Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, and the former capital of India is the biggest and the most populous city in the eastern zone of the country. A lot of people from the Northeast part of the country migrate to Calcutta for jobs and further studies. With so much of work or study pressure coupled with the hot and humid climate for about eight months on the trot, life can get pretty mundane in the City of Joy. In a state which looks like a key, it really is the key to Northeast India for the rest of India through the land.

With the Himalayas in the north and beaches in the south, there are a lot of places one can visit during the weekend. However, this article is a compilation of seven-weekend getaways from Calcutta, situated not more than 300 kilometres in distance.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
A stunning visual of a sunset in Bakkhali
A stunning visual of a sunset in Bakkhali

Bakkhali

Bakkhali is a small beach town located in West Bengal, just about 120 kilometres south of Calcutta. Henry Island is the most famous attraction here. The white beach is not at all crowded, and that makes it even more fun for the visitors. Since it is a virgin island, there are no adventure sports like jet skiing or parasailing available here. Jambu Dwip and the Bakkhali Watch Tower are also worth a visit for a serene view and the tranquillity they have to offer. Its etymology is Bak (also known as red beaked seagull), as they are found in plenty here.

The best time to visit Bakkhali is from July to March. It is well connected with Calcutta through roadway and railway. Either way, it takes about four to four hours to cover the journey.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
The famous Banyan Tree at Viswa Bharti University in Santiniketan
The famous Banyan Tree at Viswa Bharti University in Santiniketan

Santiniketan

Santiniketan is a small town located about 165 kilometres from Calcutta, in the heart of West Bengal. It is the migrated home of legendary Nobel laureate Late Rabindranath Tagore. He founded a school here in 1901 which went on to become the first University in India - Viswa Bharti University. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. Tagore's Ashram and Chhatimtala are the other must-visit places in Santiniketan.

There are regular train services from Calcutta to Santiniketan. By car, it should not take more than five hours. The best time to visit Santiniketan is during Holi, for Santiniketan is one of the best places in the world to play Holi. Apart from that, mid-July to March is a wonderful time to visit Santiniketan.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
Two deer at Sunderban National park
Two deer at Sunderban National park

Sundarban

The Sunderbans lies about a hundred kilometres from Calcutta and is spread across two countries - India and Bangladesh. Sunderbans is one of the oldest and largest National Parks in the country. With more than 180 Royal Bengal Tigers, it is the home to the most number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the whole wide world. It is also the largest mangrove forest on the planet. The highly endangered Gangetic Dolphins can be found here. It was once also the home of one-horn Rhinoceros until the Britishers hunted them to extinction.

To go for this Mangrove forest Safari, one will have to hire a boat service which can be availed from Godhkali (or booked from Calcutta itself), the last road point from Calcutta to Sundarbans. The best time to visit Sunderbans is between November and February.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
A couple taking a stroll at Mandarmani Beach
A couple taking a stroll at Mandarmani Beach

Mandarmani

Mandarmani is situated less than 140 kilometres from Calcutta. It has become the most visited weekend getaway from Calcutta in the last couple of years. With a bevvy of water activities like Parasailing, Jet Skiing, Banana boating, et cetera, Mandarmani is becoming hugely popular amongst the youths in the City of Joy. It becomes extremely lively on full moon days because of the high tides. There are a bunch of really nice resorts on this beach town.

Mandarmani is well connected with Calcutta though roadway. It takes just about four hours of travel to reach Mandarmani from the state capital. The best time to visit Mandarmani is between mid-July and March.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
Holi in Purulia
Holi in Purulia

Purulia

Less than 250 kilometres from Calcutta, quietly lying near the border of West Bengal and Jharkhand is the serene town of Purulia. Albeit it has quite a few attractive places in the store, this place is far away from the crowd. It, however, comes to life with a lot of outsiders visiting this place during Holi, as it is one of the best places in the world to celebrate the festival of Holi. Some of the most attractive places in Purulia are Baranti and Murguma for their scenic landscape view and Ajodhya Hill & Forest Reserve Area and Joychandi Pahar for the mesmerizing hills.

It is connected with Calcutta through both, Roadway and Railway. The best time to visit Purulia is from August to March.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
Jubilee Park can be covered with Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary with an overnight stay at Jamshedpur
Jubilee Park can be covered with Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary with an overnight stay at Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur is located approximately 280 kilometres away from Calcutta and is the only weekend getaway from Calcutta to have made it to this compilation, which is less than 300 kilometres away from the City of Joy and is not in West Bengal. The biggest city in Jharkhand has a lot to offer to its visitors. Jubilee Park, Dimna Lake, and Bhubaneswari Temple are the main attractions in the first planned industrial town in the country.

A lot of trains and buses move between Calcutta and Jamshedpur, every day. A car journey would take about six hours. The best time to visit the town is from October to April.

Top Seven Places From Calcutta For Weekend Getaways
A path in a forest which leads to the beach in Tejpur
A path in a forest which leads to the beach in Tejpur

Tajpur

Tajpur is situated just about 150 kilometres from Calcutta, between Digha and Mandarmani. I chose Tajpur over Digha because unlike Digha (which is always overcrowded and the beaches are poorly maintained), Tajpur is sans the maddening crowd and the litter all over the beaches. It is a fairly unknown beach town not far from most popular beaches in West Bengal - Digha and Mandarmani. Since it was discovered quite recently, it is still developing to become a tourist hot spot. During one's visit to Tajpur, one can also visit its under-developed neighbouring beaches like Humour and Shankarpur. One can engage oneself in water activities like boating and snorkelling here.

It is well connected with Calcutta through roadway and takes just about four and a half hours to reach from Calcutta. October to March is the best time period to visit this place.