For A Post-Durga Puja Trip, Visit These Places Near Kolkata

From a university town listed as a UNESCO heritage site to a place which started the printing revolution in Bengal, here are some interesting places to head out to near Kolkata
The promenade in Chandannagar
The promenade in ChandannagarShutterstock

Durga Puja, the grandest and most awaited festival in Kolkata, is a time of immense joy, devotion, and celebration. As the city dazzles with splendid decorations, colourful pandals, and cultural performances, the atmosphere is electric with excitement. However, once the festivities subside and the city returns to its routine, it's the perfect opportunity to embark on a post-Durga Puja trip to rejuvenate your spirits. Luckily, Kolkata is strategically located, offering an array of enticing destinations nearby. Here's a look at some fantastic places near Kolkata for a memorable post-Durga Puja getaway.


Located around 121 km from Kolkata, Shantiniketan was founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who envisioned it as a university town around Visva Bharati University. In September 2023, Shantiniketan was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Read more about it here.

You can walk around, explore the campus, or rent a bicycle for the day. While at the campus, look for paintings, murals, and sculptures by luminaries such as Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, and Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay, among others. Pick up textiles and handicrafts that Shantiniketan is famous for, including batik and leather accessories with bright embossed patterns. The beautiful Sonajhuri forest is close to Visva Bharati, the Kopai River and tribal villages. It has plenty of birding opportunities, a watch tower, and a lake.

Getting There: A number of trains run to Bolpur from Kolkata; the Shantiniketan Express (from Howrah) is the most convenient. Local transport is abundant from Bolpur station. You can also drive down. It takes about three hours.

Where To Stay: Khoai Village Resort maintains an eco-friendly approach in its architecture, food, energy and water conservation. Chhuti Holiday Resort has cosy cottages for hire. Monpakhi Homestay is close to the university and offers homestyle ambience and food.

Upasana Mandir in Visva Bharati campus
Upasana Mandir in Visva Bharati campusWikiCommons


Located on the Hooghly River, around 30km from Kolkata, Serampore (also Shrirampur) is known for its Danish legacy. It is also known for its associations with the advent of Bengali printing and publishing, but it was under the administration of Denmark from 1755 to 1845, when the Danes sold their Indian interests to the UK. Check out the centuries-old houses of the Goswami families and Danish landmarks such as the Serampore College. The first botanical garden was set up here, and the Baptist leader William Carey set up the first printing press in Bengal in 1800.

At Carey Museum, you can see his writing desk and his polyglot dictionary, among other things. In 1786, the British innkeeper, James Parr, opened the Denmark Tavern & Hotel in Serampore which became quite famous among Europeans.

Getting There: You can take a train from Howrah station or drive down. It takes about two hours.

Where To Stay: Book a room at the Denmark Tavern. It is a perfect example of adaptive use of a historic structure. Now restored, the Park Hotels group manages it. Check it out here.


This is where the French triumphantly landed in 1673. Dupleix, Clive’s old rival, left his high 4-poster bed there in what is today the French Institute. On a Sunday afternoon, students sit with their professor, repeating, “un oeille, des yeux,” as he teaches them French in Bengali. Chandernagore is very français down the Strand, a beautiful riverfront street lined with colonial buildings. Dupleix disembarking here in velvet knee breeches is a fantasy that is easy on the imagination, especially since the ghat gates carry the motto “Libertie, Egalitie, Fraternitie”. The Church, just off the Strand, is graceful and European. Read more about it here.

Where To Stay: Located on the riverside, this lodge is maintained by the West Bengal government. Check it out here.

Getting There: Many local trains connect Howrah with Chandannagar on the Eastern Railway route with a journey time of approximately 45 minutes. You can also drive down.

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