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Old 12th October 2019, 21:21   #226
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Around 40 Km which is not very far from Kolkata, this is a place for the food adventurers. It does not have historical significance, we came to know of it from Facebook for a specialty of its own

Name of the Place: Rabri Gram
District: Hoogly, West Bengal
Google Plus Code: P48R+FH Aniya, West Bengal
Otherwise just type "Rabri Gram" on google map and the location would be found at ease.

A brief background about the place
This is a small village of less than 100 families where majority of the households have their own Cows / Cowsheds (in Bengali Go-al গোয়াল) and as such are in the business of supplying milk and it byproducts to nearby areas. Also many of them also used to work in Sweet shops and factories in the vicinity. With the advent of modern supply chain network where a lot of raw materials of sweets and other milk related items get sourced from suburbs, the cowshed owners (in Bengali Goyla গয়লা ) realized that they can leverage their in-house milk supply and experience of working in sweet shops to their advantage by producing Rabri (রাবড়ি ) and mass exporting to surrounding areas. The Rabri they make are hence in their purest form most fresh. Around 35 households of this village are presently engaged in this production and they export this mainly to the surrounding shops of Sreerampore and Rishra. Of course they also do mass order supply for occasions and big shops in Kolkata, they have their own mechanism of delivery. Note I have no affiliation to them, just narrating back what I learnt from them.

The Visit
We could not hold ourselves back for long after seeing continued posts o Facebook Group of people making visits so finally on one fine Sunday decided to hit the roads. It was our usual group of friends who are always supportive on these type of insane road trip ideas.

Like every other foodicted heads would do, we planned our lunch at Azad Hind, NH2, Gopalpur (visited during Kolkata Monsoon Meet earlier this year) and planned to have the desserts in Rabri Gram.

Here is the group photo post lunch in front of Azad Hind
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On the way to Rabri Gram, this road good but if someone is coming from Kolkata directly there would be a different road
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the greens around
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Just outside Rabri Gram parked our ride, this road was under construction when we visited mid September. The GPS signal ended the route just here and right next to it there is a board with the name of Rabri Gram with a narrow concrete entrance road that goes into the village
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I walked into the village asking around for houses that make Rabri, finally got one that I liked and walked right into. They were welcoming and I decided to bring the car inside.

While inside the village
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Navigating through the concrete narrow road was a concerning task with water bodies on both sides
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but the multi terrain monitoring of the Innova came to good use here
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I was able to find a good place eventually to turn the car around, so others be mindful of the road if you plan to visit

Finally parked the car beside this temple
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while the ladies moved around the place
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there were eyes on the making process too
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Some videos of making, its a time consuming task where constant fanning is required to form the malai / স্বর and accumulate it on the side, it is what becomes the Rabri that we came for.




While we sat in the corridor of Jayanta Balti's home, we tasted some Rabri right out of their kitchen and bought close to 4KG for our homes, the Rabri was excellent to say the least. They gave us containers and we had also carried few with us, nothing returned empty
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A recommended place for the foodies of TBHP

Last edited by haisaikat : 12th October 2019 at 21:38.
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Old 13th October 2019, 07:34   #227
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by haisaikat View Post
Around 40 Km which is not very far from Kolkata, this is a place for the food adventurers.......A recommended place for the foodies of TBHP
Excellent post haisaikiat - would be much appreciated by the Bengali foodies in the forum! Being a probashi bangali, we are usually on the lookout for such nuggets. And during our bi/tri annual visits to Kolkata, we hope to add more such places to our itinerary.

Thanks again,
Shashanka
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Old 18th October 2019, 11:51   #228
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Happened to recently visit Shantiniketan in West Bengal. Was about 4-hour drive from Kolkata. We had rented an innova with a driver for the journey. The innova loaded with 4 adults and luggage scraped its bottom few places.

Some images attached:

1) Museum that displays many of the everyday things used by Tagore. It also has replica of Tagore's nobel prize medal. The original one's apparently been stolen.

2) The car used by Tagore (WBA 8689). A 1933 Humber

3) Yet another of the museums

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These are smartphone taken photos. Have taken more photos of the place too. Yet to upload and resize for posting here. May not get to it.
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Old 21st October 2019, 16:55   #229
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

If anyone wants to witness the grandeur of divine Ganga Arati without visiting the holy Benaras or Haridwar then look no further, it available right here in West Bengal and that too on the opposite side banks of Ganga river overlooking the Millenium Park in Kolkata.

Name of the Place: Ramkrishnapur Ghat
District: Howrah, West Bengal
Google Plus Code: H8CP+M8 Howrah, West Bengal
Otherwise just type "Ramkrishnapur Ghat" on google map and the location would be found at ease.

Ganga Arati
This is a ritual of offering prayer to the River Goddess Ganga as a sign of expressing gratitude and also upholding her as the Ma (mother) in significance of the countless utility the river offers to the life of millions. While it is more popular in cities like Haridwar or Benaras, the one that you will witness at the Ramkrishnapur Ghat of Howrah is no less than any grand experience. This happens every Saturday and Sunday evening, we went there on Sunday 13th October.

The Journey
The place is around 15 Km from my home at Dhakuria, Kolkata and one can reach there conveniently by following google maps diligently. The car can be temporarily parked just in front of the ghat if you have a chauffeur or otherwise the road being one-way if you go ahead around the corner just ahead from the Ghat the road takes a right turn and before it meets the main road again the left side of this road can be used for parking in front of multiple small scale factories that are usually closed in the evening of Weekends.

The Event
We reached the place following Google Maps around 5 pm and the place was not that crowded. The Ghat is divided into two parts, on the left the stepped ghat for getting down to the river properly with images of Gods and Goddesses ascribed on each wall of the hall just overlooking the steps. Cleanliness is average with people bathing, doing evening chants or even like us topping up our home supplies of holy water.

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To the right we have the ghat sloping down to the river with 5 decorated podiums created for the priests to stand on and perform the rituals of Ganga Arati. There were red carpets put on the one and single big sized step created for allowing people to sit down and watch the rituals and it extends for some more feet onto the slope for others to sit on the ground on top of the carpet. There were not many so we found a comfortable place and stationed ourselves.

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One can behold the beautiful Kolkata city skyline on the opposite side of the river.


At 5-10 pm they started playing recorded devotional tracks in the sound system and slowly crowd, mostly locals, started gathering. We took one video of the surrounding area from the ghat on the left.




Around 6 pm a group of singers boarded an elevated floor on the left ghat and started a concert with popular devotional narrations and songs cheered up the crowd in warming them up for the next 1 hour before the actual rituals could start. This group was actually doing a great job, sounded much alike Anup Jalota.

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Another video shot around this time with the concert in motion.



It was dark by then and a couple of bright halogens lit up the entire place and by 6-45 pm I could sense that not only are all seating places tightly occupied but now people are literally standing behind us who could not find a place to sit down.

Sharp at 6-55 PM five priests, dressed in traditional attire, approached the podiums and performed initial rituals before eventually boarding them.

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The Arati started right at 7pm and for the next 40 mins it was an experience to behold with several rounds of prayers being offered, with various kinds of aids from moving lighted brass lamps (Arati Diyas) of various types in clockwise motion to swaying Chamars.

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Sometimes they faced the river and sometimes towards the crowd, the moment people kept waiting to fire their shutters. Even one Diya the crowd was asked to light up for the Arati, there was absolute overwhelming enthusiasm especially the ladies grabbing the candles to light up all the wicks. And the crowd in full swing of the hour clapping and singing and swaying to match the tune of the air elevated the experience.

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Another video shot during this time



By 7-40 pm we stood up and started for our car as the Arati was almost finished and we wanted to avoid the rush at the end. It was an evening well spent in a long time in a different way. A must recommend event to witness on the weekends and if someone can book a boat from the Kolkata / opposite banks and witness floating right on the river then an even better view can be obtained, may be the ambiance may be missed to an extent. A final word, please forgive for the mobile pics, am no creative photographer

Last edited by haisaikat : 21st October 2019 at 17:19.
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Old 6th December 2019, 00:25   #230
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Sandakphu & Gote

Sandakphu is the highest peak of West Bengal at an altitude of 11,930 feet.

Tips- Sandakphu is dam cold during the night and people are prone to AMS attacks. Do acclimatize before reaching Sandakphu, and use 3-4 layers of clothes/ jackets to beat the cold at night.
There is no tap water available. Hotels give water in buckets and drums.
There is no electricity, in evening there is power backup till 11 pm & from 11 pm till morning there is no power backup.

When to visit - March/April for Rhododendrons. October/November to view the clear Kanchenjunga.
There can be snowfall between December- March and during snowfall roads may remain closed.
During monsoon roads are closed too.

Where to stay - Hotel Sherpa Chalet & the more newly built hotel Sunrise.

How to reach - Kolkata- Siliguri - Mirik - Simana - Manebhanjan- Chitrey - Tumling - Gairibas - Kalipokhri - Sandakphu - Gote.

From Manebhanjan, one needs to buy ticket from the Singalila National park office at the entry point.
Per person - Rs 100
Per Car - Rs 100
Per Still Camera - Rs 100
Per Video Camera- Rs 400

If one plans to take his own vehicle (It has to be a 4wd) then he has to take permission from the LandRover association too. They charge Rs 500 per car and they might ask you to hire a LandRover as a backup vehicle with your own car.
If the market is down they insist to hire a Landrover & if all their cars are booked they wont ask you! There is no written rule for this. It depends on their mood.

Rate of Land Rovers-
Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and back in same day - Rs 4,500
They charge Rs 1000 extra for night stay.

All the above rates i shared, are from 2019.

Road condition-

Till Gairibas road is steep, but in okay condition. A 2wd vehicle can be drive till here. The next 10 km to Bikeybhanjan is steep with boulders on road. This stretch demands 4wd at places. But for the last 4km from Bikeybhanjan to Sandakphu one will definitely need to engage the 4wd. Its very steep with boulders.

A video of the last 4 km-



From Sandakphu, Gote is just 2.5 km. One must visit this place during sunset for a 360 degree view above the clouds. After driving for 2 km towards Phalut, one need to take a left turn and drive for another 500 meter to reach Gote. Road till Gote is not much steep, but this stretch is filled with big boulders.

A small video from Manebhanjan to Gote and the descent on the steep incline from Sandakphu at the end.



Few pics-

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My travelogue on Sandakphu-

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...sandakphu.html (A weekend road-trip from Kolkata to Sandakphu)

Last edited by Samba : 6th December 2019 at 00:38.
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Old 9th December 2019, 01:28   #231
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

It was the 1st highway drive with my 3 months old son Aahan, so we planned a short nearby trip from Kolkata. My mother-in-law decided to visit her friend's in laws inherited rajbari at Mahishadal. So last weekend we planned for the same and went to Mahishadal rajbari, Phool Bagh at Mahishadal town. This palace was built in 1926 and a beautiful piece of French architecture. There are in total three palaces in Mahishadal town, among which this one is the youngest.
Approx 104 km from Kolkata, the royal stay at the palace with sumptuous food was a memorable experience for us.
We took three cars. My father-in-law’s Alto Lx 2010, his friends Zen lxi and my Sia.
We were total 10 people and stayed in two big palatial rooms.
They charged us Rs 5,000 per room & Rs 500 per person for food. Though we did an overnight trip, a day trip to this palace is pretty much possible too.

Route- Kolkata- Kolaghat- Nandakumar- Mahisadal

A pictorial tour of this trip is given below:
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by Sayata : 9th December 2019 at 01:43.
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Old 9th December 2019, 19:52   #232
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

How to book the rajbari? It it online or by phone call?
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Old 10th December 2019, 02:24   #233
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sukanta73 View Post
How to book the rajbari? It it online or by phone call?
You can mail in the below mentioned mail id
mahishadalrajbari@gmail.com for booking.
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Old 10th December 2019, 13:31   #234
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by Sayata View Post
You can mail in the below mentioned mail id
mahishadalrajbari@gmail.com for booking.

I just got to know that Mahishadal Rajbari offers night stay for tourists, seems interesting. Hope Ahaan has enjoyed a lot.
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Old 10th December 2019, 15:24   #235
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

It was 9th Nov 2019, we have scheduled a 1 night trip to Rimil Lodge, Jhilimili. We means 10 school friends without family. As the cyclone "BULBUL" was about to hit West Bengal coasts on 9th morning, we set off at 2 am, planning to reach the spot in early morning. We took 3 cars, 1 santro, 1 figo and 1 eon. We took the route Kolkata - Kolaghat - Kharagpur - Jhargram - Silda - Belpahari - Jhilimili. On the way we visited beautiful Khandarani Dam.



Rimil Lodge is very beautiful, amidst the dense forest side by side, cottage, tree house and double bed rooms are the types of accommodation, food is very tasty, medium budget, well maintained property, staffs are well behaved.



Next day we took the route Jhilimili - Talberia Dam - Ranibadh - Mukutmanipur. Here we spent some time, took lunch and return via Khatra - Durgapur - Shaktigarh - Kolkata.
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Old 10th December 2019, 21:21   #236
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

How is the road from Mukutmanipur to Jhargram? How much time it takes? Is it safe to drive with family in day time?
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Old 11th December 2019, 12:24   #237
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sukanta73 View Post
How is the road from Mukutmanipur to Jhargram? How much time it takes? Is it safe to drive with family in day time?

Mukutmanipur - Ambikanagar - Ranibadh - Sutan - Talberia - Jhilimili ----- This stretch is single lane, narrow and zig-zag, but in superlike condition, traffic is very less, you can easily maintain 80-85 km/hr, total stretch is 38 km, 40-45 minute is enough, advisable to drive only in daytime.


Jhilimili - Belpahari - Silda - Binpur - Jhargram ----- This stretch is also single lane, comparatively wider, but in average to bad shape, some big potholes are there, lots of localities are there, between Belpahari and Silda the road construction work is going on, before entering Jhargram a lot of traffic jam can happen. Total stretch is 68 km, can take more than 2 hrs depending upon the traffic. The stretch is completely safe in night also.

Last edited by soumiksett : 11th December 2019 at 12:40.
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Old 15th December 2019, 07:40   #238
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayata View Post
It was the 1st highway drive with my 3 months old son Aahan, so we planned a short nearby trip from Kolkata. My mother-in-law decided to visit her friend's in laws inherited rajbari at Mahishadal. So last weekend we planned for the same and went to Mahishadal rajbari, Phool Bagh at Mahishadal town. This palace was built in 1926 and a beautiful piece of French architecture. There are in total three palaces in Mahishadal town, among which this one is the youngest.
Approx 104 km from Kolkata, the royal stay at the :......
A lovely photologue and the photos of the Rajbari hotel are fascinating. It is certainly on our bucket list for the future!
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Old 28th December 2019, 11:41   #239
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Bengal Safari, Siliguri:
The place is located approx 10 km from Siliguri. One can visit from Siliguri by reserving a toto or auto depending on preference. We went from Coochbehar by our car. So cannot comment on the auto fare.

Timing:
9 am to 4 pm (Ticketing Time).

Tickets can be booked online. We opted for Grand Safari in AC Traveller. The Grand Safari includes Herbivore Safari, Black Bear Safari, Leopard Safari and Tiger Safari. Costs 200 per head. Also has options for individual safari. Children can enjoy a lot in the park. Has toy train also. Even though it is man made, but we enjoyed the place a lot. We could watch each species.

The safari takes place several times in a day. One can book according to his/her preference.

Now the photos:
Attached Images
                     
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Old 4th January 2020, 12:51   #240
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by indrasis_gun View Post
Bengal Safari, Siliguri:
We went from Coochbehar by our car.
I hear that in the Bengal Safari region, one can dry on the River Bed all throughout when the river is dried up ? What's your take on that ?
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