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Kolkata is a city of myriad attractions that range from its rich architectural legacy to a vibrant culture and exciting food trails. It is also the gateway city for exploring the many interesting destinations in Bengal. Following are a selection of weekend hotspots from the City of Joy.

Known for its scenic beauty and cultural heritage, Shantiniketan has always been a popular destination for the many admirers of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Situated near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, this ‘Abode of Peace’ can be reached by rail or road.

The wildlife of West Bengal can be experienced in Sundarbans, the world’s largest estuary covered by mangrove forests and delta. Situated at the lower end of the the Gangetic West Bengal, it is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.

When it comes to beaches, Mandarmoni has always been the ideal place for relaxation. Located on the Kolkata-Digha route, this seaside hamlet can be reached by train from Contai station around 26 km away. This beachfront also offers the longest 13 km drivable track in India.

Bishnupur, famous for its terracotta temples and baluchari saris, is located 150 km away from Kolkata. Intricately carved to convey mythological scenes, this place is best explored by a cycle rickshaw and during the cooler months.

Bakkhali is located 125 km from Kolkata from where one can take a motorised boat to Jambu Dwip and visit the Watch Tower to view the entire Sundarban forest and the crocodile park. Maithan, located at the meeting point of river Damodar and Barakor, has small hills, forests and an immense water body covering an area of 66 km. Easily reachable by road and rail, this destination can be visited during the monsoons and winters.

Another undiscovered destination, Gadiara is located at the confluence of Damodar, Rupnarayan and Hoogli. The beauty of this place is best experienced by visiting Fort Mornington, built by Lord Clive and a small lighthouse.

Kamarpukur, situated on the banks of the river Damodar, is a destination of historical richness. The birthplace of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, this place houses a temple dedicated to the saint, a library, dispensary and a school.

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