Gajaldoba

Gajoldoba is a tiny village on the western side of Teesta River, 30 km from the town of Siliguri. The village is situated in Oodlabari area of Jalpaiguri district. Located in close vicinity to the Baikunthapur forest, Gajoldoba is known for the Teesta River Barrage that was built for irrigation of agricultural land in the surrounding areas. The dam has resulted in the creation of a large water body upstream which has become a hotspot for migratory birds during the winter.



Sightseeing and Activities

Every year during the month of November, thousands of migratory birds from Ladakh and parts of Central Asia flock to this place. The endless chirping and melancholy of the birds continue until March. During this time, Gajaldoba becomes every bird watcher's dream come true. The awe inspiring natural beauty of the place with its view of the forest, river and splendid backdrop of mighty mountains will leave you mesmerized.


A boat ride in the Teesta River at Gajaldoba is an unforgettable experience. You can easily spend a couple of hours with a binocular spotting various species of birds like common shelduck, ruddy shelduck, little egret, great egret, brown-headed gull, great cormorant, red-crested pochard, bar-headed goose, Pacific golden plover and northern lapwing. Still an unexplored tourist destination, Gajaldoba offers you a chance to enjoy the serenity, experience the fresh air, witness the beauty of nature and have a rendezvous with some cheerful migratory birds.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Gajaldoba is November to March. However, if you are keen on seeing the maximum number of migratory birds, then you should plan your trip around end of November and early December.

How to Reach

Trains are running from Sealdah, Kolkata and Howrah to New Jalpaiguri. Toto rickshaws are available from New Jalpaiguri station to Gorar More. From there, you can get a Trekker or Magic van to reach Gajaldoba Teesta Barrage.

Accommodation

Bhorer Alo
Tariff: ₹1100-2500/- per room with breakfast
Tel: 7029435557
Online Booking: www.wbtdcl.com

Paradeep

Paradeep is a beautiful coastal destination in the Indian state of Odisha. Known primarily for the Paradeep Port which boasts of being one of the major sea port on the country’s east coast, the place also has a lot to offer to tourists. Located near the confluence of the Mahanadi River and the Bay of Bengal, the sublime beach of Paradeep is enough to spellbind every visitor. Crystal clear water, verdant green forest and rocky stones enhance the beauty of the place.


Sightseeing and Activities

A stone’s throw away from the beach stands a 40 m tall lighthouse. After some frolicking in the sea beach, you can head to the Smruti Udyan, a garden dedicated to those who lost their lives in the super cyclone that hit Paradeep in 1999. The peace, serenity and greenery makes it a great place to unwind. The Marine Aquarium should also definitely be on your checklist. It houses a jaw-dropping collection of both fresh water and saline water fish as well as other aquatic creatures.

Marine Aquarium, Paradeep

Visitors to Paradeep can pay a visit to the Jagannath Temple which is probably the only one of its kind that remains open to both Hindus and Non-Hindus without any kind of restricted entry. Another interesting place to visit is the Gahirmatha Beach. Known for sea turtles and water monitor lizards, the place is also home to rare white crocodiles. If you have time, do visit the Bhitarkanika National Park which hosts a luxuriant green, rich and pulsating eco-system consisting of a large variety of animals and birds.


How to Reach

You can board train from Santragachi and disembark at Paradip. Alternatively, trains are available from Howrah to reach Cuttack. Paradeep is 84 km from Cuttack. Buses and cars are available from Cuttack to reach Paradeep.

Where to Stay

OTDC Panthanivas
Tariff: ₹1300/- per room with breakfast
Tel: 06722-222275

Empires Hotel
Tariff: ₹6500-9500/- per room
Tel: 06722-223408

Hotel Paradip International
Tariff: ₹1100-2450/- per room
Tel: 06722-222986

Hotel Sea Pearl
Tariff: ₹3000-8500/- per room
Tel: 06722-228022

Hotel Aristocrat
Tariff: ₹1100-1900/- per room
Tel: 06722-222091

Kamarpara

If you are in the lookout for a rustic destination, where you can relax and enjoy an idyllic life then Kamarpara in Birbhum district of West Bengal is an ideal option for you. Located in a rural setting, the homestays in Kamarpara offer you a chance to spend a day or two away from all the city humdrums. There is a lake located close to the village. It is known as Lakshmi Sayar. The locals believe that the lake possesses a sacred power of fulfilling one’s wishes. Another nearby attraction is the Surkeswar Shiva Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Shiva. A lazily walk from Kamarpara through the Sonajhuri forest will take you to the bank of Ajay River. You will lose yourself in a different world as you walk on the winding red soil road, the smell of the red earth touching your senses and the fresh wind caressing your face – it’s a worthwhile experience. While you are at Kamarpara, you should not miss a visit to the Amkhoi Fossil Park. Spanning over a vast area of 10 hectares with a huge waterbody in the middle, the park houses fossilized wood 15 to 20 million years of age. The angiosperm wood fossils that are presently displayed in the fossil park were collected during pond digging at Amkhoi village.

Kamarpara



How to Reach

Trains are running from Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata to Bolpur. Kamarpara is 14 km from Bolpur. Totos are available from Bolpur to reach Kamarpara.

Accommodation

Chottoneer
Tariff: Rs. 1800/- per room with complimentary breakfast
Tel: 9804168179, 9073919368

Udasin
Tariff: Rs. 2000-3500/- per room with complimentary breakfast
Tel: 9831948634, 9830730570

Banjara Hat
Tariff: Rs. 1500-2500/- per room
Tel: 9830552535

Baghmundi

Often a times, the biggest surprises of life come in small packages. The little village of Baghmundi might sound like just an ordinary village but once you visit the place, your perception is bound to change. Located at the foot of Ayodhya Hills, the village acts as a charming hideaway for tourists from the stress and anxiety of modern life. A rendezvous with the peaceful serenity, uneven topography, cascading waterfalls, trickling rivers, and diverse flora and fauna of the place will leave you awe struck. Bamni Falls is one of the major attractions of the place. This perennial waterfalls is flanked by charming landscape and vivid greenery. Another tourist spot near Baghmundi is Khairabera, a beautiful lake in the midst of mild slopes and thick woods. You can also visit the Tarpania Lake. This blue lake settled in a desolate landscape is a must visit for those who wish to experience serenity and solitude. Art lovers should make it a point to visit Charida, a village famous for the making of Chau masks. Chau is an acrobatic martial art based tribal dance of the region which involves wearing handcrafted, colourful masks while dancing. You can witness the entire process of making a mask and even collect a few as a souvenir.

Baghmundi

How to Reach

Trains are running from Howrah to Barabhum. Baghmundi is 19 km from Barabhum. Buses and cars are available from Barabhum to reach Baghmundi. Alternatively, you can reach Purulia by train from Howrah, Santragachi or Shalimar. Baghmundi is 59 km from Purulia town.

Accommodation

Chhowburu Guest House
Tariff: Rs. 800-1000/- per person with breakfast, lunch and dinner
Tel: 9732294515

Aranyak Lodge
Tariff: Rs. 500-800/- per room
Tel: 9732394115

For more places to visit near Baghmundi, buy the Weekend Destinations travel guidebook.

Namchi

The district headquarters of South Sikkim, Namchi is a fabulous tourist destination perched at an altitude of 1325 m above sea level. In Bhutia language, the word ‘Namchi’ literally translates to ‘top of the sky’. Set in a picturesque location, the town offers an awe-inspiring view of the Kanchenjunga Range and the Rangit Valley. Namchi hosts the very popular Namchi Mahotsav, a Tourism, Culture and Food Festival, every year in October. A flower festival is also held annually.

Statue of Guru Padmasambhava atop the Samudruptse Hill

Sightseeing and Activities

One of the most striking attractions of Namchi is the 135 feet high statue of Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) atop the Samudruptse Hill. It is the highest statue of Guru Padamasambhava in the world. The statue is gilded with gold that makes it glitter when sunlight falls over it. His Holiness the Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997 and it took about three years to complete the statue. From here, you can treat your eyes with the magnificent vista of Mt. Kanchenjunga amidst the richly forested hills under the clear blue sky. Another notable attraction of Namchi is the Solophok Char Dham complex (officially known as Siddheswar Dham). A huge pilgrimage cum cultural centre developed by the Government of Sikkim, the complex hosts a 26.5 m high statue of Lord Shiva in sitting posture. Apart from this giant statue, the replicas of twelve Jyotirlingas along with the four Dhams of Hindus namely Badrinath, Jagannath, Dwarka and Rameshwaram have been constructed inside the complex. This stunning imitation of Char Dham amidst the serene nature of Sikkim, has made it one of the prime tourist destinations in Sikkim.



While at Namchi, you should not miss a visit to the Rock Garden. Set against a beautiful backdrop of the Himalayan mountains, the garden houses different species of plants, flowers and trees growing everywhere. Along the pathway there are several waiting sheds, view points and water bodies landscaped to fit the taste of the visitors. The idyllic surroundings will help you relax and soak in the views of nature. You can also visit the Tarey Bhir view point which offers a breathtaking view of the river valleys below and dense woods. It also offers a panoramic view of the confluence of the two rivers of Sikkim, Teesta and Rangit. The Ngadak Monastery, Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir, Serdup Choling Monastery, Temi Tea Garden and Tendong Hill are other places of interest that can be visited from Namchi.


Best Time to Visit

Namchi can be visited at any time of the year except the monsoons.

How to Reach

Trains are running from Sealdah, Kolkata and Howrah to New Jalpaiguri. You can reserve a car from New Jalpaiguri and reach Namchi directly. Alternatively, you can reach Namchi from Siliguri by shared car.

Accommodation

Juniper Residency. Tariff: Rs. 2200-3700. Tel: 9593988698, 7679071222.
Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa. Tariff: Rs. 3700-30000. Tel: 8250528270, 8388877888.
Kava Suites. Tariff: Rs. 2500-4500. Tel: 8670044028, 03595-263444.
Hotel Valley View. Tariff: Rs. 1800. Tel: 9830152169.

Places Near Kolkata

Pemling

A picturesque hill hamlet situated 38 km from Kalimpong, Pemling is an ideal retreat for a soul seeking peace and solitude. It is mostly inhabited by the Lepchas and the Tamangs. Around 230 inhabitants reside in this small village. The village of Pemling offers some stunning views of the surrounding hills and valley. Savour the beauty of nature as you walk through orange orchards, elaichi farms, lush green meadows and dense forests. You can take a leisurely stroll on the forest trail and discover the joy of being away from the buzzing city life. The Juge Waterfalls is a must see attraction of Pemling which you will not want to miss. A 3 km downhill car ride from the village and a 50 minutes jungle trek will land you in front of the mesmerizing waterfalls. The place is a bird watcher’s paradise. With a binocular, you can simply spend hours here witnessing these colourful creatures. You can also visit Charkhole, Lava, Lolegaon, Pabong and Chuikhim from Pemling.



How to Reach

Purchase the Weekend Destinations Travel Guide Book to find out the best way to reach Pemling from Kolkata. Click here to buy the eBook. Pay securely with Paytm.

Accommodation

Buy the Weekend Destinations eBook to get in-depth information about Pemling along with tariff and contact details of homestays in Pemling.

Places Near Kolkata

Ajgaivinath

Ajgaivinath Dham is a well known temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated in Sultanganj in the East Indian state of Bihar. The temple is situated atop a rock on the bank of Ganges river. It is believed that Lord Shiva was given his bow, known as Ajgay, at this very place and so the place came to be known as Ajgaivinath. A series of marvelous rock sculptures and inscriptions are the main highlights of the temple. Inside the temple, there are idols of various deities including Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Narayana and Goddess Laxmi. The place has a beautiful charm in it. Its calm natural surroundings and the soothing view of River Ganga will relieve your soul from all stress and worries.

Ajgaivinath

How to Reach

Trains are running from Howrah and Sealdah to Sultanganj. Ajgaivinath Dham is 3 km from Sultanganj station. Trekkers and cycle rickshaws are available from Sultanganj station to reach Ajgaivinath temple.


Accommodation

Indrapuri Rest House. Tariff: Rs. 600-1700. Tel: 7070868666, 9631891301.
Hotel Alka. Tariff: Rs. 600-1500. Tel: 9135266589.

Places Near Kolkata