As the summer heat grips the city, escape to these riverside retreats for a comfortable weekend holiday. Lying with 60km and 100km from Kolkata by road, you may also go on a day trip with family or friends. The destinations are known for their river-views and there is no pressure to go sightseeing. Take walks along the river banks, go for boating in the river, or simply while away your time tucked away in the river-view rooms.
About 80km by road from Kolkata via the Basanti Highway, Chunakhali is an unassuming village on the bank of the Hana River. Salt water fish harvesting is the main occupation here and hence you will find plenty of farms (‘bheri’ in Bengali) along the river bank. Suited for both day or overnight trips, it is best for those who love to dine on various kinds of fish, prawns and crabs, cooked in typical Bengali home-kitchen style. There is only one well-appointed private lodge so far.
About 70km from Kolkata by road via Basanti Highway, Taki on Ichhamati River has climbed the popularity chart over the past few years. The long river bank is dotted with budget hotels and a sprawling luxury resort at one end. You may take a country boat ride on the river which draws the international border between India and Bangladesh. A walk through the ‘mini Sundarban’, a protected patch of mangrove forest will acquaint you with the flora of the region. Away from the river bank are a few palatial privately owned homesteads; however, entry is restricted except during Durga Puja.
Garchumuk is about 60km by road from Kolkata via Uluberia. With the Hooghly River to its east and the Damodar River to its west, the place is better known for its 58 lock gates on the latter. The verdant bank on the canal contains a deer park and a children’s park. Stay options include a tourist lodge operated by the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation and river-front private bungalows on hire. But accommodation is limited and it is advisable to book in advance.
Located near the meeting point of three rivers – Hooghly, Rupnarayan and Damodar – Gadiara is about 85km by road from Kolkata via Bagnan. Once the site of Fort Mornington, erected by Robert Clive (the first British Governor of Bengal Presidency), to keep a check on the pirates who frequented these waters, today it is a popular riverside getaway. By way of accommodation, there is Roopmanjari tourist lodge operated by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and a few budget hotels. From here, you may take a local ferry to visit Nurpur and Geonkhali across the river.
About 70 km by road from Kolkata, Kolaghat on the Rupnarayan River is better known as a pit stop to Digha and beyond. With a large number of restaurants along the highway, you may enjoy a day outing here with family or friends. There is a privately run luxury resort along the river bank, far from the noisy highway, which may be your choice if you are looking for an overnight trip.