Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ratanpur Fort and Kutaghat Dam,Chhattisgarh

First Gate

Ratanpur is a tiny town some 25 km from Bilaspur.Last sunday we made a trip there.Me and siddharth started off from our hostel in Tamnar at 4 30am.We reached Raigarh,had our breakfast then boarded the Azad Hind Express at 7am.We reached Bilaspur at sharp 9am.There Pruthvi and Amit joined us and by 9 40am we were off in our hired indica.After 45 monutes or so we reached near the Kaal Bhairav Temple which comes a little before Ratanpur.This temple is believed to be a Tantric centre.Here we stopped for 15 minutes and Pruthvi,Siddharth and Amit went inside the temple while i stolled around on the road taking in the village sights.After their visit we started off again and reached the main Mahamaya Temple at Ratanpur at around half past ten.Again the three of them went and I had a look around.

Third Gate
        Next on our list was the Fort,the Hathi Qila built by King Prithvi Deva.This fort is near the old bus stand of Ratanpur.It is much better than what is described in the various sites on the internet.The main entrance is a simple structure having a doorway which leads to another gateway.This second gate has some scupltures which the tourism dept brochure describes as Ravana performing Yajana with various gods.From here we moved inside.The area of the fort is moderate, quite more than what one would expect given the vague descriptions on the internet.The fort area is maintained nicely with grass neatly cut and clear footways.We came across a fountain with four paths leading away from it.It is beautiful and one of the paths leads to a building which is in ruins.This is one of the three Rajmahals inside.The other two are no way better off than this one.We wandered around and came to the end where the third gate is.The whole fort is surrounded by water bodies.Two paths cut across which lead to the first and the third gate.
Near one of the Rajmahals some digging was going on and on asking we found out that Archeological Society of India was responsible for it.We started a conversation with one of them.Gauging our interest one of them gave us some ASI Brochures of other places nearby.Mr Neeraj was happy talking with us and gave us some useful info regarding the buildings inside the fort and other areas.The fort can be covered by keeping to the path on the right.It will make a circle around the fort and ends again near the first gate.
We were inside the fort complex for around 2 hours and leisurely covered everything.
Next on our list was the Kutaghat Dam just 10kms ahead.The dam itself is nothing spectacular.Its a storage dam.Good for a picnic.There is facility for a stay overnight.
Next was a visit to the Badal mahal in the small historic town Juna.To reach Juna you have to take a left turn while coming from bilaspur to ratanpur which leads to Kota on the way to Amarkantak.The fort i s totally in ruins with only 4 of the 7 storeys still standing.There are some small pillars which are the only recognizable feature.It is said that King Rajasimha constructed this mahal for his queen Kajra Devi.It is an example of kalachuri Architecture.
Badal Mahal at Juna

Kutaghat Dam
Third Gate

Staying Facilities at Kutaghat Dam
Ratanpur(25km from Bilaspur)
What to see- Hathi Qila (Fort) and Badal Mahal at Juna
And Kutaghat Dam
Car Rental services we used- Maa Travels
Total trip cost us Rs1300.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cycling in the Countryside.

Cycling is one of those activities which excites and relaxes at the same time.Also its ideal for taking in the atmosphere of a place.You get to move slowly and have a look at the surroundings.You dont have to worry about parking or license or fuel.Two months back I bought myself a Hero CityBike Neon.I use it to commute to my work site.Up until this sunday I didnt get a chance to take it out for a ride in the countryside.
This sunday I did and I took it for a ride.As it is winter I covered myself in a sweater,a jacket,a pair of gloves,a beanie and a double pair of socks just make sure I don't catch any cold.And then I took out my cycle and out I went for the much awaited trip.The morning was chilly with fog all around,I could see just a couple of 100 metres ahead. I went as far as 3kms before I decided to stop by a small stream.Here I sat down on a boulder and looked around.The birds were chirping,the stream was calm,the water moving smoothly down stream.I tucked my hands inside of my jacket and for some time played around with the vapour my breath was producing as I exhaled.I sat idly watching the few villagers who were outside and going to their work.After sometime I had a thought that it would be perfect to call up a friend and have a chat in these calm and peaceful surroundings and decided to call shoaib as he would be the only one who would be awake so early on a sunday morning.We talked for sometime and then I hung up and soon I started my return.I stopped by a roadside bandi and had hot local bada(vada).Then I was back to my room having successfully completed my first cycle venture outside the plant.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


There are two kinds of small hillstations in India,the normal ones and the underrated ones.Mainpat falls in the latter type.With green slopes,beautiful valleys,gently flowing brooks,unexplored waterfalls,virgin forests and the scope it offers for exploration Mainpat is a gem of a hillstation still hidden from the public.A Tibetan settlement here only adds to the charms of this place and offers an excellent chance to interact with a different culture.It doesn't feel like Chhattisgarh when you are in Mainpat area.Granted this happens only during the rainy and winter season.But it will mesmerize you like it did to me when I visited it with my friends last month.Here is the full account

Full account
    On Sunday 7 of  2013, we set out for Mainpat in two Scorpios.We were a group of 14.(As an aside look at the diversity we had.Out of 14,seven people were Telugu speaking,three were Bengali,one was Marathi,one was Odiya,one was Malayalam and myself Urdu) We started out at 7am in the morning from Tamnar.(40km from raigarh, in the north)We had our breakfast in the town of Lailunga.It has nothing much to offer but samosas and Badas to eat.we had to ascend a mountain and then descend before we reached lailunga.There are some good views en route.We again made a stop in Pathalgaon which is a big town.I was quite surprised to find a big town like this in these parts.After reaching Sitapur,on the Ambikapur Highway,we made a detour towards Mainpat.
The first point to visit is the tiger point so called because tigers were spotted here long time back.
Tiger Point
There is a waterfall here which drops from the road level to some 10m down.While driving on the main road some 20km before the town of Kamleswarpur,a road branches off into the jungle.This will lead you to tiger point.This point offers some good views. Theres a small check dam also here.There are steps to take you to the bottom of the fall.Those were very slippery on account of the algae that was formed.Anyway the view of the falls as you descend down the stairs is great!
We got down to the base and sat on the rocks for some time.Ashwin and myself decide to go downstream and reach an area where we could find the darkness of he jungle but the algae on the rocks prevented our progress after some distance.We had quite a few near misses and falls while moving over the rocks.I got a small bruise on my elbow when I slipped and fell.It was nothing compared to what Ashwin experienced though he did not get an injury,he fell head first into a pool of water.He was crossing a part of the stream with the help of a branch of a tree when it broke off and took him head first into the water with his whole body following quickly.Since we all bought an extra pair of clothes it didn't prove to be much of a problem.
Tiger Point downstream

From here we moved on to our next point.I was very much interested in visiting the Tibetian settlements around here.Yes,you read it right theres one right here in Chhattisgarh.Back around the time of independence and after when the tibetians were being given refuge in India some of them settled in these 1000 MSL high areas finding it somewhat similar to their homelands.(when compared to the plains)

As we were on moving on in our car a slight drizzle started and the surroundings presented view after view of breathtaking landscapes.The green what-looked-like-unending slopes with small brooks flowing and inter spread with bright green bushes here and there made the whole area look right out of an English countryside.Everyone in the car was going 'aaah' 'oooh' ' kya to be hai' and cameras clicked away.We stopped the car many times took pics,took in the views and slowly progressed.We took many wrong turns but all proved fruitful as we only found better views in them.One thing to note here is if you have a doubt regarding which road to take better wait for someone to come and then ask them.Density of people here is less and if you take a wrong turn it will be miles before you find out about your mistake.
 We then passed by a Buddhist inspired restaurant It was closed I think when we approached.On the opposite side a dirt road leads to Camp no.2 of the Tibetan settlement.The settlement is beautiful with small quaint cottages spread around dotted with a few brick buildings.Perfect for a stroll.Some of us took one and walked around the camp.We found a Tibetan restaurant inside.
We called up everyone and decided to have our lunch here itself.We had momos,thokpos and some other dishes whose names I don't remember.All were delicious and when we had our fill we moved out.Some of us stuck up small conversations with some Tibetans and got to know about the history of the place.They found the place peaceful and were living a content life.Most of them were second generation Tibetans. I especially wanted to interact with an old woman who was sitting in the restaurant but she was reluctant to talk so we dropped out queries after the first few tries.
The signboard towards camp2 restaurant
    Next on the plan was the Monastery.We asked around for the directions and soon reached it.While going we passed by the only private resort here,The mercury resort.Originally we had planned to visit it but owing to time constraints we dropped the idea.We visited the monastery.It was very beautiful to look at.while we were
Camp 2
wandering around pondering whether it was allowed to go inside or not, a monk in all his robes quietly came out from a nearby building and opened the doors presumably for us.We went in.There were pictures all around the walls.There was a dalai lama statue near the central wall.we looked around and then had a small chat with the monk.He was from Himachal Pradesh and was staying there for the past one year.So he had not much idea about the locals.After this brief chat we bid goodbye to him and set off for the next point,the fish point.

Fish Point
We took many wrong turns before we reached the falls.The route passes by the Chhattisgarh Govt resort.This area is called the fish point because of a particular type of fish found here.As we were reaching here just some distance from it we met a group of travelers returning from it.Their car was stuck in the mud and they were trapped here for the last four hours.Fortunately for them we came at just the right time.It was evening and they were beginning to get scared about the failing light.We got down to help them.Soon we realized that if we continued helping them none of us would the chance to see the falls.
So we made groups and while some helped them some set off towards the falls.I was among the first group of people to go.We could hear a distinct sound of water splashing,so we headed in that direction.We found an opening in the bushes and reached the area where the water falls off the cliff.We were at the top area.We sat here for a while enjoying the view and then set off to find a path that would lead us to the bottom where we could see the whole falls.We searched a lot bit were unable to find a safe way. Thats the beauty of this place it is still unexplored and  you can still experiment with the paths and views here.Just a little ahead the valley takes a turn and the views here are spellbinding.I just stood there imagining how nice it would be set up a table right at that spot,sit around and drink coffee.I made a mental note to return to this place with better equipment and explore the region.The light was failing and we knew the dangers of being left behind in the dark there with no proper mobile network.So we quickly hastened our steps and made our way back to the car.We headed back to the main road but not before we made a wrong turn and that took us to yet another place which offered excellent views of the countryside.Two people returning back from work saved us the trouble by guiding us correctly back to the main road.From there we started off on our return journey.We had our dinner in Pathalgaon in a restaurant near the bus stand.It wasn't good but enough to fill our hungry stomachs.By 10pm we reached our hostel in tamnar and that was the end to our visit to the underestimated Mainpat.

The Tibetan Restaurant in Camp 2

In Brief 
Mainpat is 178km from Raigarh and 80km from Ambikapur.
Best time to visit is in the monsoon season and winter season.
Staying options include the privately owned Mercury Resorts and a Govt owned Resort.
A car can be booked from Raigarh.It costs around Rs3000 - Rs4500.People here genrally charge Rs11 per km here.Buses ply between Ambikapur and Raigarh but they are largely unreliable and not comfortable.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hirakud Dam,Sambalpur,Orissa

Late one night as I was thinking about my impending joining in the company I got placed in,the advice I received from my seniors and cousins started flowing in my mind.They all told the same thing.Enjoy now itself, after starting on a job there won't be much time to enjoy.These words kept on swirling in my mind and at that instance I decided to go on a last trip somewhere nearby before joining.I suggested this to satya and ashwin who readily agreed but abhishek and dido had some work and they declined.
It was 2am in the night when we decided to go to Sambalpur to see the Hirakud Dam.We booked the morning 4 45am bus from Tamnar(our place) to Raigarh and checked out the trains to sambalpur.
I did not sleep the whole night and at 4 30am we started out.We took the bus to raigarh,had our breakfast there and took the Hirakud express,which to our convenience was running late.We reached sambalpur by 10am.Ouside the railway station,as we were discussing our next move,we met a affable auto driver who readily agreed to take us to the Hirakud dam for a reasonable price.We accepted his offer and engaged his auto.Sambalpur is a sleepy town with some big industries around the dam region.It also has british era buildings which I very badly wanted to see but couldn't.We reached the dam after a good 20 mins of ride.The place looked deserted.It had do with the blazing sun above. Obviously we had come at a wrong time.
          As we approach by road we reach one end of the dam.You can have a look towards the catchment area but this side doesn't afford many views.The road on top of the dam is out of limits for tourists.There is
a view point on the right side which has a small hill.Special four wheeled autos take people there.We chose not to go.We looked around for some time in the small building which has a plaque and some other bits of info and then our auto driver told us he would take us another area which was near
to the dam gates.We went there.Bribing the security guard there you can enter the small gate and have a look at the big gates from the side wall.After getting down to near the water and taking some pics we decided to go back.The place has nothing to offer to the casual visitor.Only if you are interested in dams is this place good to visit.We then went to the 'Hong Kong Restaurant' where we had some good sea food.Again in the afternoon the Hirakud Express was running late and this was again to our convenience and we boarded it to reach Raigarh by evening,We reached back to our rooms by night time.And I was now satisfied
that I could start my job without any regrets at least for the time being.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trip to Konark and Puri,Orissa. Day Two.

We got up early the next day and went to the beach which was close to where we were staying.It was 5am in the morning and even at that time there were many people on the beach.It was evident that the sunrise here was famous and worth your time.We spotted the light of a lighthouse in the distance and Ashwin suggested that we go there.We agreed and started walking towards it.On the way we came across anxiously waiting families not wanting to miss the event,sand artists starting there work and mounds of garbage thrown there right on the beach.
Carefully avoiding all these we soon reached nearby the lighthouse where we were disappointed to realize that it was not on the beach as we anticipated but across the road among some buildings.we decided to remain on the beach though Ashwin later went and saw that it was closed.We made a note to visit it in the evening when it would be open.By the time we reached here it was time for the sunrise.I could see streaks of light slowly illuminating the sky and we waited with our cameras ready but to our dismay there were clouds in the distance and the sun rise was covered by them.After sometime everyone left to visit the Lord Jagannath Temple and I remained back at the beach.I walked around clicking pics and observing the people.I spotted a tea shop  with some chairs around and went there and ordered a tea.The tea tasted bitter but the atmosphere was great.The wind caressing my hair and cheeks,the mild warmth of the sun,and bitter yet refreshing taste of the tea made the moment unforgettable.
                       It was 9am when i made my way back to the hotel and by that time abhishek,ravi,ashwin and satya also came back.We had breakfast at a nearby hotel.while we were eating we saw a procession of people holding a string of beads called a harimala in one hand and a small bag containing what I dont know in the other.Most of the people were foreigners.There were kids too in them.The procession was huge and all of them were chanting and this scene reminded me of the fact that Puri is one of India's biggest spiritual centers and is among the seven holiest places in India.After the breakfast we went back to the hotel to take a short nap.At around 11am we got up and changed into our beach wear.Wearing no footwear we walked around the streets.This was the best moment of this trip for me.Nobody gave us a second look as there were many people doing this.Many people were walking towards the beach and on the busy road i could see many cars arriving with more tourists.As it was sunday the crowd on the beach was huge.I spotted a foreign couple taking a surfboard with them.Soon we reached the beach and moved towards a place where there were relatively less people.We ran towards the water and started jumping and screaming as soon as we touched it.We moved in and the waves started beating down upon us and it was exhilarating. This was my third beach visit after Vishakapatnam and Machilipatnam.Even then the fun was no different.Ashwin didn't join us preferring to stay in the hotel than come and get wet in the water.He became the butt of our jokes for the rest of the trip for this decision.
                        After reluctantly getting out of the waters it was time for lunch.We went to a Bengali Restaurant (Looked as if more than half the population of puri is bengali) called 'Dadi Boudi'.We had some authentic bengali food consisting of different types of fish and prawns.After lunch ravi and abhishek went back to the hotel to get some more sleep while satya,ashwin and myself decided to go to the Lighthouse.We walked there and found that there was still an hour to go before it opens.We spotted a tent and three chairs below it on the beach nearby and made our way there to spend the waiting time.
We interrupted the discussion going on between the two guys who were sitting there and asked about the fare.One of them said its Rs30 per chair per hour.We bargained and in the end got Rs10 for each for the hour.We sat down under the shade.We talked among ourselves while looking over at the sea and it felt good.Soon the time was up and we went to the Lighthouse.It opened just as we went and apart from ourselves there was a middle aged man with his daughter with him.We took the tickets and ascended the spiral staircase and reached the top.We had a look at the modern light Emitting Bulb.We took pics at the top and took in the views it had to offer.After that others joined us and we went shopping in the colourful beach market.I bought a bag for my sister and a Konark wheel which i got for a very low price of Rs20.Others all bought somethings and soon we went back to the hotel as we had a 8pm train to catch.We took parcels of food from a nearby hotel and had our dinner on the train.Thus came to an end my first visit to Orissa.
Note- the Lighthouse is open only in the Evening from 4pm to 5pm.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Trip to Konark and Puri,Orissa. Day One

The lure of visiting a new state,the mystery surrounding the konark temple and the cool beaches of Puri,these were the reasons I decided to make a trip to Orissa with my friends.After much planning Abhishek,Raviteja,Satya,Ashwin and myself found ourselves on the railway station of Raigarh. We took the Raja Rani Express and reached Bhubaneshwar the next day at 7 in the morning.
         I was impressed with the Bhubaneshwar railway station.It looked swanky and clean and add to that it was not crowded.We proceeded to the 11th century Lingaraja temple through an auto we hired.En route I had a look at the city.It looked quite spacious and open.I don't know if it was the route we took or its really the case but it did not look like other Indian cities,congested and crowded.Our stop at the state museum turned out to be a dissapointment as it was closed that day.Cursing my luck(as others were anyway not interested) we moved on to the temple.Here everyone left for the puja meanwhile I roamed the streets surrounding the temple.I found a very different atmosphere here.There was big pond nearby and I walked on the road sourrounding it.Pandas draped in saffron were walking around here and there.People were taking dips in the pond.All around me I could see everyone was related to the temple.It was getting very hot and sweat began to drip from my forehead and I made my way back and sat in a nearby juice stall and ordered a maosambi juice,my favorite.As I was sipping my juice my friends came back breathlessly praising the temple architecture inside.I saw the photos which they took secretly(yes,its not allowed).I nodded my head in agreement after seeing the pics.It was really good.Meanwhile everyone ordered some juices and after quenching our thirst,we decided on our next course of plan.
           We decided to go to Konark in the afternoon.After asking around we first decided to board a bus to Konark but having reached the place where we could get the bus we changed our mind when we were approached by a guy telling us that he can take us to Konark with Rs800.We bargained hard with him and finally settled on Rs500.We boarded the mini van at around 1pm and off we went.We didn't regret our decision as the sun overhead was beating down on us unbearably and even in that van we were mighty uncomfortable with the heat.Along the way we had a look at the Orissa countryside.Its just like other parts of India,nothing indistinguishable.I noticed that every village en route had a state bank branch and an
ATM.That was good.contrary to what I keep hearing from people in Orissa that there is no development in the state, I found this quite uplifting.There was some development in the touristy sides atleast,I don't know about other parts. We reached Konark at around 2pm.We had some stops in the middle.The van wala dropped us at some distance from the temple saying that automobiles were not allowed any further.We strolled through the road leading to the temple.There were a number of shops selling small souvenirs.We bought none thinking we would buy something while returning.Later I would regret this decision.
At first look the Konark doesn't impress you at least it didn't to me.As I moved slowly towards it and around it I could slowly comprehend the gigantic task the King Narsimhadeva 2 the one who built this, undertook.
The moment I saw the Konark wheel there was this rush of excitement just like that Gol Gumbaz moment i had in Bijapur.Karnataka.I have been reading and seeing pictures about this wheel from my childhood and to now stand in front of it in person was a good feeling.
We slowly walked around the whole structure and had a close look at the walls.Before coming here as part of the research I did on the temple I found a very good description mentioning some unique and unusual sculptures found here.There is a Chinese women,a Tibetian monk and a giraffe(which is an animal unique in Africa and not found in India).We couldn't find any of them.As the writer of that article correctly suggested taking a guide is a must if you want see the above mentioned sculptures and also for more anecdotes and information.We abandoned our search for these after sometime and took some pics.And then we did what I always insist on doing at these kind of monuments.Sit somewhere and watch the whole thing from a distance.Also Konark is a World Heritage Sight.It deserves your respect.Soon it was evening and we still had to go to Puri before night time  We asked around and an auto wala took us to the tiny and open bustand of Konark. From here we boarded a small bus to Puri. This was the worst part of the whole trip.The conductor shoved in so many people that I couldn't breathe properly.Thankfully we all got seats to sit.That was the only relief.It took the guy an hour and 15 minutes to cover a distance of 30km. I was angry and upset by all this but everything changed the moment I saw the Puri beach in front of us.The sound of the water was like music to my ears.There were so many people on the beach and on the roads.This was a welcome change.We soon checked in our hotel and went out on a walk.Everything looked so full of energy.People were buying stuff from the roadside shops,there were mouth watering food stalls,souvenir shops,little kids excitedly running towards the water,frantic parents running after them,couples lost in their own world and guy gangs like ourselves laughing.We strolled along the road along the beach until we found a nice open air restuarant. We went in and having made up my mind to eat only seafood on this trip I ordered chilli prawn curry and rice.The food was finger licking good and the great atmosphere with the sound of waves crashing and the people talking over it soothed my mind and any traces of anger resulting from that bus ride finally gave away and I was in a totally upbeat mood now.After the dinner we walked back to our hotel and tucked in for the night.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

In Review : 2012

I know this is late for a year review but I will proceed anyway.Last year was quite good for me.I visited places in four states in India.
The Gol Gumbaz
           Back in march last year I visited one of India's most underestimated and unappreciated places, Bijapur in Karnataka.The Gol Gumbaz rates as one of the most awe inspiring monuments I have seen in my life.The size and grandeur of the Gumbaz is huge and magnificent.Along with the Gumbaz the huge Jama Masjid,the huge Canon,the huge fort all make an exciting journey to Bijapur

Geographical Center of India
          Next in August I went to Nagpur in Maharashtra for writing an exam.Writing an exam did not held me back from doing as much as sight seeing as possible.Armed with printouts of routes to take from my hotel I covered some significant places like the Geographical centre of India and the Small but interesting museum  Nagpur has nothing else to offer except these two.There are malls,movie theatres and amusement parks but by know you may be knowing i am not the kind to go to those.
Singhanpur Caves

          Next in August I moved to Raigarh, Chhattisgarh to pursue my PG in Thermal Power Plant Technology in Jindal Institute of Technology.A whole new exciting and unexplored state was calling me and I promptly responded by making my first trip to the Singhanpur Caves near Raigarh.The climb to the top of the mountain where the caves were,was awesome and my eventual trip report about it was appreciated in the Indiamike forum cause its still unknown among many.Next I went the Mahanadi to have fun in the river.The place was beautiful.
River Mahanadi

Indian Coffee House,Kolkatta
           In December I went to Kolkatta,WestBengal with Abhishek. This was my second visit to the city of thinkers and artists and this trip was to meet deepanjan,my childhood friend who moved to Kolkata.We met, we roamed the streets of Kolkata,we ate the street food,spent time in the gardens of Victoria Memorial,tried lots of different types of fish dishes and all in all it was an awesome end to the year.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Kolkata,The City of Joy

This was my second visit to Kolkata.The first one was back in my second year of Engineering when my dad took me there and from where we went on to Agartala.This time I had Abhishek and Deepanjan,Bengalis themselves to help me.
The plan to go to Kolkata was spontaneous.It emerged from the fact that we had five holidays ahead of us and our plans to go to Orissa coudn't materialise properly with a number people dropping off from it. So abhishek and me,having decided that is was a long time since we had met our friend deepanjan, decided to go to Kolkata.So within an hour ,we packed our bags and off we went.Luckily for us, a group of abhishek's friends were going to Kolkata the same night and we joined them.We took two general tickets and in the train we bought sleeper clas tickets from the TC and adjusted with abhishek's friends.A million thanks to them.We took the 8 30pm Howra Mail from Raigarh.
We reached kolkata the next morning at 7 30 am.We said our goodbyes to abhishek's friends and started looking for a hotel around the howrah station.We got a decent hotel nearby.We then called deepanjan and around 10 am he arrived .All that while we were strolling on the British era Howrah Bridge.Here we had a small discussion about the days plan and firstly decided to go to the Esplanade area.So accordingly we boarded a ferry across the River Hoogly to Babughat.From there we walked past the Eden gardens,the maidan and then finally reached the college street and the new market area.We had hot kati rolls here and from there we went on to the famous bakery,Kathleen.Here we had some nice pastries.We then rambled along to the british era Hogg market.Here we sat down and just took in the atmosphere.Kolkata has this strong residual british influence still left in it and it can be seen everywhere.The buildings being the strongest reminder.I spotted some buildings here which were constructed as back as in 1886.After some time here musing about Kolkata, we went inside the market.Everything from keychains to jewelery could be found here.

Sweets at KC Das

New market was next on the list.Here we strolled along looking at the various stuff the stall keepeers had to offer.I bought some small hand bags as souvenirs.Then in the afternoon we went to park street.As deepanjan had some work near Jadavpur University we went there by catching a metro.After his work was done we casually walked around and luckily for us there was a fish stall and eager to have some seafood I quickly orderd fish fry and prawns.Though I was dissipointed by the taste I was content with the fact that I tried something new.Evening came and we went back and decided to have some kebabs in a nearby restuarant.So we went to this 'Singhji ka Dhaba' where we had three types of kebabs and some chicken.We ate our fill and when we were done it was time to part.Deepanjan was to take the local back to home from Howrah.Once again we boarded the ferry from bapughat and had some wonderful views of the city.The howrah bridge was wonderfuly and subtly lit up and was a delight to look at.We parted ways near the Railway Station and abhishek and myself made our way back to our hotel content with the days travels.

Indian Coffee Prince
The next day started off in real earnest.Abhishek and myself got up,had some excellent breakfast of kachori nearby and discussed our plans for the day over breakfast.After this discussion we decided to go visit Rabindranath Tagore's home which has been converted into a museum.Its called Jorashanko Takhurbari.After much asking around the sharp bylanes we found ourselves standing in front of the entrance to Ravindra Bharati University.We strolled inside looking around the small but beautiful campus.Soon we entered the actual home of  Rabindranath Tagore.He came from a rich family and that showed in the size of the house.We skipped in and out of the numerous rooms looking around.There was a whole section dedicated just to the relationship between Rabindranath and Japan.There were 
Hotel Prince
pictures,manuscripts,books,clothes and other items related to him.Apart from us there was a big group of students and a couple of other visitors.There was a chinese couple also.Anyway we spent some time here,took some pics and left the museum in a couple of hours.From here we went to the famous and iconic Indian Coffee House where the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and Subhash Chandra Bose used to come.It is Kolkata's favorite hangout place or what is locally called 'adda'.We had some delicious chicken pakoras and chicken something.The ambience of the hotel was great.


Our next stop was the famous Victoria Memorial.By the time we reached there by taking trams,buses and metro( just for fun) it was evening.We spent some time in the sprawling gardens around the british marvel and took some great pics.It was dark soon and we made our way to new market next.Everything was beautifully decorated here,with Christmas round the corner.At a roadside stall we had some delicious momos and kebabs.Soon it was dinner time and we went to the famous Prince hotel.We had two types of fish here,Pabda Mach and bowal mach.From here we called it a day and went back to our hotel and the next day we started back for Raigarh.

Highlights of the trip
1- Muffins at Kathleen Bakery.
2- Rasgollos at KC Das.
3- Fish Dishes at Hotel Prince.
4- Rides in Tram,Metro,Ferry and Bus.
5- Snacks in Indian Coffee House.
6- Momos at a roadside stall in New Market.
7- A Walk on the Iconic Howrah Bridge.
8- Rabindra Nath Tagore's House.
9- Walks in and around Hogg Market,New Market and College Street.
10-Chicken and Egg Rol from Hot Kati Rolls.