ANNIV SPL: Planning a getaway? Check out these offbeat destinations curated by Indulge

From the forests of Joypur to the plateaus of Madhupur, here’s a list of places beyond Di-Pu-Da
Explore the offbeat paths
Explore the offbeat paths

When it comes to weekend getaways, those living in Kolkata often fall short of options apart from the much-repeated Digha, Puri and Darjeeling. But there’s more to Bengal than meets the eye. We bring you five such exotic and immensely scenic spots within 3 to 6 hours of drive from the city for a relaxed weekend trip.


If you want to get a taste of fresh air and pure water, head over to Madhupur. Located in Jharkhand, this erstwhile British getaway was a much-recommended spot for regaining good health with a majority of well-off Bengalis owning bungalows there. Madhupur has many such heritage bungalows-turned-guest houses for a fabulous stay. It is also recommended to go by car for ease of travel. there’s plenty to do there— take long walks along stretches of land, soak in the bright sun on rooftops, visit colonial mansions and get a taste of the bygone era (on prior request), witness the simple rural and tribal lifestyle, and taste flavourful home-cooked meals. There are many sightseeing options, including the riverside, temples, and caves.


How to travel: By car: Approximately 6 hours over highways | By train: Approximately 4 hours via Vibhuti Express, Janshatabdi Express and others

Distance from Kolkata: 322 km (approx)

Best time to visit: September to March

Must-see spots: Baidyanath Dham, Usri Falls, Mayurakshi river, Gangaprasad Bhavan, Trikut Pahar


If you love to lose yourself amidst nature, then Mukutmanipur is the place to be in. Perfect for overnight stays or group picnics, the landscape offers unpolluted air, fresh organic food, mesmerising scenery, folk and tribal dance, indigenous culture, and much more. One can take a leisurely drive or walk along the stretch of the Mukutmanipur dam, go for boating at Talberia Lake, offer prayers at Ambikanagar temple, or just amble around forest ways. All the spots around there are excellent for watching the sun rise or set if it’s not cloudy. There are quite a handful of guest houses and it is recommended to have a car at your disposal for easy commuting.


How to travel: By car: Approximately 6 hours over highways |By train: Approximately 4 hours on a train to Bankura and then a bus

Distance from Kolkata: 263 km (approx)

Best time to visit: October to March

Must-see spots: Mukutmanipur Dam, Sutan Forest, Ambikanagar Temple, Talberia Lake, Jhili mili Forest


If hills are your forever love, visit Lamagaon, a picturesque hamlet near Darjeeling. This lush and quaint getaway is a must-visit. Stay at one of the homestays and enjoy the comforting local meals over great conversations. Spot birds, all kinds of winter blooms, including colourful orchids and get acquainted with the indigenous cultures as you stroll through the serpentine lanes leading to the village during the day. Witness a breathtaking sunset and spend the evening under the vast starlit sky with bonfire to keep you warm. Only 34 km from Darjeeling, if you stay a day or two here, definitely go for an exciting trek to Tanglu and Sandakphu via Samsu and Dhotria.


How to travel: By Train: Approximately 8-10 hours on a train to New Jalpaiguri and then car till Lamagaon, around 5 hours| By flight: Approximately 1.5 hours to Bagdogra and then book a cab to Lamagaon

Distance from Kolkata: 650 km (approx)

Best time to visit: April to June & September to December

Must-see spots: A view of Kanchenjunga, Jhepi Independent church, Bijanbari, Sai Mandir Kainajalia

Joypur, Bankura

A less-traversed region in Bankura, Joypur’s history dates back to the Malla Kings who ruled the region. Hills, thick forests, a shiva temple, springs and the Damodar River meandering through the landscape, make Joypur a tempting destination for those seeking a quiet and rejuvenating experience. The forest — a rich repository of flora and fauna and over 50 species of animals including Indian Pangolin, jungle cat and Indian civet — is spread across an area of 212 sq km, which makes it a hidden gem for nature lovers. Adventurers simply love spotting deers crossing the forest for grazing or some unusual birds as black-hooded oriole or Indian pitta. Go for the shergarh trek or mingle with the local tribes to know their way of living. Also, if you go for two nights, you may visit one of the few fascinating tourist spots, including Susunia hill, Joychondi Pahar, Garh Panchakot and Maithon Dam that are all within a few kilometres from there.


How to travel: By train: Approximately 4 hours on a train from Howrah to Bishnupur |By car, the ride is approximately 4 hours to Joypur

Distance from Kolkata: 126 km (approx)

Best time to visit: October to February

Must-see spots: Gokulchand Temple, Navaratna temples, tribal villages


Get enraptured by the myriad tourist attractions at Baripada in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Ranging from exquisite handicrafts to temples, to the breathtaking biosphere of Similipal Tiger Reserve, one of the biggest and earliest in the country — Baripada has a lot to offer than meets the eye. Lodge yourself at Simplipal forest if you plan to spot tigers, herds of elephants, langurs, leopards, hornbills, and jungle fowls. You can also trek to the enchanting Barehipani Falls and the Joranda Falls. The reserve also houses a crocodile-rearing farm at Ramtirtha where you can observe the stunning reptiles with their young ones in their natural habitat. It is also the home to the second biggest Jagannath temple after Puri and is thus known as Dwitiya shrikhetra (second Puri). Don’t forget to buy pieces of the rare Bangripori tussar fabrics.


How to travel: By car/bus: Approximately 5-5.5 hours to Baripada

Distance from Kolkata: 224 km (approx)

Best time to visit: October to June

Must-see spots: Similipal Tiger Reserve, Mayurbhanj Palace, Baripada Museum, Baripada Jagannath Temple

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