Thursday, June 8, 2023

Shantiniketan to Kol, On way back.





What a wonderfull start to the day , all the sisters and family hanging out in the balcony having tea together, it is early enough temp still ok  to be outdoor, balcony with broken bench time it is 


  after this we will have to scoot indoors and leave by 0930 hours post breakfast, yesterday I did not get my breakfast hopefully today I will have better luck.


The breakfast was passable, the sausage was weird as was the baked beans, so a few piece of toast and eggs it was today and mango.



An hour later we were on our way back to kolkata, the jungle outside the city was interesting and we spend some time there taking in the sight and flying a drone and generally goofing around before we boarded the car and was headed back to Kolkata, 

ETA was t be back by 1500 hours , which meant we would be stopping for lunch en route.



We crossed a place called Shaktigarh, which is famous for Langcha which is a kind of sweet and seeing so many shops selling the same sweet we stopped to have a taste,


 Langcha is made from flour and milk powder by frying it and dipping it in sugar syrup for long time, it originated in barhwan and we were in Budhwan. The home of Langcha. It was too sweet for me and I could have only One before I called it quits. Neither did it taste as amazing as I was hoping it would.



Final stop for the day was at Hotel Nobanno, which was very crowded and a huge setup, airconditioned dhaba has never really worked for me, takes away from the ambiance of the dhaba and gives them license to serve crappy food, knowing the people who comes here are never gonna ask for service,to begin with unlike truck drivers who pay well but actually demand service, the food was not very well cooked, the chicken had no salt the fish not very fresh , a place well worth a miss I would say.

Not too long before we reach back with some wonderfull memory of the trip all said and done.

©  Rajat Ghosh, stock footage / pictures available for licensing.


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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Shantiniketan in the summer - part-01





It’s a family trip, yes its summer and temperature is 43 degrees, No one in their right mind does road trips in this heat, Bengalis as a community love to travel and summer do not hold us back.


My aunt is in Kolkata and planning a trip to shantiniketan for a weekend, hearing about her trip my sister decided to join her, my mom (all of 86, not to be left behind is all for the trip)



Another aunt( they are 4 sisters)  was in Kolkata and she too was game for the trip as was my cousin and his wife, and why would I be left behind so I was on too and my Bro in Law.



Eight of us in two cars are off in the summer heat, to beat the summer heat.

My cousin booked us into the most expensive hotel he could find, presuming it would be a good enough place as we would possibly be spending most of the time in the hotel in there café or in our rooms, (what a bad choice as we would realize)



Morning 0700 hours lo behold it really happened and we were on out way, so many of us all ready and raring to go.  We would be reaching in 5 hours time according to Google.

We chose a path to Bolpur that goes via ILAMBAZAR as we would be missing the rail tracks famous for long traffic snare as the rail gate could stay closed for long and people tend to double track and cause jams, we stopped en route at Singur seeing signage of KFC, we would gorge on some chicken wings and popcorn chicken for breakfast, but no such luck as it was not operational at 0900 hours, 


 SO this was the breakfast place: 

and we had dosa and fresh lime at the restaurant right next door, they had a good bathroom for the ladies, in spite of " toilets for all" initiative, The travellers and roadways seem to have been overlooked,Hope our Roadways minister takes note of this.

  Hopefully the next initiative for the government, after all we all do vote, and notice where our tax money are spend.

Resources on this highway are very less in spite of heavy traffic that we seemed to encounter along the way.


Road to the property

We reached as planned by 1330 hours and the hotel sent a waiter to show us the way to parking, The hotel sadly has no parking for more then 2 car, length of driveway, very cramped and the building looked under construction (that’s the décor), the last 200 meters is a road just wide enough for a car to go even a bicycle from opposite side would cause traffic chaos we were in a Tata Nexon and KIa Seltos, and almost ready to scrape side of the walls along the way.


The property exterior
the room

The accommodation was ok; the place seemed to resemble a huge flat with a hall on ground floor (which is the café) and 4 rooms on top, no elevator so climbing up the only way up. I was not too impressed as yet.



The food menu had no Indian fare so we had to go out for lunch, 

In land of Rabindranath Tagore there is no Indian food in a premium hotel, the colonial worshipping mindset is still alive, how ironic is that.

 salad for lunch really!  cant really say I am getting impressed! do I really want to visit this place? HMMM NO a big NO ,  and we trooped out for lunch once more the temperature was 43 degrees as promised. I am ready to cut out of this hotel but decided to stay put and see what else lay in front of us, how much worse can it get? AMOLI is the name of the Hotel if you are curious.


This day post a siesta we went out to Sona Jhuri the SATurday local artisian market famous for  shopping and we headed out by 1650 hours, the market operates by daylight alone, no artificial lights are allowed here so by 1745 the market was shut and we had an hour to interact with the artisans and buy some fare.

Evening we planned to stay in and watch some TV and eat in, but sadly no TV was working and the staff believed the reason for such sorry state of affair is the fact no one watches TV who visits this place.  in that case I think not many people visited this place (we had gotten the rooms in few day notice) and IPL has just finished, hard to imagine no one watches the biggest cricket bonanza of India and possibly the world.  

Anyway raising a hue and cry we were able to get the TV recharged and working, so much for fancy Rs 7000.00 per night rooms, what a rip off.




The next day early morning was cloudy and we had a good mind to escape the heat n leave the city of Shantiniketan but presence of some wonderful friends Bonny and Ida stopped me and we met up for breakfast at THE MUD HOUSE a delightful place down the street with wonderful décor and friendly service for breakfast.

Eggs and bread and coffee was on the menu

Breakfast for Three was Rs 350



Previous night we had dinner here menu was:

Mutton/ chicken/ dal/ rice/ roti/veggies/ kulfi/ freshlime soda all together cost only Rs 2000 for 8 people,sorry no pictures as we were too hungry to make images before eating.

Evening on this day was spend at my friend Rick, Ida and Bonny’s house. Rik and me have ridden to the North east a few years back, Sikkim .



we had a wonderful dinner with them at there house and then  we drove around the city of Shantiniketan and took in the sights of this place in the evening, on his 1964 jeep, restored painstakingly to the original condition,




Riding shotgun on the front seat of the jeep was my mom at 86 years old was just too cool, and sarbari, me and Ida brought up the rear as we drove around the city looking and taking in the sights .



©  Rajat Ghosh, stock footage / pictures available for licensing





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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Tata-Kolkata and Potato Cutlets on the way


We are headed to Kolkata, a 300 odd km run, to be completed in Six hours approx, though with conditions of road being so much better,,, maybe we can do it in Five hours as standard speeds on highway are 80kmph and we will driving though 250 km of highway and barring a few slow down well we would make it in good time, and paying approx Rs 500 in Tolls.

My co-passenger on this trip is my mom aged 86 and aunt aged 80  so adding my 50+ years there is 210+ years travelling on this trip.

We were off at approx. 0630hours, and as we started out I noticed a check engine light on for longer then it should be, but it went off in no time and we made good time to Behraghora, we refueled 80 km from Jamshedpur, fuel is 5 Rs cheaper in Jharkhand compared to West Bengal and we wanted to make most of the difference in price.


The petrol pump attendent and me had a chat( while fuelling up)  about her getting into Army and how she could do so, and what help she would require, not that she asked for any help as she is trying to do it on merit and by herself her grandpa was in air force and she seemed like a tough cookie, and am sure she will crack the exam (if anyone has any advice please share)

We crossed Behraghora and another 20 km later we stopped at the last tree that gives shade on this road and once we cross this tree located outside the Behragora Police station there is no shady tree for another 50 km almost. The check engine light was on again and we stopped to have breakfast and give the car a rest for 15 minutes, we looked around a bit and chilled for a while





Then we were on our way again, the check engine light was still on( maybe I should have chilled for another 10 minutes), I did not want to mention this to my Mom who was on this trip with me, and her sister both in there Eighty’s, so another 30 km later I pulled over in name of having tea, I had spied a tea shanty and a tree off the road, so we stopped again to cool the car .

and of course me had to eat some Potato cutlets Piping hot and looked fresh, we discussed the effects of Rs 2000 having to be returned and so on, with customers( you guessed it right we are in West Bengal), where all are very wise,  a good 20 minutes break this was.  The cost of 3 cups of tea and 2 Potato cutlet was a princely Rs 25, yes .30 USD

Before we started on and thankfully the light did not return and we made it to New Town, my sister’s house by 1230 hours, we had made it in 6 hours approx. and total distance covered 310km, fuel consumed at average of 16.6km to a liter.





Temperature in Kolkata is 35 degrees, overcast and now to take care of my Sugar craving with a Ice Cream.

 Road condition excellent, and average speed is 80 - 100/km per hour ( as posted on highway)

Next trip will be to Shantiniketan in a weeks time will then to relax and eat in Kolkata.


©  Rajat Ghosh, stock footage / pictures available for licensing

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