Chinese Weekly Market & wonderful Breakfast.
We had these wonderful stuff on last Sunday as breakfast and brought home some of them. But we did not like the place as it has a very dirty atmosphere at the same time we wantede to experience with what was continuing since last 250 years. I am sure in glory days this market must be thriving with activity as mentioned in some magazines and some very old news papers.
Next to this place there was famous Chinese restaurant Nanking, which was once pride of South East Asia, very favourite of the Americans& British during the WWII. But it is now closed since 1960s, having resemblace of building directly from Harry Potter picture.
The Chinese breakfast did not disappoint us at all. I liked the fish ball, Chinese Bread roll, and Chicken Momos. We avoided the Pig intestines, though some people said it was delicious. No thanks!!
Unknown facts about Kolkata!!!
Kolkata is the only city in South Asia and India with Trams.
Kolkata, before Known as Calcutta, was once the British capital of India, and was considered the second most important city in the British Empire after London.
Salt-lake stadium in Kolkata is the Football stadium with second Highest seating capacity in world.
College street in Kolkata is the largest second hand book market in the world and the largest book market in India.
Kolkata has been home to 5 Nobel Laureates:
Sir Ronald Ross (1902, Medicine)
Rabindranath Tagore (1913, Literature; first Asian to win the Nobel Prize)
C V Raman (1930, Physics)
Mother Teresa (1979, Peace)
Amartya Sen (1998, Economics)
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Indian Coffee House at College Street!
Situated at 15 Bankim Chatterjee St, Kolkata, India( Just opposite Presidency CollageThe most famous Coffee House branch in Kolkata is the one at the College Street, also known as the "Coffee House at College Street". It is situated opposite the Presidency College, Kolkata and has been for a long time a regular hang out for students (and ex-students) of the Presidency College, University of Calcutta, and other institutions in College Street.
The history of the Coffee House at College Street can be traced to Albert Hall, which was founded in April 1876. Later, the Coffee Board decided to start a coffee joint from the Albert Hall in 1942. Notable citizens, including Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, were frequent visitors to the place. In 1947, the Central Government changed the name of the place to "Coffee House". The place became a meeting place for the poets, artistes, literati and people from the world of art and culture. In 1958, the management decided to shut down the Coffee House, but it was re-opened the same year, after professors of Presidency College and Calcutta University rushed off a special petition to the government, to save the heritage place.
The place is also associated with many famous personalities of Calcutta and India. Some great personalities who were regular are Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Manna Dey , Aparna Sen and many many more.
In 2006 condition of the place was so dilapidated that many corporate house showed interest to renovate it. Finally it was renovated by Asian Paints in 2008/2009.
The place now has totally new look but without changing the aura of the place. Now it also has several paintings. Apart from genuine filter South Indian Coffee, they also serve lunch and dinner or just plain snacks ( See the menu and more pics in next tips). You can sit over there with a cup of coffee for entire afternoon, nobody really minds. We had our lunch there with Mix Chowmin and Garlic Chicken. It tasted great though not up to the mark of genuine Chinese food what is available in Mainland China. But who complains when the price is about a dollar per plate?
Chinese Weekly Market of Territy Bazar!
We had the knowledge but have never tried it. Traditionally BBD Bagh's Territy Bazar have been the home for the Chinese settled in Kolkata. They settled here in early 17th and 18th century. But slowly the wealthy moved to Tangra, in Eastern Kolkata to have their tannery. Those who remained in Territy had the business of shoe shop and eating joints. They never mixed with the local Bengalies but have been doing great business during British period.
They also had a weekly market, where they sell Chienese ingredients for making the delicious food, making purchases for their homes and also sell Chinese breakfast. That was simply wonderful. Today it also exists but minus the Europeans and Anglo- Indians. They place now has very few families selling Chinese merchandise, medicines and the place looks very dirty, with Chicken, Meat , Fish sellers sitting in open and making the place dirty. May be Kolkakata Municipal Corporation ( KMC) is totally ignorant of the place. The place smells dirty and foul.
Last Sunday 12th July we got up early and set for Territy Bazar to taste their wonderful food. We had done some shopping also including buying some Squid, Mangoes, Prawn Papad etc.
The World’s Largest Non-trade Book Fair.
The Mecca of publishers, book lovers and students, the Book Fair held in early February is a place that every family in Kolkata makes a beeline for. It is the world's largest non-trade book fair, Asia's largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. It is the world's third largest annual conglomeration of books after the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair.
The fair showcases the best of not just Indian publishers, but also bookseller, writers and bibliophiles from all corners of the globe. Great discounts are offered on a mind-boggling collection of titles as visitors to the fair wend their way in and out of the colorful stalls, stopping every now and then to grab a bite, get their portraits painted or just listen to the music filtering through the fair grounds.
- Study Abroad
- Arts and Culture
Wild Life at Tolly Club.
This club was built in the year 1896, that time it was a forest at the outskirts of the city. With time, they city grew leaps & bounds and there was a boundary wall. All the animals, who were in the forest remained there and survived. It's huge GOLF club , with two miles long area and full of green forest. At the moment there are only Foxes and Jackals as wild animal. There were many but as per the guard living there their number is around 40/50 who survive on the small animals such as cats, rats, Bandicoot, etc and the food provided by the guards, such as used meat.
They are now almost domesticated and do not attack the Golf players or the guards during the daytime. I captured them with my cell phone camera, while watching Golf. First, I thought, they were dogs and I tried to call them, then the caddies saw me calling them shouted at me and told to remain at a distance from them as they were foxes. But, I went close, dared their red eye and captured them. It was a nice experience capturing them , basking in the spring sun!
The Last Supper by Johann Joffany at St. John's Ch
The painting worth millions was presented by German Painter Johann Zoffany to the church on 1787. Over the years, it remained unkempt and was subject to vandalism, who also slashed the great painting. About hundred years ago it was retouched and again in 1967, by unprofessionals. Recently Max Mueller Bhawan of German mission took interest of this priceless painting and got it totally restored by the professionals. It is now restored to it's glory. One can have a highly satisfying experience!
Johann Zoffany’s 1787 painting at St John’s Church unveiled:
The solemn beauty of Johann Zoffany’s painting of The Last Supper, which hangs in St John’s Church and is the city’s most prized artistic possession, stands revealed once again and was open to public view on 4th of July'2010.
It has been restored over five months at the church next to Raj Bhavan by a team of conservators from the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (Intach) headed by Renate Kant, a German painting conservator based in Singapore.
The 10ft x 12ft painting by Zoffany (1733-1810) was done when he spent six years in India. He was born in Frankfurt but is considered one of the founding artists of the British School of the 18th century who introduced the “conversation piece”. His works hang in the Tate Gallery, Uffizi and the Louvre, besides the Victoria Memorial Hall.
Zoffany presented the painting to the church on April 9, 1787, and it once served as an altar piece. It incurred the wrath of the people on whom he had modelled the Apostles, who are significantly larger than Jesus himself. The flaxen haired St John sits next to Christ.
Judas with a tortured visage was said to have either been modelled on a “certain English resident at the Court of Lucknow” or Tulloh, a well-known Calcutta auctioneer. In 1888, a newspaper correspondent noted with dismay the “shameful treatment” meted out to it, and “the torn frayed canvas, and the large hole near the nose of Judas Iscariot”.( Courtesy The Telegraph)
Rabindra Sarovar Lake of Ballygunje
This is one of the lungs of Kolkata city, but the condition of the lake and the environment is in dilapidated condition. The visit to the lake is highly refreshing but the slum dwellers settled all over the lake has made it an open air public toilet and washing lake. Any time of the day, one can notice that tons of clothes are being washed, people bath with soaps, the pathways are very dirty and smells badly. Though , there are several posh clubs located with in the lake, like Calcutta Rowing Club, The Lake Club, The University Rowing Club, The Anderson Swimming club no one has come forward to keep it clean. The lake is full of Hyacinth, the gardens are dirty, the seats are broken or fully occupied by vagabonds, rug pickers. In the evening time when the night falls, it turns out in to a den of criminals. There is no serious effort by Calcutta police or Kolkata Municipal Corporation to keep it clean or vice free. Only a hand picked of policemen are seen in the evening time, who continuously harass the couples either for sitting close or sitting late.
In the early 1920s, the Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT), a body responsible for developmental work in the Kolkata metropolitan area, acquired about 192 acres (0.78 km2) of marshy jungles. Their intention was to develop the area for residential use – improving the roads, raising and levelling some of the adjacent land and building lakes and parks. Excavation work was undertaken with the plan of creating a huge lake. Originally known as Dhakuria Lake, in May 1958, CIT renamed the lake as Rabindra Sarovar, as a tribute to the great Bengali writer and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.
- Family Travel
The café is open for outside guests and soon I want to take the kids to the bowling alley. Getting out in the beauty of nature is the real attraction here. I saw a kind of King Fisher bird I have not seen before.
Bandel, former portuguese colony, church
North from Calcutta at the westbank of the Ganges are several former colonies and trade-settlements.
Bandel is 48 KM north from Calcutta and was portuguese.
The church from 1599 is renewed with marble.
We drunk a glass of tea at one of the tea-stalls opposite the church. The tea costs only 2 eurocents, very cheap.
Afterwards we took a rickshaw to the mosque of Bandel. The mosque is one KM more south, also at the riverside.
Chandernagore, former french colony
South of Bandel, 40 KM from Calcutta is Chandernagore. This is a former French colony with churches and convents from the French time.
We visited the dusty historical museum with pictures, objects and furniture of the French governor.
- Museum Visits
Serampore, former Danish trading settlement.
Serampore, the former Danish trading settlement is 30 Km north from Cacutta.
Serampore was orginally called Fredic-nagore. Serampore College is founded in 1818 and has rare Sanskrit and Tibetan manuscripts. You can see some in the museum of Carey.
- Museum Visits
Black Hole Memorial of Kolkata!
It is inside St. John's Church complex, BBD Bagh area, approximately a kilometer from Esplanade square.
In 1756, the British began strengthening the defences of Fort William. The Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, wasn't happy and saw it as a threat to his countries independence. He ordered a stop to the fort's military strengthening but was ignored. Siraj then organised his army & laid siege to the fort, causing many casualties.
Much of the garrison was able to escape, leaving a token force in the fort under the command of John Holwell, and the fort and Calcutta was taken.
It is difficult to know what the "truth" is about this story as the claims made by a surviving officer John Howell seem a bit too far fetched. It was claimed that 146 people were imprisoned, in a small and airless dungeon at Fort William. Next morning, when the door was opened, 123 of the prisoners had died. However, it does seem improbable that 146 people could have been imprisoned in a room of 14 x 18 feet, and it seems that at best Holwell greatly exaggerated his story.
The original memorial laid by Howell disappeared in 1821. The present day monument was commissioned in 1899 and erected at Dalhousie Square, believed to be the site of the Black Hole. The monument was re-sited in the graveyard of St John's Church in 1940.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Watch the sunset over Ganges on a Boat!
A must-see in Calcutta is to take a local boat around 4,30pm and see the sunset over the Ganges. These boats called "Noukas" can be rented from the many Ghats lining the river .... expect to pay as much as you can negotiate. An hour usually runs for around Rs. 150.