The t2 campus team picks pocket-friendly getaways to make the most of summer

Keep an eye out for the immense biodiversity on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might get to see the rare horseshoe crab crawling on the seabed.

  • Published 14.04.18
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SEA

Where: Chandipur, Odisha

Why: If you want a combination of less of a crowd, picturesque beauty and delicious seafood, Chandipur is an ideal summer getaway for your squad. 

How to get there: Take a train from Howrah to Balasore railway station, which should take around three hours 15 minutes. From there, hail a bus or a car to reach your destination.

Budget: A short weekend trip can be wrapped up in approximately Rs 2,000 per person.

Tips: Keep an eye out for the immense biodiversity on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might get to see the rare horseshoe crab crawling on the seabed.

Where: Tajpur, Bengal

Why: Get away to Tajpur if you want the Goa feel but can’t afford the time or money to make it there. Shacks, hammocks, water sports — Tajpur offers them all. 

How to get there: Take a bus from Dharmatala to Balisai and then hire a car. The nearest railway station to Tajpur is Ramnagar. Board any Howrah-Digha train and then take a car to your resort. 

Budget: The weekend trip can be completed in about Rs 2,000 per person.

Tips: Carry comfortable shoes as most of the hotels are away from the beach, so you will have to walk a bit. Since summer is off-season, you don’t need to book rooms from before. In fact you get the best deals on the spot. Also remember to carry sun protection and stay hydrated. It is going to be very hot.

MOUNTAINS

Where: Takdah, Bengal

Why:
Try Takdah if you’re planning to avoid crowds heading to the mountains in summer. Takdah’s mountains, tea gardens, orchids — and the walking trails that wind through all of these — are enough to make even the most grumpy morning person happy. If you fancy a bit of shopping, Darjeeling is just about one-and-a-half-hour away by road.

How to get there: Takdah is approximately 77km from New Jalpaiguri (the nearest railway station) as well as Bagdogra (the nearest airport). It takes three to four hours to reach Takdah by car from New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra. There are reserved taxis available from the station and airport. 

Budget: Shared Jeeps or cars from New Jalpaiguri range from Rs 175 to Rs 250 per person and taxis are around Rs 750 for a one-way trip. Takdah is a developing tourist destination, so there aren’t too many options. Saino Heritage Guest House and Heritage Bungalows are two places we would recommend. A stay for two at Heritage Bungalows costs Rs 1,800 per day.

Things to keep in mind: Be prepared to take long walks because that’s how you can enjoy Takdah most. 

Where: Jhandi, Bengal

Why: This isolated paradise is nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, around 80.5km from Siliguri. With a beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga from your window, it’s a lovely place to spend a weekend. There’s not much to do, but nothing can beat picturesque treks to the sunset point, the waterfall, or the Jhandi Dhara viewpoint.  

How to get there: Take a train to New Jalpaiguri. From there it’s a three-hour car ride. 

Budget: You can manage this trip on a really tight budget of around Rs 5,000 for a group of three. If you want lodging for cheap, the homestays provide food and stay for Rs 1,100 a day.

Tips: Peak summer is best for a view of the Kanchenjunga. Don’t forget to walk down the banks of the Mahananda river!

Where: Daringbadi, Odisha

Why: Located in the Kandhmal district and widely known as the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’, Daringbadi is a serene hill station surrounded by pine forests and coffee plantations. It’s famous for its harvests of turmeric, black pepper and ginger. Buy fresh organic spices from the village itself. There is a Herbal Garden Picnic Ground, several waterfalls and rivers and some animal sanctuaries as well.

How to get there: Getting there is easy as there are daily buses and taxis ferrying from Berhampur, the nearest city which is three hours from Daringbadi. There are numerous trains to Berhampur from both Sealdah and Howrah.

Budget: You can get a whole day’s meal for less than Rs 400. Options for accommodation are few, but Deers Eco Home is a good option. A triple bed is for Rs 1,200 a night. A two-day trip for three will cost Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000.

Things to keep in mind: Try Salpa, an unique palm liquor found only in this area of India!

Where: Rasikbeel, Bengal

Why: Located in the district of Cooch Behar, 470km away from Calcutta, the main attraction here is the Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary. If that’s not enough, there is also a deer park, a crocodile rehabilitation centre, a rescue centres for tortoise, pythons and leopards. You can also visit Buxa Tiger Reserve, an hour’s drive from Rasikbeel.  

How to get there: The nearest railway station is Kamakhyaguri. Car service is available from the station.
 

Budget: Accommodation begins from Rs 900. A weekend trip can be covered within Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 for three.
 

Things to keep in mind: Take your binoculars for some spectacular birdwatching opportunities. 

FOREST

Where: Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha

Why:
From estuarine crocodiles in the mangroves, Olive Ridley turtles on the coast to Northern Pintails in the trees, Bhitarkanika is a paradise for wildlife lovers. 

How to get there: The entry points are at Khola and Gupti, which can be reached by car from Bhadrak, the nearest railway station, or from Bhubaneswar, which is not the nearest but the easiest to reach from Calcutta. 

Budget: For a group of three to four people, the entire trip can be completed in Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 including stay at
Bhitarkanika Jungle Resorts or Bhitarkanika Nature Camps of Odisha Forest Development Corporation.

Things to keep in mind: Entry permits need to be collected from the Forest Check Gate at Khola and Gupti.  

Where: Neora Valley National Park, Bengal

Why:
This gorgeous valley, situated in Kolakham village (Kalimpong district), is home to the Himalayan Red Panda. If you’re lucky, you might just spot one! Parts of the valley are difficult to access, making it all the more adventurous. There are government-appointed guides just for the trek. The park’s undisturbed surroundings are a paradise for birdwatchers. Many people choose to trek to Bhutan via this park, since the trail can take you directly to Phuntsholing on the border. You can hire a car and visit Lava monastery and Changey waterfall.

How to get there: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, from where one can get to Kolakham by car.

Budget: The village, Kolakham, has many homestays and if you opt for that — instead of the Neora Valley Jungle Camp, which is more expensive — a three-day trip can be completed within Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 per person.

Things to keep in mind: You need to collect an entry permit in advance for the park. They are available at the forest offices in Lava and Samsing from 6 am onwards in summer, at no cost. Also, don’t forget to carry mosquito repellents and first-aid boxes. 

HERITAGE 

Where: Itachuna Rajbari, Bengal

Why: Built by the ancestors of Shri Safallya Narayan Kundu in 1766, you are sure to feel goosebumps as soon as you enter this magnificent palace. With green trees all around, you’ll feel the calm even before you walk inside. It also serves lip-smacking food. Good food+ good ambience+ good company = the perfect combination for a weekend!

How to get there: Your dream destination is around three hours from Calcutta. Take the Durgapur Expressway, after reaching Bosipur, drive straight towards Halusai and take a left towards Khanyan Railway Station After 10 minutes Itachuna Rajbari will be on your left. The Memari/Pandua local from Howrah station to Khanyan station is another option.

Budget: The room for four, called Choto Boudi, will cost you Rs 6,000 per night. 

Things to keep in mind: Visit before it’s too hot. The place is popular, so book your rooms in advance.

Text: Ravjit Singh, Debolina Banerjee, Vedant Karia, Madhumita Ghosh, Rushati Mukherjee and Manjis Kar

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