Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A day in Kolkata

When we plan our travels, we try to accommodate maximum number of places in the limited time that we get. So when planning the Bhutan trip, we realized that considering the flight timings, we will have to reach Kolkata/Delhi the day before. With having visited Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, visiting Kolkata would have checked off the 4 metros from my list :)

We boarded the 8:30 am flight from Bangalore to land in Kolkata at around 10:30 am. We had booked a room at Salt Lake City since it was near the airport. We hardly had a day in Kolkata and as per Google trips, that was sufficient to cover the major places in the city! So please consider this blog as a fast track experience of the city. So the final list of places that we planned on visiting was - Victoria's Palace, Howrah Bridge and well that’s about it :P

It was hot and humid so we decided to have a nice lunch and head out post that when the traffic also would have been less. We visited this nice airplane themed restaurant called Fly Kouzina and by the time we were done with lunch, the weather had changed drastically with wet roads and cloudy sky. We booked an Uber to Victoria’s palace and en route we passed via the Esplanade, Park Street and few other landmarks that I have now forgotten :(

The entry fees for the Victoria’s Memorial Gallery is Rs 30 but in case you just want to stroll the gardens then it is Rs 10. If you have the time, I would recommend you visit the gallery as it talks about the history of India before Independence when Bengal was the trade capital and a lot more stories about the kings back in the day. Taking pictures is not allowed inside the gallery and also expect a queue as they let people inside in groups.

The garden is quite awesome, so with the amazing weather, it was quite a delight to walk!

Elliot Park is right next to the Victoria Memorial and here you will find horse drawn carriages that offer a ride around the park. We had a soda sikenji near the park which was truly amazing. Maybe this was the sikenji that Rahul Gandhi referred to which later on went to become coca cola :P
There was a tram stop at the end of the park and we waited there for a while with no luck. Folks around told that multiple tram routes are under repair and a few are making way for the metro! So we took the next best thing in Kolkata - the yellow taxi. We passed via Eden Garden to reach Babughat.

Babughat offers you the view of the Majestic Hoogly river with Vidyasagar Setu on one side and the Howrah Bridge on the other side. While we were waiting for the ferry we tried the local bhel puri variant that our friend had suggested.
After seeing the overcrowded Mumbai Local, Delhi Metro and Chennai Airport, it was time for the over crowded Kolkata ferry!

While on the ferry to Howrah station, we saw a private ferry which seemed to have been hired for someone’s birthday. The view of other buildings reminded me of the Paris ferry ride (no, not comparing Kolkata with Paris). And not to forget the view of Howrah bridge up close :)

From Howrah ferry terminal we walked by the Howrah Railway Station to walk on the bridge. On the way we had the tea which is served in earthen pots. The bridge was over crowded with tourists and hawkers. You get another vantage point of the river from the bridge.

With it being dark we went back to Park Street which looked to be the most happening place in Kolkata with all the brand outlets and eateries. We visited the Cha Bar which was inside an amazing book store. Along with awesome food and tea we also bought the Kolkata fridge magnets and postcards here :) We ended the day with a good Rasgulla from Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick sweet shop!

The next morning as we headed to the airport we saw the Kolkata Time Zone Clock Tower. Incidentally the first place we visited in Bhutan few hours later was the clock tower in Thimphu :) Anyways with that ended the trip of Kolkata.

You might also be interested to read: Trip of Bhutan, Delhi, Mumbai, Exploring Hampi

Credits: Thanks to my wife’s friend Kishan who planned and accompanied us throughout the day.

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