Forget your wife, your husband, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother or any other travelling companion. These little things will be your best friend throughout your whole time in India. Look after them, nurture them, feed them , water them and by all means don't lose them!
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1822-1887)
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1822-1887) belonged to the princely kingdom of Awadh (Oudh) in Uttar Pradesh, India, succeeding his father Nawab Amjad Ali Shah, to become the province's tenth and last nawab. Muhammad Wajid Ali Shah Bahadur was born on 13th February, 1847 in Lucknow, India. He began his illustrious reign as ruler of Awadh after ascending the throne in 1847, which he went on to rule for nine years. After his kingdom was annexed by the British in 1856, the Nawab was exiled to Calcutta where he spent the rest of his life off handsome allowances. However, his immense contribution to the field of Fine Arts is what makes him renowned today. The Nawab was married to Malka Hazrat Mahal.
The robust Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was regarded as being a kind, generous and compassionate ruler, as well as a good administrator, who took keen interest in the affairs of the state. However, his image was tarnished by the British as being a debauched and detached ruler, contrary to the fact that Awadh as a prosperous and wealthy state under his rule. Besides introducing reforms and looking into the administration of justice and military affairs, Wajid Ali Shah was also a poet, playwright, composer and dancer himself, under whose lavish patronage the fine arts flourished.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah passed away on 1st September, 1887 at Kolkata, India, while his mausoleum lies at the Imambara Sibtenabad, in Matiyaburj.
I visited his Mausoleum yesterday ( 25th May07) afternoon and took some photographs after taking permission. The Nawab belonged to Shia sect of Muslim and photography is not allowed inside Imambara. In those days also they had a Jenana ( For Ladies) Imambara where women used to offer prayers. It still exists but in delapilated condition and most of the land and the building has been encroached by the local people. Calcutta Municipal Corporation has recently renamed the road to Wajid Ali Shah Road. The great grandson Anjum Quader ( B. 1921) now lives in London and is the last living descendant of the Nawab.
Airport Volvo & Green Jnnurm Buses of Kolkata !
Good new for visitors coming from abroad or other parts of India to the city of Kolkata. The Govt. of West Bengal have at last achieved something but not on their own. They had to be whipped by Calcutta High Court in August last year ( 2009). First, they had to scrap all buses and auto rickshaws which are more than 15 years old. Second, all auto rickshaws have to run on green fuel i.e. LPG ( Liquified Petroleum Gas) or CNG( Compressed Natural Gas). Third they will have to bring 1200 Green Buses for the city , which are of international standard used for both standing and sitting. Fourth, they have to introduce Air Conditioned Volvo buses for the passengers from Airport to the city.
So now they have at least introduced 39 Airconditioned Volvo buses from the airport to the city at a very affordable cost. A journey of 36 KMs from Dumdum Airport to Tollygunj will cost Rs.60/- only or USD$ 1.3!. It will take you from various points of the city, you can get down at the place of your choice. It has GPS, announcement system, luggage carrier, excellent seat and standing system. These buses are used in 40 developed countries of the world as city transport from airport.
Add on 15.02.10: Now at the time of editing this tip there are five routes plying from Airport to various places of Kolkata city, including Esplanade or Dharmatala. That means you are with in walking distance of Sudder Street, Chowringhee, where most of the tourists hotels are located and Backpackers prefer to stay. Enjoy your visit to Kolkata! Have a look at the video I have posted.
They start from 8.30Am in the morning and ends at 9.30Pm in the evening. The journey takes about 1.5 hrs from the airport to Tollygunj Metro station. The bus conductor will help you to get down at the place of your choice in case you are new to the city.( See pitures).
The bus leaves from the Domestic & International arrival terminal and ends at Tollygunj Metro station and Vice Versa.
The bus in green is JNNURM bus, which is a city bus, now there are about 600 hundreds of them soon the blue buses will be phased out.
See Video: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/vv/32de/
Authentic Home Made Bengali Food since 1930!!
This tip is dedicated to my VT friend and 5 star Chef Kashi Mallya of Sydney, with whom I even shared childhood school ( St.Xaviers' without knowing each other). He inspired me to write restaurant tips where we can have our daily home made food without getting sick and putting pressure on the pocket, preferably a meal with in Rs.100/- ( USD$ 2). In Kolkata or in India it's possible. So let me start the tip:
It was in 1930's bubbling youth Mr.Tarapada Guha ( born 21st October'1910) came to the city of Kolkata from East Bengal to earn livelihood and join freedom movement started by Mahatma Gandhi & Netaji Subhash Ch. Bose. Inspired by Gandhi's and Tagore's viion he stopped looking for petty job and started his own venture. And he did what he knew better, cooking home made food (I think all East Bengalies know better cooking) and feeding the Bengalies. Thus how the famous " Young Bengal Hotel" was launched in 1930's with the concept of " Piece Hotel", which means you can get rice and lentil soup(dal) as much as you want till the time your hunger is satisfied but you not get aditional fish, mutton or chicken. You have to pay extra for those things. It was opened at Khidirpore as it was then a happening port of Kolkata and one of the busiest in the world! The hungry Bengalies who used to work in that area started flocking to Young Bengal Hotel and it became synonym wih the Bengali house hold of that area. It is also said that Tagore also visited them once as informed by Eminent Physician Dr.Nirmal Chandra Basu Roy and son in Law of Tarapada Guha, who married his daughter Kamal Basu Roy.
As the business of Tarapada Guha flourished he was started being assited by his able daughter Mrs. Kamal Basu Roy, who run the business very efficiently till the last day of her life. The great business woman expired on 9th June'2008.
The hotel became very famous among the office goers with their authentic Bengali dishes cooked in East Bengal style especially, Illish Bhapa( Steamed Hilsa), Muri Ghanata( head of Carp fish with rice), Bhetki Paturi, Illish Paturi, Prawn Malai curry, Rui Posto ( Carp Fish cooked with poppy seed), Kach Kolar Kofta ( plantain mashed balls), Pabda Fish, Bata Fish, Aaar Fish with mustard and so on. said Dr. Basu Roy with nostalgia who always miss his consort Mrs. Kamal Basu Roy, who sometimes sed to refered as Goddess Durga who has ten hands. She used to control everything from purchasing of raw materials, fish, vegetables, meat everything. Her criteria was very strict, everything has to be pure and hygenic! Oh yeah! this hotel does not have a menu card but they write the day's menu on the black board and the prices for the day, which may not be the same next day as it depends on the day's purchase price. Here everything bought is fresh and is never used for next day! No wonder no body gets ill after eating here. We visited this hotel yesterday during lunch as I was visiting our dealers of Khidirpore area, I decided to pay a visit and pay my tribute to the great place. We had Rice, Katla Fish, Lentil soup with coconut, Papaya with black gram. All cooked excellently with authentic East Bengal style. It was really a great experience!
And Hygine: dont' worry it's very clean and if asked they will provide mineral water and even earthen plate and glass!
No wonder they are surviving there for more than 80 years!!!
While making tips for restaurants we always tend to name the best one's of the town but tend to ignore where we frequent more. yesterday we decided to eat out my wife suggested why not Tandoor food at Fast Bite, we were actually planning for Silver Oak( a Chinese food speciality and very expensive). We go to Fast Bite for Tandoor food at least once a month, we like their Tandoor , it is as good as or perhaps better than the Tandoor served at any of the better well known hotels of Delhi, Lucknow or Calcutta.
yesterday we had their Chicken Hariyali Kebab, Chicken Tikka special, Mutton Tikka Kebab , Chicken Reshmi Kebab with Parantha. All are mouth watering and superb. I will break down the food in three sections. We could not have our favourite Chicken Tandoor as we were late. We reached at 9.00 P.M. yes for them it is very late. They cook and make tandoors only for the day as they keep everything FRESH!!!!! Chicken Hariyali Kebab: it is one of their best dishes. It is made with Chicken pieces with bones marinated in Yougart, salt, vinegar, Tandoor spices and corriander paste for hours. Then it is put into skewers to be coocked in slow fire for about 10 mts. In between, they take it out an lace with butter to give it a perfect taste and correct timeing. It is all about timing and experience. A great experience.
They serve it with corriander/ yougart paste salad. Priced Rs.50/- or about USD1 per plate of five pieces.