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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