MurshidabadA flourishing trade town during the early years of British rule, Murshidabad is a must-visit for the history buff. Situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi, Murshidabad is home to the Hazarduari - or Palace of a 1000 doors), which has been converted into a museum that houses memorabilia associated with Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah. Visit Nimak Haram Deori or Traitor's Gate, where the nawab was assassinated, his resting place Khushbagh, and the ruined Katra Mosque.
AntpurFor a glimpse of 18th century temples, visit Antpur in Hooghly district. Built by zamindar Krishnaram Mitra, the temples include ones dedicated to Jaleshwar, Baneshwar, Fuleshwar and Gangadhar. The main draw here is the Radha Govind temple with its covered courtyard and terracotta panels.
How to get there: Buses are available from Calcutta
BansberiaOn the temple trail, catch the shrines dedicated to Ananta Vasudev and Hanseshwari in Bansberia. The Hanseshwari temple deserves special mention for its architecture - it has 13 lotus bud-shaped minars and its inner precincts follow the design of the human anatomy.
How to get there: Buses and trains are available from Calcutta
BandelA tiny factory town in Hooghly, Bandel was once a Portuguese settlement. The Portuguese Church here is worth a dekko - it is the oldest church in West Bengal, dating back to 1599! The church and monastery were destroyed in 1640, and rebuilt twenty years later.
How to get there: Trains are available from Calcutta
ShantiniketanThe traditional school founded by Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan is a place that will satisfy the artist in every tourist. The Uttarayan Complex here, where Tagore lived, has a museum and art gallery. You can also drop by Vishwa Bharati University, a centre of international studies.
How to get there: Take the train or travel by road from Calcutta. The nearest railway station is Bolpur.