Tired Of The Crowds? Gather Your Squad And Go On A Day Drive To These 6 Places

Editors posted on 11 August

Mangrove forests, abandoned palaces, and sleepy beaches with fishing harbours – you can drive down to any of these gems under four hours, and be back in time for dinner!

Dankuni-Palsit Expressway

Also known as the Durgapur Expressway, the 65km-long Dankuni-Palsit road is great for driving on. The four-lane West Bengal portion of NH2 stretches from Barakar to Dankuni. We suggest that you take off at 7am, and drive down to Azad Hind Dhaba on the Durgapur Expressway {near Ulberia, Howrah} – have some of the famous dal tadka and roti.  You can take a turn on to the old GT Road and stop at Shaktigarh for their famous sweets – the langcha, and return home before evening traffic sets in.

Dhabhas

Near BPCL Pump, Maheshpur, NH 6, Kona Express Way, Uluberia, Howrah, West Bengal

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Piyali Islands

This tranquil island is a gateway to Sunderbans National Park, and just 72 kilometers from Kolkata! The Piyali river flows through lush green paddy fields before joining Matla river. This is a great place for bird watching as it is covered by mangroves. You can go boating on the river, or visit the Piyali Dam. It is a paradise for bird-lovers.

You can set off at 6am and be at the lodge in Piyali by noon, hang out, have lunch and set off by 4pm. You will cross Garia, then the Baruipur Railway gate. From here, take the road on the right leading to Gochoron crossing, and on to Joynagar {Piyali is around 30 kms from here}.

Tourist Attractions

Dongajora, West Bengal

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    Bishnupur

    A four-hour drive {covering about 140 kms} will take you to Bishnupur where you can see the world-famous rust-red terracotta temples which feature in a shortlist for the UNESCO heritage site tag. You will pass quite a few picturesque places on the way. From Kolkata, head to Mukutmanipur, famous for the dam situated close to confluence of Kangsabati and Kumari rivers. While at Bishnupur, pick up the famous Baluchari sarees which depict scenes from the Mahabharata.

    You can also drive to Arambagh via Dankuni, and on to Bishnupur.

    Bakkhali

    Bakkhali is a little beach town located to the south of West Bengal. It is a minimally-inhabited area and hence very peaceful. On some stretches, the only people to give you any company will be the red fiddler crabs marching away around your feet, and the dense casuarina groves.

    The drive is about four hours via the NH12.

    Shankarpur

    A three-hour drive will get you to Shankarpur, a small beach town and fishing harbour located 14 km east of Digha. You can watch fishermen hauling their nets out of the sea if you get here early enough. The local fishing boats also make for great photo ops. This is a far more peaceful place than neighbouring Digha or Mandarmoni. The long, unspoilt beach has several stalls selling freshly fried fish.

    To get there, head to Namkhana, then Sonakhali, Raidighi, Canning and Najat.

    Mahishadal Rajbari

    The Mahishadal Rajbari Estate houses two magnificient palaces built in 1840 AD and 1937 AD. And it is only about a 100 kms away from the city. The town has several ancient temples and monuments built during 16th century. The estate has two palaces – he old palace, known as Rangi Basan Palace, was built around 1840 and has a couple of impressive iron lions at the entrance of the grand edifice. Also check out the huge stable in the basement. The new one, Phulbagh Palace, was built in 1926.

    Kolkata to Mahishadal is about three hours via NH16 and NH116.

    Tourist Attractions

    Mahishadal Raj-Bari Road, Mahishadal, West Bengal

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