Kolkatta - City of Joy

Kolkatta - capital city of WB, one of the major cities in India and a major power center during the Raj. The last  one sure sticks to kolkatta ... :). All the prominent landmarks are from the British era - the Howrah bridge or the Victoria Memorial or the Howrah railway station itself.

The city has expanded a lot in the last couple of decades with the new settlements like New Town or Rajarhat and Salt Lake city almost about 25-30 kms away from the city center. These areas are like an entire city within the larger city of Kolkatta.

One striking thing about kolkatta is the bazars!! - simply amazed by their shear size and numbers. There is Garia Haat, new market, Shaam bazar, Bow bazar, Shova bazar and top of all - the Babu ghat ... I'm sure I've missed a couple of equally huge markets and bazars. And we are not even counting the numerous malls and city centers around .. :) People here simply love to shop. And kolkatta cotton - why even my trip mates were buying like there is no tomorrow!! ...

Post shopping there is mishti .. :) or rather post anything - lunch/dinner/chai people here eat sweets. Eating sweets is like a ritual here. And we were following it religiously each day we were here (weight gain??!! ... what's that?? .. or rather who cares when you look at the syrup dripping rassogulla in an earthen bowl). There is so much of variety of sweets - Sandesh and all it's types and there is rassogulla class of sweets and finally the "mishti dohi" - it's much closer to srikhanda (a Maharashtrian sweet) then dahi .. :) But one disappointment was that we could not get anything back home - because the sweets can not last longer then 2 days and our journey back was almost 2 and a half.

Another thing worth mentioning about Kolkatta, is the options for public transport - there are buses, trams, metro, locals, taxis, autos, cycle rickshaw, hand pulled rickshaw .. though you definitely don't feel like using the last 2 options - but then that only leads to loss of opportunity for these people. But trams - such old worldly charm and the metors - such a modern option are simply excellent.

And finally the places of interest -  like all big cities, Kolkatta has the newer options like Science City and Entertainment parks - like Nicco park. Then there are historical places like Victoria Memorial, Howrah bridge, a tram ride along the college street, Moidan, Writer's Building, Eden Gardens and so on. Apart from this, there are many well known eating places - like the Indian Coffee House which is more then 50 years old. There is the Park Street which boasts of Moulin Rouge - with a small mill on the top and Flury's another  old establishment.

A trip to kolkatta is not complete if you do not sample their "phuchka" and "Bhetki paturi" .. dangerous sounding names they may be .. :) But delicious dishes they really are. Phuchka is nothing but our pani-puri. Only make sure you try this out at a decent outlet. There are too many roadside vendors selling this and their pani sure seems deadly .. :). Bhetki paturi is a fish dish wherein they use mustard dressing and bake the fish in banana leaves - giving it a subtle aroma. Loved it thoroughly. Apart from this, they have loads of puri-kachori (stuffed puris) and "jhols" and daals .. :)


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