Day trips from Kolkata: Five destinations inspired by literature and art

NITN | @notintownlive | 29 Dec 2023, 11:47 am

Day trips from Kolkata: Five destinations inspired by literature and art Winter Travel

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

Are you on the lookout for a day trip from the city during the year-end holidays, away from crowded attractions?

Then these five destinations listed here may be your answer, especially if you have kids in tow.

Associated with the memories of Bengal’s leading litterateurs and artists, the museums and art villages are not only picturesque locations by themselves but also offer a deeper look into the life and times of these illustrious people.


Image credit: Wikimedia CommonsImage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kanthalpara, a neighbourhood of Naihati (a little over 40km from Kolkata), is where the creator of Vande Mataram, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay (1838-1894) was born.

A part of the sprawling homestead has been opened for the public as a museum and library since 1954. There are several galleries displaying the author’s articles of daily use, furniture, photographs of his family members and information about the poem and song Vande Mataram.

You may also visit the RadhaBallav Jiu temple, which belonged to the author’s family.

Note: The museum is closed on Saturdays, Mondays and government holidays. On other days, it is open from 10am to 5pm. Ticketed entry. Check for photography permission. Washroom facility available.


Image credit: Wikimedia CommonsImage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not far from Bandel (a little over 50km from Kolkata by road; the town known for its Portuguese legacy), is Debanandapur, the birthplace of Bengal’s famous author Saratchandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938).

The author lived here for a limited period and the house was sold to a private buyer. According to local people, parts of the original building had been altered by the later occupants till the house was acquired by the state government, restored as far as possible and preserved for posterity.

Next to the building is a museum and library. The museum galleries display the author’s articles of daily use, photographs, copies of manuscripts and letters, furniture, etc.

Note: The museum is closed on second and fourth Saturdays, all Sundays and government holidays. There is no entry fee. Photography is prohibited.


Image credit: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia CommonsImage credit: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Deulti, a little over 60km by road from Kolkata, is the gateway to Samtaber village. A black tar road will lead you to a verdant corner of the village where you will come across a quaint building where Saratchandra Chattopadhyay lived for 12 years. 

The two-storeyed building with long corridors, built in 1923, was the author’s home where he penned some of his most popular works. Now it houses a small museum showcasing everyday objects used by the author.

A lane next to the house leads to the bank of the Rupnarayan River.  Along with the museum, you may also visit the 17th century terracotta-built Madangopal Temple.

Note: There is no entry fee. Usually the caretakers are around and may take you through the building on request. Tourist facilities are scarce. Nirala Resort, a budget hotel with a restaurant, is your best bet for meals (have to be ordered in advance) and washroom.


Image credit: Wikimedia CommonsImage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Much has changed since the time when famous painter Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) spent his childhood at the garden house here. But it is not difficult to imagine the beauty of the riverside bungalow surrounded by a garden which the painter had written about in his autobiography.

Located about 20km away by road from Kolkata, along the Grand Trunk Road, is Konnagar, a busy commercial township.

The property was originally owned by his father Gunendranath Tagore (a cousin of poet Rabindranath Tagore) and was often visited by other members of the family from Kolkata.

The house and its surroundings were inspirations for Abanindranath’s initial artistic zeal. According to him, it was here that he first learned to draw the thatched roofed Bengal hut against his earlier training of copying English cottages.

The refurbished building, much altered, now houses copies of Abanindranath’s paintings.

While you are there, you may also drop in at the ancestral home of Rishi Aurobindo.

Notee: The garden house is open on all days of the week, from 10am to 5pm. Ticketed entry. Check for photography permission.


Image credit: Ranajit Raut/FacebookImage credit: Ranajit Raut/Facebook

Tucked inside the Dhandahli Anchal neighbourhood of Uluberia, a commercial township about 43km away by road from Kolkata is a newly built art village dedicated to artist, poet and author, and film director Purnendu Pattrea (1931-1997).

Named Purnendu Smriti Shilpagram, it has been developed by artist, poet and teacher Ranajit Raut, who has been a die-hard follower of Pattrea.

Located inside a sprawling landscaped garden, the two-storeyed museum showcases a mix of artistic works by Pattrea himself and present day artists who draw inspiration from him. There is also a fair collection of books authored by the late artist.

The garden itself has been designed like an open-air gallery with installation arts and thematic creations.

Note: To fund the project, the art village runs a small but comfortable homestay as well as a picnic area. With prior arrangements, they can also serve home-cooked meals for day visitors. You may also combine a visit to the art village while on a trip to the popular tourist destination of Garchumuk.

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