There are many places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy nature and wildlife. Water-sports, amusement parks and river cruises are also available. India’s oldest Botanical Gardens can be found around 20 kilometers from the heart of town. They are spread over 273 acres and contain over 30,000 varieties of trees and plants. The gardens’ main attraction is the world’s largest banyan tree, 200 years old with over 600 aerial roots.
Nalban is an extremely picturesque 400 acre lake with various kinds of boating activities such as paddle boats and even a hovercraft. Water sports; including water scooter rides, Para-sailing, houseboats, as well as a floating restaurant add to the appeal of this tranquil haven.
Nicco Park is an amusement park housing various attractions and many food-stalls. Located at Salt Lake, it is West Bengals answer to Disneyland. Visitors who want to unwind in style have the opportunity to cruise along the Hoogly River aboard the MV Chitrarekha, visiting historic places including Murshidabad, Chandannagore, Kalna, Belur Math and more en-route. Three-day heritage cruises are organized by the West Bengal Department of Tourism and leave from Outram Ghat jetty.
Ethnic entertainment, designed to celebrate the spirit of India can be seen at the six acre Swabhumi Heritage Park. The country’s rich art, craft, folklore and culture is showcased here. Stilt-walkers, bauls, which is the name for local folk singers, and paan waalas all combine to offer an authentic ethnic experience.
Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary, located 100 kilometers from Kolkata, is where the countless mouths of the Ganges River form the world’s largest delta. A World Heritage Site, it is home to one of the largest tiger populations of any park worldwide. Sighting a tiger requires lots of luck, but the sanctuary also offers bird life, monkeys and wild pigs.