Sabarna Roy Chowdhary - Durgapuja.
Well recently again I visited the Sabarna's at their Behala house again. Now I am in constant touch with their heir Mr.Devarshi Roy Choudhary and we do interact often. Mr. Roy Choudhury is a teacher by profession. For who do not know, in the yesteryear when the British seized power from the Mughals by tricking lot of greedy Indians assisted them, without knowing the consequences for the next 300 years. The British rewarded them by making landlords, Princes, even kings without proper bloodline. With wealth and with the backing of the British they started soponsoring various religious activities such as Durga Puja. While lot of pomp was there in their pujas, the people with genuine royal Bloodline never really went into oblivion. As the founder members of Roy Choudhary family were of Saintly character, despite being Zamindars, they too organised several festivals in their fold. This Durga Puja of their family is about 400 -years old, started in 1610 and being continued till date.
Tomb of Job Charnok- St John's Church
The tombs in the St. John's Churchyard have historical interest with octagonal shaped Charnock's mausoleum is said to be the oldest masoury in the city. Job Charnok came to Kolkata as a trader agent of East India co in 1690. He died at Kolkata in 1692. Many believed till a few years ago that he was the founder of Kolkata city. Whatever it is he has contributed a lot in development of the city. This place also houses mausoleum of many rich and famous British. Please see the new pictures.
The Mausoleum is located in the centre heart of the city in the main business district of Dalhousie and inside St.John's church and graveyard. The condition of the Tomb is pathetic. Lot of bushes and weeds have come out as a result of neglect. I found out from the church authorities who is responsible for upkeep of the church. I could not get the correct answer. But they do collect Rs.20/- per car and Rs10/- per visitor everyday for upkeep of the church property. They also rent out the their compound as parking space on weekdays and houses several cars. Besides they get handsome donation from the visitors as well from the feast and other rituals performed for the devotees. So the income is not less, why the upkeep is in thankless state? Somebody has to answer! I am planning to see the Bishop in one of these days as and when I get time from office.
Trams in Kolkata are one of the heritage things and although there are only a few routes still existing, we the kolkatans doubt whether this slow, traffic creating transport will ever cease to exist in kolkata. It is in the heart of Kolkatans. We love it. I particularly love the ride from Ballygunge to College street, and I take it often. There are chances of frequent breakdowns, coupled with the very slow pace of the trams that might irritate some people, but I feel that they still, are unique and very Kolkatan. If you have been in Kolkata and not rode on one, that will be a miss
Delicacies from Shahar -E-Nawab Lucknow
Those who know me well, also know that I am a great food lover and like to explore, experience various kind of food. I noticed, I never wrote anything on our best food " The Lucknawi Gharana", though I am a great connousier of Biryani dishes. I have great penchant for Hyderabadi Gharana and Lucknavi Gharana. The two Gharanas of Nawabs ( mainly Nawab Wajid Ail Shah of Lucknow ( read more about him in my off the beaten path tip) and Nizams of Hyderabad), the two have patronised, experimented, indulged, promoted and pampered the greatest Chefs of India.their culinery expertise is now known all over the world. The various Kebabs, Biryanys came from their stables only. They perfected the art of Mughlai cooking, though the original Mughal food came from Samarkand in Central Asia with Babar the Emperor!
Lucknow, regraded as one of finest cities of India emanates a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of shophistication, courtesey and love for gracious living. The sublime cultural richness famous a" Awadhi Tehzeeb", blends the culture of two communties living side by side for centuries, sharing similar interest, speaking a commmon language and sharing their food too. Many of the cultural traits and customs peculier to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the Nawabs of Awadh, who took very keen interest in every walk of life and encouraged them to attain a rare degree of perfection.
Like various art form, the culinary art of Lucknow was also raised to a fine art under Royal patronage. A favourite past time of the nobility of Awadh was perfecting the art of cooking. The Bawarchis and Rakabdars of Awadh, by their expertise of Blending spices, achieved a high degree of finesse in cooking and presentation of food that too culinary art to the high realms.
Arsalan takes a leaf from the culinary extravaganzas of the Nawabs and brings to you a "Re-past". In an ambience and hospitality, evocative of those golden times when every meal was a feast and every feast a gourmet's delight. We too, on Sunday ( 14th Sept'08) decided to discover exotic creations from the secret recipes of Nawab's kitchen brought to Kolkata by the chefs of Arsalan:
We treated ourselves with Kasturi Kebab, Peshawari Tikka Kebab, Lukhnavi Mutton Biryani Spl, Gosht Kali Mirch, Keema Naan, Chicken Rezala , Butter Naan and Firni as dessert. Each dish was a signature dish and I think I orederd too much food for only three of us. You can guess the quantity was generous and the size of the Naans was so big that we had to get it packed for Munu.
Out of all the food we ordered, I felt Kasturi Kebab, Gost Kali Mirch ( Mutton made with Black Pepper) and Biriany was real exotic. It was a great feeling and great treat for all of us. To taste all the items there one by one I think I will have to make at least 10 repeated visits as to explore the gastronomic delights of Nawbabs require time, patience, ambience, wilingness to explore the inner secrets of the food, only then one can enjoy the exotic food there. We found the quality of meat to be of very good. Only good quality Rewazi Mutton can make the Signature dishes a perfect one!
My this tip is also dedicated to my VT friend Kashi Mallaya ( Mallyak of Sydney)and Faiza_Ifrah ( Canada).
Best of Sea Foods!!!!
Those who know us surely know about our liking for Chinese food also. Well for many days we have been thinking of visiting Mainland China, one of the upmarket restaurants of Kolkata. They have branches at Bombay and Delhi too. This place is known for fine Chinese food and great seafood. This is also very expensive as the food price is almost double than the speciality Chinese Restaurants of Tangra. But the ambience, the service, the decor and the quality of the food compensate for the high price tag. Since, this is located in a very posh area so the clientele is exclusive. You may be sitting to some movie actor, like we sat next to Pallavi Chatterjee a Bengali movie actress. This Sunday on 10th December we visited this place to experience their food.
Food is certainly excellent for the price but as a regular Chinese food eater I will still rate the food of Beijing of Tangra is better.
One great achievement of this place, Munu learnt how to eat with Chopsticks.......!!!!!! We had draught beer Rs.110/- per mug, Chicken, Pan fried noodles, Sczewan Rice and Lobsters. Jumbo Prawns and Lobsters costs about Rs.600/-(USD12), Beer (USD3), so all other dishes around Rs300- Rs600/- per plate( USD8-12).
Their Lobsters are definitely good so is their Jumbo prawns, goes down well with their draught beer. This place is certainly a place for experience.