Before going to Kolkata I searched for some good hotels in Kolkata that offered all services at reasonable prices. After searching for a while, I came upon Hotel Pushpak International Kolkata which looked fine enough for me. So I had my room booked in advance so that I have no tension in looking for an accommodation after reaching the city. When I reached Howrah station, there was the cab from the hotel waiting for me. I got in to it and reached the hotel within 30 minutes.
Hotel Pushpak International Kolkata | Image Resource : hotelpushpakinternational.com
The hotel was located in the heart of the city, on KYD Street. It was close to some of the commercial and business centers in the city. Some of the important tourist places like Birla Planetarium, Victoria Memorial, Alipore Zoo and Kalighat are close to the hotel. I was given a warm welcome at the reception and was shown to my room.
I had booked a Standard single room for my stay and it looked quite spacious and well furnished. It had all the facilities like a comfortable bed, LCD TV with cable connection, internet connection, air conditioners, ISD/FAX facility, telephone with direct dial facility and an attached bathroom with toiletries and hot/cold running water. There was no in-house restaurant but room service was available and you get whatever you order. There were also many good restaurants near the hotel that served local specialties as well as dishes from other parts of India, Chinese food and Continental cuisines.
The daily room service kept the rooms neat and tidy and the front desk provided you with all information you need. I got all my doubts cleared at the front desk. They provided me with a list places that I could visit in Kolkata and also arranges cabs for my travel. Doctor on call, 24 hour security, laundry facility, generator etc are other facilities that are available in the hotel. the markets, shopping malls and the major banks are all within walking distance from the hotel.
I had a pleasant stay at Hotel Pushpak International Kolkata and the staff was very courteous and well-experienced, always ready to help you.
Rabindra Sarobar Lake Kolkata | Image Resource : panoramio.com
Rabindra Sarobar Lake Kolkata :- Nature manifests its true beauty at the Rabindra Sarobar Lake. It is an amazing lake with beautiful play of natural blue and green. I stayed there for more than 2 hours and truly had fun. I saw the sunset sitting at the banks of the Rabindra Sarovar. It was a fun evening.
National Library Kolkata was another place that I went to visit during my stay at Kolkata. It is the largest library in India and the second largest in Asia. Presently it is under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. The library is located at Belvedere Estate in Alipore, near the Alipore Zoo. Before the independence, it was the residence of Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The library is open for the public on all days of the week from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm. No entry fee is needed to enter the library.
National Library Kolkata | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
I reached the library at 11 am after visiting Dakshuneswara temple, and was amazed at the large campus of the library, about 30 acres in area. The lawns and well maintained gardens surrounding it made it even more spectacular. The building was built in 1836 and is a fine example of British architecture with large spacious rooms and halls with high ceiling. Although there was a lot of noise outside with vehicles going in all directions, once you enter the library, it is calm and peaceful with no loud noise. The people moved about silently or talking in low voice and all were so immersed in examining the books and journals.
Interior View Of Library | Image Resource : ictgediminas.wordpress.com
I found out from the staff in the library that it contained as many as 20, 00,000 books and 5,00,000 manuscripts. More than 18,000 readers visit the library. I also saw a collection of Indian news papers dating back to 19th and 20th centuries. You may find any book you need in the library. Admission to the reading room is free to any person above the age of 18 years. The reading room can accommodate 550 people at a time. Once you become a member in the library, you can borrow books for a period of 14 days. There are books of various Indian languages and you can visit a particular section to choose a book of your language. Here is also a wide collection of foreign books.
The staff in the library is very helpful and provides you with any information you need regarding the books and where they are placed.
Park Street Cemetery Kolkata | Image Resource : flickr.com
Park Street Cemetery Kolkata :- I really like the eerie feeling of the place when I visited the Park Street Cemetery Kolkata. I wonder why horror films are never shot in places like this. I clicked many pictures with my camera. The place is fabulous for people who enjoy history and nature. I loved the place.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple Kolkata | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
On the next day after I reached Kolkata, I decided to visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple, which is famous all over India and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The temple is about 12.5 km from Kolkata city and it takes about 21 minutes to reach the temple by car. I had a cab arranged at the travel desk to take me to the temple. I got up early in the morning and got ready by 7.00 am. The cab arrived and I reached the temple by 7.30 am. It was already vibrant with the chanting of the pundits and the devotees.
Exterior View Of Temple | Image Resource : panoramio.com
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhavatarini, an incarnation of Goddess Kali. It was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, who was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali. The temple is also closely associated with the spiritual leader Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who along with his wife Sharda Devi, worshipped here until his death. He was a great devotee of Goddess Kali and was respected by all sects of people. He was also the spiritual Guru of Swami Vivekananda.
Goddess Bhavatarini | Image Resource : dakshineswar.com
The temple was located on the banks of the River Hoogly and looked very impressive, spreading over an area of 25 acres. It remained open from 6.00 am to 12.30 pm and then from 3.30 to 9.00 pm. for the devotees to offer their prayers. The main temple is surrounded by 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and there is a Shivalinga placed in each shrine. The courtyard also has a temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna.
Inside the sanctum sanctorum there was the idol of Goddess Kali, standing with one foot on the chest the Lord Shiva lying on the ground. The two idols are placed on a silver lotus with thousand petals. I offered the flowers and sweets I bought from the shop near temple and stood there praying for a few minutes. The priest gave me prasad and put a tilak on my forehead. The prayer made me peaceful and relaxed, and then I got out, visiting the other shrines. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are regarded as the auspicious days, there is a huge crowd of devotees.
Eden Garden Kolkata | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
About Eden Garden :- I have always been a great fan of cricket and when we planned a trip to Kolkata, I was sure I had to visit the Eden Gardens. Prior to this, I had seen the Eden Gardens only during the IPL in my HD TV. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and wanted to go there again.
Being a marketing person, I meet a lot of people and visit different places. Travelling is one of my passions and I love visiting new and scenic places and enjoy the local cuisines there. Last time it was to Kolkata that I went and opting for a budget travel, I booked ticket for my journey from Kanpur to Kolkata by Poorva Express. As there was provision to book tickets 60 days prior to the journey, I booked my ticket well in advance and secured a confirmed seat in the train.
Poorva Express | Image Resource : flickr.com
The scheduled time of departure of the train from Kanpur Central was11.35 pm. so I had my bags packed in the morning and by 9.00 pm I had my dinner. One of my friends offered to take me to the railway station and I was off to the station by 10.00 pm. it took one hour to reach the station and as I reached the station, the train was already there. I got into the train and put my bag on my seat and then got outside and bought some magazines from the nearby book stall. The train started at the correct time and I sat reading my books for a while. My co passengers consisted of a family including husband, wife and two children.
Train-12304 | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
After reading for a while, I went off to sleep and had a sound sleep till 7.00 am. it was a sunny morning and I got up refreshed from my sleep. I had puri and potato curry from the canteen in the train and then sat down talking to my fellow passenger. He lived in Kolkata and came to Kanpur on a holiday. The two kids were boys and were very smart and naughty. Soon they become friendly with me.
Puri and Potato curry | Image Resource : spiceupthecurry.com
I had my lunch and dinner from the canteen and at 5.00 pm the train reached Howrah station. I got down and saw that it was a very crowded and vibrant station. I was told that a cab would take me to the hotel that I had already booked. As I got outside, I located the cab waiting for me and started off to the hotel. I really enjoyed my journey from Kanpur to Kolkata by Poorva Express.
Ghugni | Image Resource : madhuja.com
I have always enjoyed travelling and exploring new places and their delicious and distinct cuisine. Last month, I went to Patna for a business meeting. There I came across this marvelous evening snack Ghugni. I was surprised that a snack with very common ingredients and very less preparation time can actually taste so good. Here I wish to share a simple recipe of this snack with all foodies who follow my blog.
- Yellow Peas (Dried) – 2 Cups
- Onion- ½ Cup
- Garlic- 1 tsp
- Ginger- 1 tsp
- Tomatoes- 1 in number
- Salt to taste
- Water- 4 Cups
- Garam Masala- 1 tbsp.
- Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
- Cumin Powder- 1 tsp
- Green Chillies- 1-2
- Coconut Slices- A Handful
- Green Coriander Leaves- for garnishing
- Tamarind Chutney
Method of Preparation
- Soak the yellow dried peas in a container overnight, which permits expansion. After the peas have expanded, you can boil the peas in a container with a little salt and the mentioned quantity of water. You can boil until the peas get soft.
- In a pan, you can simultaneously add oil. When the oil is hot, add ginger, garlic, and onion slices. Sauté until the onion turns golden brown. Then add tomatoes and green chillies. Sauté for a little while.
- Then add the boiled peas to this pan. Also, add coriander powder and cumin powder and let it boil. After this, add garam masala and coconut slices. Bengali Garam Masala would be better for this recipe. Garnish with tamarind chutney, coriander leaves, and onion pieces.
Lo! The amazing Ghugni snack is ready to serve. I really relished this exotic Eastern Indian snack. You may use dried white peas or black gram instead of dried yellow peas in this recipe. This is a very common snack in eastern states of Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, and Assam. Tamarind chutney mentioned here is optional but surely adds a unique flavour to the snack.
You can serve this snack with kurmura (puffed rice). Yet another equally tasty alternative is serving it with Onion pakoda.
Ram Niwas Garden Jaipur | Image Resource : aswana-cliche.blogspot.in
Description :- You must visit the Ram Niwas Bagh or the Ram Niwas Garden. It was a garden built by Raja Sawai Ram Singh way back in 1868. The garden is magnificent and covers an area of 33 acres. There are many lovely tourist locations in the vicinity. The garden is a great place to visit if you are touring Jaipur.
During my stay in Jaipur, I tried to relish dishes of all types. Throughout my stay one thing which I enjoyed a lot was the Mawa Kachori of Jaipur. The kachori is considered to be a famous and one of the most dishes of the state. No other state serves Mawa kachori with such great taste. I was excited to try out the dish and therefore I went on to the street shops to enjoy these with more delight.
Mawa Kachori | Image Resource : planetden.com
The The Mawa kachori is absolutely mouth watering and satiates the taste buds to the deep. I accept that I am an all time foodie and adding that I have a sweet tooth as well. My tongue always longs for foods that are sweet to taste and great for a snack. The mawa kachori is like a sweet dish prepared from maida which has the congregation of sugar syrup and mawa within it. The kachori is then fried deep with oil or butter. Sometimes the maw kachori is also fired with desi ghee. There are several restaurants in Jaipur which serve this delicacy and one cannot just get fully satisfied with all of these.
Apart from Mawa kachori, I also tried the pyaz ki kachori which is a fried dish kind of similar to the mawa kachori. But the later is salty to taste and is fired with onion and spice stuffing inside it. The kachori can be eaten with hari chutney. I tried onion kachori here as well. There is the special ghewar of Rajasthan which is yet another mouth watering sweet dish prepared fully from mawa and ghee. The simple fragrance of the pure butter used in the ghewar is bound to drive even the non-foodies into the food zone.
The Mawa kachori is quite affordable and is sold in small sweet shops besides the street. One of the top considerations of the foods sold in the street shops is the quality. No doubt they taste just heavenly and no other taste on the earth can beat it, but still I tried to eat from those corners where the food was served hot and was cooked right in front me. It was truly a delight munching Mawa kachori beside a street side food stall in Jaipur.