Neighboring Kolkata

Day Tours possible
 
 

There are a lot of very interesting places around Kolkata. Ideal for a day outing, some of these places are :

Colonial Bengal
- Bengal had been a flourishing centre for agriculture and items like handlooms, etc. The river Hooghly provided a great inroad to the European Naval powers  to come into Bengal and establish trading posts and later colonise these places. The Portuguese, Dutch, Danes and French had all arrived although the British prevailed mostly. Some of the places that have historical colonial footprints are :

Bandel
Around the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese began using Bandel as a port. During or around 1571, they were given permission by Akbar, the Mughal emperor, to build a town in Hooghly. As they began settling around the area, their priests began to baptise the natives. In 1579, the Portuguese built a port on the banks of the Hooghly, as well as a fort  and enlisted the services of a band of Augustinian Friars. The following year, Captain Pedro Tavares obtained the emperor's full permission to preach the Catholic faith publicly and erect church  by 1598.  Catholics in Hooghly numbered around five thousand, including natives and mixed races. 

Thus the Bandel Church came to be constructed in 1599. The Bandel Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in West Bengal, India. It stands as a memorial to the Portuguese settlement in Bengal. The church is dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Our Lady of the Rosary. This first church was burnt down during the sacking of Hooghly by the Moors in 1632. A newer church, constructed by Gomez de Soto (also spelt John Comes de Soto), was built over the ruin in 1660. The keystone of the older church can still be seen on the eastern gate of the monastery. A ship's mast stands in front of the church; it was presented to the church by the captain of a vessel that had encountered a storm in the Bay of Bengal, and its rescue was attributed to Mary. The church has three altars, several tombstones, an organ, and a shrine to Mary. This is indeed an interesting visit worthy site.

Just 4 km from Bandel lies the small town of Bansberia which was once the main port and commercial complex in the area. The place is now famous for  the two Temples of  Ananta Vasudeva and Hangseshwari. The Vasudeva temple is constructed in the traditional ekaratna style with curved cornices and an octagonal tower. there are beautiful terracota (burnt clay) works to be seen on the temple body.  Hangseshwari temple has a unique architectural style with European and Indian mixed influence. There are thirteen minars, each shaped like a lotus bud, and the inner layout follows the human anatomy. Some say that this is due to Tantric  way of rituals.
Infact, some visitors like to compare the domed minarets to be similar to those in St.Petersburg.

Not far from Bandel, we will take you to the Hooghly  Imambara  where you can get a majestic view of the river and surroundings once we climb the gigantic Clock Tower.

Chunchura or Chinsurah 
Although frequented by the Portuguese initially, this later became a Dutch Settlement in 1656. In 1825, the town was exchanged with the British in lieu of holdings in Indonesia. The ruins of Dutch Cemetery and fort evoke a lot of historical nostalgia.

Sreerampur 
This place was a Danish trading location till 1845, when Denmark handed over the holdings to the then British East India Company. Noteworthy visit includes the Sreerampur College which at one point in time housed the largest library in British India. The college was built by Rev. William carey, a Baptist Missionary , in 1818.


Chandannagore

Chandannagar was established as a French colony in 1673. In 1730 Joseph François Dupleix was appointed governor of the city, during whose administration more than two thousand brick houses were erected in the town and a considerable maritime trade was carried on. For a time, Chandannagar was the main center for European commerce in
Bengal. It was governed as part of French India until 1950, under the political control of the governor-general in Pondicherry. Some notable places we will take you to are :

Chandannagore Strand    A beautiful tourist spot along the pavement studded with lights,  surrounded by lushy green trees & you would love to stroll along enjoying the mild breeze and watching the small boats sail by. Along the strand are present Vivekananda Mandir (a meditation centre) and a protruding structure into the river Ganges.

Chandannagore Museum and Institute (Institut de Chandernagor) - A museum boasting of a beautiful collection of French antiques like cannons used in Anglo-French war, wooden furniture of 18th century, etc. The Institute still teaches French through regular classes.

 The Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagar (l'Eglise du Sacré Cœur)-     The church stands for over two centuries to mark the beauty of the architecture during the French period — a good place to visit for the historians and tourists alike. The remains of the Church of St. Louis are also an attractive tourist spot.

 The Underground House (Patal-Bari)-     The building is another beautiful example of the advancement in the knowledge of architecture and the aesthetic sense of the people of those earlier days. Its lowest floor is submerged in the River Ganges.

Nandadulal Temple, built in 1740 presents an excellent example of ancient Indian sculptures.


Diamond Harbour - Earlier known as Hajipur, this charming place was named
Diamond Harbour by the British. It was considered a safe resting spot for ocean going ships and offered a spectacular view of the river. After the Rupnarayan River joins the Hughli, the river bends south and widens out to a form a huge expanse of water. A little further down, the Haldi river joins it. In earlier days Diamond Harbour used to be a stronghold of Portuguese pirates. The ruins of the fort of Chingrikhali can still be seen. It is believed to be linked with the Portuguese but some opine that the East India Company built it before they could establish themselves in Kolkata. There is an old lighthouse nearby.
Raichak - Raichak is located on the bank of the Hooghly river and  is about 15 km from Diamond Harbour. The Dutch had built a fort at Raichak, which is on a river bend, in the 18th century. Following the withdrawal of the Dutch from India, the fort gradually fell into ruins and was converted to a lively 5-star hotel, Radisson Fort (now rechristened Fort Raichak) . The hotel has a scenic view of the river. Those who are more adventurous can make also use the Raichak jetty or the nearby Nurpur jetty and take a ferry across the. A perfect day trip or even a great trip to sleep the night here to enjoy the river in quite leisure.


We conduct two Marvellous Day trips to these locations.


1.
Sreerampur,  Hooghly, Bandel, Bansberia, Chunchura and Chandennagore
 The tour starts at 6.30 in the morning and we end the tour around 5 in the evening. There can however be delays due to road conditions or your willingness to savour the scenery, look at local handicrafts, etc. The trip includes sufficient branded packaged  bottled water,  Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Tea. The journey will be by Air-conditioned vehicle and you will have the services of a local English speaking, knowledgeable &  tourist friendly person to steer the tour for your enjoyment and safety.
Since most of these places are on the bank of the river Hooghly, we can arrange for boat cruises for you too where you can start from Kolkata by air-conditioned vessel and cover these locations.



2. Diamond Harbour & Raichak

 Again a day tour. We start around 8 am after breakfast. We take you to Diamond Harbour where you enjoy the river view. Then we move to Raichak , where we have already booked you at Fort Raichak or similar property. This is an optional  leisure outing where you can get pampered by great massages , splash in the pool or simply laze with a cool drink with the River View for company. We return around 8 pm,  just in time for dinner.
The trip includes sufficient branded packaged  bottled water during travel,  Buffet Lunch and Evening Tea. The journey will be by Air-conditioned vehicle and you will have the services of a local English speaking, knowledgeable &  tourist friendly person to steer the tour for your enjoyment and safety.

Of course you can stay back the night, enjoy the country boat ride or have a romantic dinner by the river side. We will gladly do all we can to make the tour even more enjoyable for you. But we will not call it a Day Tour  then!

Please feel free to get in touch with us for any queries and other related questions.

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