The beauty about a weekend getaway is that everybody has an interpretation of the ideal one. For some it means never getting off the hammock, for others it’s about never getting on it. Some get their joy taking long drives while for others it’s about getting there faster. The good news is that whatever is your idea of escape, you will find it in our long weekend escapes from Kolkata.
1) Lie back at Vedic Village: Sometimes the idea of a weekend getaway feels more like a job than joy especially when long drives are involved. For those kind of days, the days when you want to drive no longer than your daily commute, the days when you want do nothing but pamper yourself – the Vedic Village (suites from Rs 11,000 per night) is the place you need. A less than a 40 minute drive from the city center will transport you Bengal’s lush countryside even as you are cocooned in luxury.
Top Tip: Carry books and board games to keep you entertained if you’re not into too much of outdoor activity.
2) Go wild at Sunderbans: Touted as the ‘best experience of the Sunderbans in one weekend’ the Sunderbans Tiger Camp (package cost Rs 15900 per person) gets everything right in this two day retreat. The eco huts are basic but clean, the food authentic and freshly caught by villagers, the cruises and village walks make for memorable experiences but it’s the tantalizing promise of seeing the elusive tiger in his home ground is what turns this from a simple wilderness retreat to an high adventure holiday.
Top Tip: Don’t miss the excursion to the Sanjkehali Watch Tower for outstanding views of the endless mangroves.
3) Enjoy an epic sunset at Mandarmani: If you don’t like jostling for space as you watch the sun set over the sea, it’s time to switch over from Digha to Mandarmani. Located just three hours from Kolkata, this destination is worth your weekend for the simple joy of driving on one of the longest motorable beaches in India. Riding on the hard, flat sand during sunset gives you an adrenalin rush that speeding on an expressway will fail to deliver.
Top Tip: Stay at the Masara Beach Resort (rooms at Rs 5900) instead of the popular Rose Valley if you want to avoid the over-the-top décor and water park vibe and enjoy some quiet time.
4) Kurseong: There is a particular kind of traveller who believes life is a journey and not a destination. This is the kind of person who thinks of 600km drive as a part of the holiday experience. If you belong to this category, then this less popular but immensely more beautiful little sister of Darjeeling, is perfect for you. The charm of this hill station is the absence of souvenir shops and the profusion of nature walks – the best of these being a 2km hike to Eagle’s Craig where views of the Teesta and the plains beyond await you.
Top Tip: Stay at the Cochrane Place (double room at Rs 2700) for a true colonial experience steeped in history and surrounded by tea gardens.
Sharan spends her time writing and travelling, and on a good day gets paid for doing both. She has authored two Lonely Planet Guides and several features for Lonely Planet Magazine as well been a contributing writer on firstpost.com. She had just finished writing her first novel.