9 Best Road Trips From Kolkata, West Bengal

road trips from kolkata

The next time you’re in Kolkata, you might want to consider something different. A road trip? What better way to see the real side of East India than by travelling through it. When on the road, you will definitely find out that there is more than what meets the eye. Travelling through Bengal will reveal innumerable gorgeous landmarks that you may not have seen before. You will witness the culture of the people living here or the beautiful scenery that you will drive past. With places like Digha or Jamshedpur awaiting your visit, why not? We have put together the best road trips from Kolkata, West Bengal, that will offer you an unforgettable experience in Eastern India.

1. Bhubaneswar

Aerial view of Bhubaneswar Centre
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Government of Odisha used under CC BY 4.0

The capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar serves as the centre of economic, educational and cultural importance, having multiple temples such as Bhaskareshwar Temple and Lingaraj Temple, earning its nickname of “Temple City of India”. Not only are there temples, but there are also other attractions such as Orissa State Museum that boasts an extensive collection of unique art and craft objects, and Nandankanan Zoological Park, the first zoo to have any success in breeding melanistic and white tigers. Being adjacent to Puri district, it also makes travelling to destinations such as Hirapur and Nandan Kanan quite easy.

Travel Time: 8 hours and 40 minutes (via Badshahi Rd and NH16)

Distance: 274.7 mi (442.1 km)

2. Gar Panchkot

Pancharatna Temple at Garpanchkot, Purulia
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Skasish used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Situated on the foothills of Panchet Hill is the remains of Panchkot Palace, a ruined fort. This historical fort serves as evidence of the Bargi attack in Bengal during the 18th century, hence its name Gar Panchakot. Gar Panchkot is enchanting with its lush greenery, mountainous hills, shimmering lakes and plenty of natural and historical attractions, such as the Panchet Dam, where you can take a walk along the road to enjoy the breeze from the Damodar River and the option for a boat ride through the river. It is best to visit during monsoon and winter as this is when the city’s beauty is at its peak.

Travel Time: 5 hours and 30 minutes (via NH19)

Distance: 155.2 mi (249.7 km)

3. Shantiniketan

Artistic mud house at shantiniketan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rajeevakumara used under CC BY 3.0

For those who love to engage in local culture and wish to experience the joy of life as expressed by art, Shantiniketan is the place to go. With attractions such as Poush Mela or Amar Kutir, which displays multiple local handmade crafts like leather printed bags or printed cloth, this destination attracts families, those on honeymoons, and is even a preferable field trip spot for students in school. You might want to consider visiting during December, as December is when Shantiniketan students put up performances in Poush Mela, a delightful experience for foreigners.

Travel Time: 4 hours (via NH114 and NH19)

Distance: 100.3 mi (161.4 km)

4. Nabadwip

Shiva in choturdola, Nabadwip, buroshiv
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user শক্তিশেল used under CC BY-SA 4.0

For a city and a municipality in Nadia district, Nabadwip is a small place and can be fully explored within a day. It is known for its multiple religious sites; the entire city is filled with temples that people often visit for religious reasons. It is best to visit during November, as that is when the month of Agharayan falls on the Bengali calendar. This means that the city would deck up in festive and celebratory spirit while preparing for the Rash Mela (celebration of the divine love between Lord Krishna and Radha). While it has few attractions compared to other places, you might want to consider making use of this destination as a quick stop to have a snack or to take a break from a gruelling drive.

Travel Time: 3 hours and 50 minutes (via NH19)

Distance: 76.2 mi (122.7 km)

5. Simlipal National Park and Tiger Reserve

Joranda Water Fall Simlipal Biosphere Reserve
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Toni Wöhrl used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Similipal National Park functions as a tiger reserve and is the 7th largest national park in India, being the size of around 1,060 sqm (2,750 sq km). The name of the park originates from the abundant growing red silk cotton trees. It is part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve that protects the following: Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. In the park, there are 1076 types of plants, 42 varieties of mammals including the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, gaur and chausingha along with 242 species of birds and 30 breeds of reptiles. For those who love beautiful views, the park also has Joranda and Barehipani Falls, the latter being one of the highest waterfalls in India.

Travel Time: 6 hours and 40 minutes (via NH49 and NH16)

Distance: 169.4 mi (272.7 km)

6. Tajpur

Tajpur beach, West Bengal 16
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pinakpani used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In Tajpur, the main attraction is the beach with a forest of tamarisk trees. The clean beach is home to multiple red crabs that can be seen during the day and seagulls flying over the beach at the break of the dawn. As a tourist attraction, while it may be relatively new with fewer hotels, it is nevertheless one of the most popular destinations among locals and tourists alike, providing great pleasure to those visiting Tajpur. Those who stop by the beach should take a stroll around, and if you’re adventurous at heart, go for other options, such as paragliding or rock climbing.

Travel Time: 4 hours 30 minutes (via NH116B and NH16)

Distance: 107.9 mi (173.7 km)

7. Digha

Sunrise @ Digha
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Swarnasubarna26 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The most popular sea resort in West Bengal, Digha is a one-stop destination that is preferred by families. What tourists like about this place is the variety of attractions for all age groups, such as Marine Aquarium and Research Centre, and Lord Shiva Temple at Chandaneswar. Like Tajpur, it has a beach that has casuarinas plantations along the coast that helps reduce erosion, and not just glamorize the beach. From the beach, one can view the sunrise and sunset, which reflects off the Bay of Bengal, making it look like a brilliant play of lemon yellow and orange coming out of an artist’s painting.

Travel Time: 4 hours 50 minutes (via NH116B and NH16)

Distance: 114 mi (183.5 km)

8. Puri, Odisha

Jaganath Temple,, Puri
Source: Photo by user BOMBMAN used under CC BY 2.0

Puri is part of Char Dham (four sacred places) in India, being one of the holiest pilgrimage sites with the existence of Jagannatha Temple. In fact, the religious importance of this temple is what Puri depends on for almost 80 per cent of its economy. Besides the temple, there is also a beach, which is surrounded by casuarina trees, where the sunrise and sunset will also make for great scenery. Another attraction would be the district museum, where the exhibits mainly focus on Lord Jagannatha’s wardrobe wear, patachitra (cloth-based, traditional scroll painting), ancient palm-leaf manuscripts and locally-made sculptures and craftwork. It is better to visit in June or July if you wish to partake in Rath Yatra (the journey of the holy chariot).

Travel Time: 9 hours 50 minutes (via Badshahi Rd and NH16)

Distance: 308.8 mi (496.9 km)

9. Jamshedpur

A view of jamshedpur jubilee park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mohitjamshedpurian used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Nicknamed “The Steel City”, Jamshedpur is the largest city in the state of Jharkhand. The nickname was earned due to Tata Steel’s maintenance of infrastructure and public services for most parts of the city. However, don’t let its nickname trick you, as it is actually surrounded by hills and borders two rivers, giving it a more natural yet scenic setting than its nickname may imply. Attractions like Dinma Lake are good for activities like jet-skiing, rowing or water scooting, while others such as Jamshedpur Coin Museum are excellent storytellers of the past and will also give you a glimpse of the economy. Over here, you will be able to experience a scenario where rising industries have helped maintain the original beauty of a land, rather than ruin the natural resources.

Travel Time: 6 hours 30 minutes (via NH18 and NH16)

Distance: 175 mi (281.4 km)

Start a road adventure from Kolkata

Road trips are always the best ways to know a place like the back of your hand. Best part is, there are plenty of options available when it comes to road trips from Kolkata. Consider one or more of these road trips when you plan your next vacation, for it will certainly make for a meaningful and memorable experience.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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