgu River and near to another very-different pilgrimage town – Gaya (famous for the Vishnupada Temple) Bodhgaya is easily reached in an overnight journey from Kolkata. BOOKING DETAILS OF BODHGAYA Places to see at Bodhgaya: The Mahabodhi Temple and the Mahabodhi tree are the main attractions of Bodhgaya. In 2002, the temple was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed that the original Mahabodhi temple was founded by Emperor Ashoka. Various stupas and remains of earlier temples are spread throughout the temple complex. The temple with its ‘Chhatravali’ and an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa has a very different appearance. Buddha images are contained in the moldings on the spire, in niches. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple almost got lost amidst soil and sand. In late 19th century, it was excavated and restored by Sir Alexander Cunningham, who tried to restore it to its former glory. For more photos of Bodhgaya click here The temple also houses the holy Bodhi tree and the Diamond Throne. The present Bodhi tree is possibly the fifth succession of the original Bodhi tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment. The stone platform below the Bodhi tree is known as Vajrasana and is supposedly the seat of meditation of Buddha. A small structure just beside the entrance of the main temple marks the point of ‘Animesh Lochan Chaitya,’ which is the place where Buddha supposedly spent one week looking towards the Bodhi tree. Another sacred area is the walkway called ‘Chankramana’ which is believed to be the place where lotus flowers sprang up, wherever Buddha placed his feet. The Mahabodhi temple Complex also houses the Muchalinda Sarovar (tank) where the snake king saved Buddha during a thunderstorm. Other sacred sites within the temple complex are Ajapala Nigrodha Tree, Ratanaghara and Rajayatna Tree. Bodhgaya is also home to various other monasteries representing different countries like Burma, China, Japan, Thailand and Bhutan. There is also an Archaeological Museum and an 80 feet high statue of Buddha. Nearby attractions of Bodhgaya: You can visit a number of places from Bodhgaya like the Vishnupad Temple located on the banks of Falgu River in Gaya, just 12 kilometers away comprising a 30 meter high octagonal tower. The ‘Pind Daan Pretshila’ Hill houses the Brahma Kund and the Ahilya Bai Temple. The Barabar Caves is considered an important archaeological site and the rocks are engraved with details of Buddha’s life. You can also opt for excursions to nearby places like: Rajgir (75 kms from Bodhgaya): Surrounded by hills on all sides, Rajgir is closely associated with the lives of Buddha and Mahavira. The erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Magadha (5th Century BC), Buddha...
delete

Gour, Malda – 375 kms from Kolkata

If you are historically inclined, then the city of Gour, drenched with history, is your ideal holiday destination. Nestled near the west bank of River Ganges, this historical city is situated around 40 km. downstream from Rajmahal, in the district of Malda of West Bengal. The location is dotted with a number of archaeological sites and historical places, admired with splendid architectures. Though most of the architectural splendors have been reduced to remnants, but still the city of Gour holds some aura, which attracts tourists from far and near. BOOKING DETAILS OF GOUR Places to see in Gour: Tourist visiting Gour could witness some age-old architectural treasures, which enhance the historical value of the site. Gour is renowned for housing an ancient fort on the bank of the River Bhagirathi, where you can only view the ruins of the fort. However, the sight of the main entrance of the fort, the Dakhil Darwaza, admired with five-storied towers built in its four corners is truly amazing. It was built with red bricks, decorated with motifs of rosettes, suns, lamps etc. The southeastern corner of the fort is adorned with the Biasgazi wall, boasting a towering height of 22 yards. You will also admire the extensive Lukochuri Darwaza or the Royal Eastern Gate, built in Mughal style in the year 1655 by Shah Shuja. A domed squared building, known as Kadam Rasul, housing the footprint of The Prophet is also found within the fort area. Pay a visit to the Tantipara Mosque, located near the fort. The mosque featuring five entrances is highly decorated with red colored bricks. Another site of tourist interest is Lattan, gracefully structured with colorful bands of green, blue, white and yellow glazed tiles. You will also be attracted to the beautifully built Firuz Minar, symbolizing the victory of Firuz Shah. The Bada Sona Masjid admired with 44 domes also offers a visual treat. You can spot the Madan Mohan Jiu Mandir in Ramkeli, located nearby the Bada Sona Masjid, frequented by the devotees of Sri Chaitanya. Nearby attractions around Gour: You can highly organize a tour to the old city of Malda, located at the converging of two rivers. Visit the Mala town located 4 km. away from the Old Malda. The major attractions of the Old Malda city are the Nimasari Tower and The Jami Masjid. The region also features some marshy tracts called bhils, which attracts wild fowl like the Siberian goose. Things to do in Gaur: Explore the city of Gaur admired with a number of significant historical places and archaeological sites. You can also enjoy a trail along the forest, encircling the entire region. How to reach Gour: Gour is directly accessible from Malda by both roadway and railways. Moreover, direct flights are also available from Kolkata to Malda. Map of Gour [mqMap key=”Wf9e” width=”500″ height=”490″ src=”http://www.mapquest.com/embed?icid=mqdist_mb_wp&maptype=map&zoom=10&center=25.032396956709047,88.035537485691&projection=sm&showScale=0″/]   Best time to visit Gour: You can visit Gour any time of the year. Lodging and dining facilities in Gour: Though the site features some hotels, you can find out some decent accommodation and dining facilities offered by the guesthouses and hotels located in Malda. BOOKING DETAILS OF...
delete

Puri, Orissa – 540 kms from Kolkata

Puri is considered one of the major Char Dham pilgrimages, which if not visited, means your pilgrimage tour of India is not complete. Located on the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal in Orissa, Puri is home to the Lord of the Universe, Lord Jagannath. So spend this weekend amidst the splendor of the golden beaches and the religious sites in Puri. On your way to Puri, you can also see the appliqué handicraft work at Pipili village. Overall, to spend an exciting weekend, you should decide on going eastward. BOOKING DETAILS OF PURI Places to see in Puri: The major attraction here is the Jagannath Temple. Built in 11th century, this temple is considered one of the 4 major dhams of pilgrimage for Hindus. This temple only allows Hindus to enter and offer puja. You can offer pujas, in the Jagannath Temple and the Shani Temple, and enjoy the prasad and bhog of this place. Other places to see are Shankaracharya’s Gobardhan Pitha, which is a Hindu math. The cremation site of Swargadwar, means the Gateway to Heaven, Sunara Gaurang Temple, Chakra Tirtha Temple, Bedi Hanuman Temple, Mausima Temple, Shree Gundicha Temple, where Rath Yatra ends and Shree Lokenath Temple, where the half submerged Linga of Lord Shiva is present, signifying his hiding from Shani are the places you can visit. The golden beach is another attraction that drives people to come to this place again and again. For more photos of Puri click here. Nearby attractions of Puri: There are many places to visit that are close – like the Chilka Lake, Sun Temple of Konarak, Alarnath Temple, Chandrabhaga Sea Beach, Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary, Raghurajpur that is known for Patta Chitra and Pipili renowned for appliqué work. Other places of interest are Lingaraja Temple and Bhubaneshwar’s other temples, caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, Ashoka’s Dhauli rock edicts, Atri sulphur spring, Chandaka elephant reserve, Balihar Chandi Temple, Yogini shrine of Hirapur and Nandankanan sanctuary. Things to do in Puri: The main thing to be done in Puri is sightseeing. The place has a wide range of touring spots, which invites people to spend an eventful weekend. The golden beach of Puri is an ideal spot for swimming and surfing. You can even choose to relax on the Puri beach, which is also a popular choice among travelers. The Ramchandi Temple is a popular picnic spot for tourists as well. You can also take a long drive on the Puri Konark Marine Drive that goes through many isolated beaches. How to reach Puri: Puri can be reached via roadways by covering a distance of 540 km from Kolkata through Bhubaneshwar. From Kolkata Bhubaneshwar can be reached by taking on the National Highway No.5 and from there taking the State Highway No. 8 you can reach Puri. It takes 2 hours to reach Puri from Bhubaneshwar on car. You can also ride any of the fast and super fast trains that connect Kolkata to Puri, like the Howrah-Puri Sri Jagannath Express or the Howrah- Puri Express and others. Both the trains cover a distance of 502 km and takes about 9 hours. You can also reach Bhubaneshwar by air. The airport of the State capital at Bhubaneshwar is something 60 km from Puri and is connected by regular flights. Best time to visit Puri: Tourists can visit the place all throughout the year, as the temperature remains moderate in this coastal region. There is a huge festival of Rath Yatra...
delete

Routpara, Hooghly – 82 kms from Kolkata...

It happens that a weekend tour to a less famed destination often turns out to be an extremely exciting trip, with loads of fun and frolic. The quaint village of Routpara located in the Arambagh subdivision of Hooghly district is such a destination, which can offer you with some interesting experience. BOOKING DETAILS OF ROUTPARA Places to see in Routpara: Rotupara, better to term as a temple city of Bengal, upholds the blend of the two architectural style of temples in Bengal – Ratna (pinnacle) and Chala (sloping roof). The region is famous for housing five temples, three of which have already turned into ruins. You can visit the Mangal Chandi Temple admired with 13 pinnacles, though none of the pinnacles are in decent condition. The sites of the ruins of the other two speaks about the lost glory of the exquisite architecture of the temples. The fourth temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva, which was probably built afterwards. However, do not miss the prime attraction of the region, the Durga Mandir, the architectural grandeur of which is not much affected by time. It is also probably the biggest terracotta panel across the Indian State of West Bengal.  This grand temple is maintained by the West Bengal archaeology Department. You will be amazed to see the exquisite and intricate terracotta carvings on the three entrances of the temple. The large terracotta panel of Devi Durga on the entrance is truly admirable. This panel is bordered by small sized panels of Ganesh and Lakshmi on the left and Kartik and Saraswati on the right. If you want to explore further, step to the main road to locate another notable octagonal structure of Rashmancha. Though the structure has been renovated, but the modernized version does not hold its past elegance. You can also locate ruins of another Rashmancha, while walking towards Arambagh. Move a little further to view the arched gateways of the Shiva Kutir, a deserted structure, now covered with foliage. Nearby attractions around Routpara: Tarakeshwar temple is a very popular attraction nearby. Things to do in Routpara: You can visit the temples and the ruined temple sites of the location, which are of major historical importance for their architectural style. Explore the region to locate some other historic terracotta structures. How to reach Routpara: In order to reach the destination, you need to board the Tarakeswar Local from the Howrah station. Get off at the Tarakeswar station, from where buses are available to Bali Dewanganj. Drop down at Haldapara, from where you can locate a meandering road leading to Routpara.  It takes around an hour and 45 minutes to reach the destination. Map of Routpara [mqMap key=”mJRj” width=”500″ height=”490″ src=”http://www.mapquest.com/embed?icid=mqdist_mb_wp&maptype=map&zoom=11&center=22.850847109741103,88.04394889316129&projection=sm&showScale=0″/]   Best time to visit Routpara: You can visit the destination any time of the year. Lodging and dining facilities in Routpara: Tourists usually do not stay at Routpara, and there are no such lodging facilities available. So, it is better to find accommodation at Arambagh, from where Routpara is easily accessible. Decent dining facilities are also offered in the hotels and lodges of Arambagh. Moreover, there are also many eateries. BOOKING DETAILS OF...
delete

Raidighi, Sunderbans – 110 kms from Kolkata...

If you are yearning for a break from your bustling city life, plan for a weekend holiday at Raidighi, which is truly an enchanting weekend destination. The small town of Raidighi is located on the way to Sunderban. The location is one of its kind, offering something for each kind of traveler – be a nature lover or religious or adventure minded tourist.  The nearby Jatar Deul, located seven kilometers from Raidighi and a boat ride along the fringes of Sunderbans would be an experience of a lifetime. The most memorable part is to watch the sun going down over the Sunderbans. BOOKING DETAILS OF RAIDIGHI Raidighi is a popularly gateway of Sunderban, the place offers a real visual treat to the nature lovers. You can savor a breathtaking view of emerald green vegetation and forest covering major portion of Raidighi. The site also boasts of some exotic wildlife and birds. The River flowing through Raidighi is blessed with loads of fishes and crabs. Apart from these, the place also has religious importance, as it houses a number of temples and shrines. Moreover, the place also treasures some remarkable architectures belonging to the Maurya, Gupta, Pal and Sen Periods. Raidighi has been named after a large water body. Many decades ago, Raidighi was known as Rainagar. During 1489 AD, Rainagar was established by Shubuddhi Ray, who was the ruler of Gour. Afterwards, in 1492 AD, his son, Durgadas Ray, dug a huge water body spanning an area of 33 acres and the name of Rainagar was also changed to Raidighi. Today also, the prime attraction of Raidighi is this massive water body. There was a fort called Raimangal Fort in the north-east corner of the water body, which was attacked by emperor Akbar in 1595 AD, where he wage a war against Rangeela Ray, the son of Durgadas Ray. Thus, if you want to savor the authentic essence of rustic Bengal, Raidighi is undoubtedly one of the prime destinations. [AFG_gallery id=’63’] Places to see in Raidighi: Raidighi is a small town on the fringes of the Sunderbans. You can take a ride in a launch and roam around the rivers of Sunderban and watch the wonder of nature and wildlife unfolding. Sunset over the Sunderban is a spectacular site. Temple of Tripura Sundari: This age-old temple is located just five minutes away from Krishnachandrapur. The temple is noteworthy as it was blessed by Sri Chaitanya on his way to Nilachal. The fourhanded deity of the Goddess of Shakti, worshipped in the temple truly evokes a sense of spirituality.   Padapith Tirtha: During 1510 AD, people at Gaur were experiencing unrest, due to the war, which broke out between Hussain Shah, the Nawab of Gaur and Prataprudra, the King of Orissa. At this point of time, Sri Chaitanya, who preaches the doctrine of peace and love, visited the house of Ramchandra Khan, a reputed scholar in the village. Now, the footprint of Sri Chaitanya has been preserved at the place, which gradually became popular as ‘Padapith Tirtha’. Jatar Deul: This huge deul measuring 60 feet in height is a historical structure. It was built by Raja Jayanta Chandra during 975 AD. Temple of Andhamuni: This temple is located nearby Andhamunitala. It is a strong belief of the locals that a number of ailments, especially related to eye are recovered by offering prayers in this temple. Barashi Shiva Temple: This is an ancient temple of Shiva located at a distance of...
delete

Supur, Birbhum – 191 kms from Kolkata

Supur, located at a distance of 14 km from Bolpur, is an ideal weekend getaway, which upholds the perfect blend of history and art. Nestled on the riverbank of Ajay River, this small age-old village of Birbhum shot to fame in the 18th century, when the French traders established their base at the site. Supur is known for its terracotta temples built in the Rekh Deul style. BOOK YOUR TRIP TO SUPUR Places to see in Supur: Supur can well be termed as a temple town, as you can savor some impressive temple sites. The twin temple of Lalbazar area in Supur is truly noteworthy. These two magnificent temples located inside a walled complex offers visual ecstasy by its exotic architectural style, featuring the ‘Rekh deul’ style of Architecture belonging to the art school of Orissa. One of the temples is octagonal in shape, while the other is patterned in circlular fashion. The octagonal shrine, especially features some extraordinary terracotta panels, on all the eight sides. Most of the panels depict some impressive carvings. For example, the most noteworthy carving is found above the main entrance, depicting Radha and Krishna. The panels are designed intricately attracting the visitors’ eyesight. One of the panels depict an interesting feature of a man riding a lion. There is also a huge panel of goddess Durga with her family at the rear side of the temple. You can also visit the ruins of the Suratheshwar Shiva temple, where you can find some ruined deities, pillars and couple of archaeological samples. Nearby attractions around Supur: You can y organize a tour to Shantiniketan, while making a trip to Supur from Bolpur. Shantiniketan is located at a very close distance from Bolpur. So you can easily hire a car to visit Shantiniketan. Things to do in Supur: Savoring the breathtaking beauty of the temples is the prime activity of the tourists visiting Supur. You can also explore the destination with the help of the local people. How to reach Supur: In order to reach Supur, board a train to Bolpur. From Bolpur station, you can hire a car, which will take around 30-minute to reach Supur. Best time to visit Supur: You can visit Supur any time of the year. Lodging and dining facilities Supur: It is better to stay at Bolpur, from where Supur can be reached in 30 minutes by car. You will find a number of accommodation options ranging from luxury to budget hotels in Bolpur. Decent dining facilities are also offered in most of the hotels. BOOK YOUR TRIP TO...
delete

Maharajpur, Jharkhand – 457 kms from Kolkata...

Maharajpur is a less popular small village nestled at the Bengal – Jharkhand border, is an ideal destination for a weekend trip. This is where time has stopped – you can still board a tanga here and visit the erstwhile palaces of the Maharajas to see a few Mughal era paintings and you can take a dip in a non perennial pool fed by and underground stream. Boasting of an unspoiled natural beauty, a waterfall and the River Ganges nearby – the place truly offers visual and sensual pleasure to the tourists. It is located around 9 km. east of Sahibganj district of Jharkhand. BOOK YOUR TRIP TO MAHARAJPUR Places to see in Maharajpur: There are not many places for sightseeing in the village of Maharajpur. The entire region is dotted with small hillocks made of modified rocks and basalt. You can visit a picnic spot called Moti Jharna located near Maharajpur, which has a waterfall. Nearby attractions of Maharajpur: A number of spots of tourist attractions are found in the nearby destination of Rajmahal. Board the train to Rajmahal from the Maharajpur station and then take a tanga from the Rajmahal station to explore the destination. The Singhi Dallan, built by Mansingh in around 1600 A.D. is a major tourist spot. You can savor a spectacular view of the Ganges from the site. The Singhi Dallan also houses a number of Mughal paintings. Another tourist attraction is the Jama Masjid.  You can also visit the mines found around the mosque area. You can also see some remains of an old mint on your way. Ask your tanga driver to take you to the Kathghar. The route to Kathghar is truly amazing because it is covered with stones of shapes and colors like wheat, rice and dal. The site also has a shrine of Lord Krishna. Things to do in Maharajpur: You can enjoy a trek along the jungle of Maharajpur to visit a nearby village and a falls known as Moti Jharna. The place is also admired by a narrow stream coming from about 80 ft to a small lake, where you can take a bath. How to reach Maharajpur: The Maharajpur Railway Station is located on the Sahibganj – Tinpahar rail route. First, you need to reach the Rampurhat Station by Gour Express. Then board the Sahebganj Local to reach Maharajpur.  The nearest airport from the site is the Ranchi airport. Best time to visit Maharajpur: You can visit the place any time of the year. Lodging and dining facilities at Maharajpur: No luxurious lodging or dining facilities are available in Maharajpur. Few hotels are found at Sahebjang. However, you can spot a forest bungalow at Maharajpur. Very simple vegetarian meal is prepared by the local shops around the railway station on request. BOOK YOUR TRIP TO...