Set off on these adventurous road trips from Kolkata and hone your driving skills by navigating through rugged terrains and challenging routes. By Sushmita Srivastav
Best adventurous road trips from Kolkata –
Kolkata to Pandua, West Bengal
It may be just a two-hour drive from Kolkata, but the huge sand quarry and the maze of medieval ruins make Pandua in Hooghly district a hotspot for road trippers. The rugged undulated terrain here ensures an off-roading adventure. Expect no tarmac-paved paths for the bucolic route here runs wild in all directions, and demands a sturdy 4by4 or ATV. Once done, make sure to visit the towering Pandua Minar and the 13th-century Bari Masjid.
Kolkata to Giridih, Jharkhand
Once a jungle territory of the British Province, Giridih inhabits a wide range of rugged topography that comprises of huge granite hills to small undulating plains to forestlands covered with sal trees. Take the route that takes you through Santiniketan and Madhupur via NH19 and NH114 to foray into red-soil laden roads and later, enjoy a long winding drive uphill. Do visit the 40-feet-tall Usri Falls complemented by its surrounding granite bedrocks and gorge-like site. Patratu Valley nearby is also a must-visit.
Duration of the trip: 6 hours 50 minutes (301 km)
Best time to travel: September to April
Where to stay: Hotel Vrindavan Palace
Where to eat: The hotel has a great in-house multi-cuisine restaurant in place.
Kolkata to Darjeeling, West Bengal
Spread far and wide over a steep mountain ridge, weaved with emerald-green tea estates in Dooars, and towered over by majestic Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is one of the most popular choices for a road trip in West Bengal. Ahead of Siliguri, traverse through the zigzagging lanes, take up gruelling but exciting detours, and navigate through long narrow stretches with steep slopes on either side—but the bumpy ride is totally worth it. Check out colonial architectures, Tibetan monasteries, and the famous 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (or toy train) network in Darjeeling before heading to nearby destinations like Kalimpong, Mirik, and Pelling. It’s better to spread the trip over two days with regular stopovers.
Duration of the trip: 16 hours (618 km)
Best time to travel: October to December; February to April
Where to stay: Mayfair Darjeeling
Where to eat: Darjeeling is well-known as a food destination. Try Kunga for an elaborate Tibetan spread and Glenary’s for its fresh bakes.
Kolkata to Nathu La Pass, Sikkim
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, get behind the wheels to take up the treacherous drive to Nathu La Pass for the high-altitude site branching out of The Old Silk Route in Sikkim is known for its notorious terrain. The first leg of the journey from Kolkata to Gangtok via Siliguri lets you drive along the pristine Teesta River on NH10 and is a rather scenic one, but the roads ahead of Gangtok take you on a thrilling ride that’s nothing short of a whirlwind. At 14,140 feet, Nathu La is reachable only via steep slippery roads and requires a permit from Tourism and Civil Aviation Department. Do visit the alpine Tsomgo Lake and the popular Staircase to Indo-China Border when here. Also, do keep in mind that this is a high-altitude region with low oxygen, so acclimatisation may be required to prevent acute mountain sickness.
Duration of the trip: 19 hours 30 minutes (729 km)
Best time to travel: April to June; October to November
Where to stay: Sterling Gangtok – Orange Village
Where to eat: The Suntaley Chulo at Orange Village is the perfect place to try traditional Nepali delicacies.
So, if you have been on any of these adventurous road trips from Kolkata, share your pictures with us on social media and use the hashtag #TnlRoadTrips.