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Old 23rd April 2019, 04:21   #1
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Default Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

The Background
A road trip idea was on the mind for very long time but over years due to several reasons we could not materialize a plan including forming an ideal group. But surprisingly things turned around after our family grew with advent of our little one and we formed a group of very enthusiastic and energetic friends who are the best that one can expect for making any road trip happen.

The Plan and Route
After evaluating several nearby places in and around Kolkata that we could plan with a 8 month old kid, we locked on Taki on the banks of river Ichamati which is around 70 Kms from the city and takes an estimated time of a little over 2 hours to reach, its on the border of Bangladesh. The time to reach is higher due to not having any long highway stretch in the route except the shorter stretch of Basanti highway. We had made booking at Suhasini Guest House going by the word of mouth from friends.

There are several routes to Taki but our preference was the below one as our office is in this route in Leather Complex on Basanti Highway and we never dared to see beyond our office due to our busy schedule.

Dhakuria --> Anwar Shah By Pass Connector --> Choubaga --> Basanti Highway --> Parnasree Market --> Nimchi-->Bhebia --> Kamarpukur / Talpukur --> Taki

It is more like we wanted to explore what lies on the "other side" of Basanti. So with everything set, the destination, the great group, the means to go, rest of it followed naturally.

Day - 1

The Journey
We started around 8 am in the morning from our homes, picked up our friends by 8-30 am from Dhakuria and off we went in my trusted Hyundai Getz, stuffed from seat to boot. I was a bit skeptical before whether the car would be able to house everyone's belongings but my Getz did not disappoint. Half of the luggage was for the baby though.

That is him at the back gearing up for his next nap on the lap
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-fb_img_1558216920633.jpg

We had plans to initially stop by the famous S.S Snacks on AnwarShah Connector for breakfast but eventually decided to visit the "Jhups" in front of our office in leather complex which we frequent on usual days. After a break for 30 mins of severe fulfillment of our typical Bengalish expectations of what a proper breakfast should be we set forward once again by 10 am

The Basanti highway is otherwise very nice to drive except that its a undivided road with both lane cars and buses trying to overtake every now and then and it is what makes it dangerous. But then again I am used to this for our daily commute.

While cruising through Basanti Expressway, our daily office route
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190519wa0011.jpg

After we crossed the leather complex the road became congested in a few places and we had to slow down. But after that the two sides became very picturesque and it was a treat to eyes. The Malancha Market arrived, abode of fish and prawn retail market, and we took a left from there towards the Malancha bridge which will make us cross the river after some time.

Thereafter the road became easier with lesser congestion but we could not maintain a higher speed as it was residential places all along and every now and then there were speed breakers while we moved ahead of Kamarpukur. Finally after some more time the sight of Taki R.K Mission charged us up giving the hint we are close to our final destination.

Eventually we reached our hotel by 1 pm, the roads around the river banks are narrow and you have to maneuver and be calculative with your ride while finding your place. The hotel had a lawn where the car could be parked and on other side of it overlooking the river. The view is very nice and we quickly settled for river facing rooms.

The view from our rooms
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-fb_img_1558216905378.jpg

Actually you can see Bangladesh on the other side. While we made our way to hotel reception, I was approached by a Toto driver and I went ahead and booked him for evening site seeing. The best time to visit Taki is during Durga Puja where Bisharjan / submerging of Durga idol from both the Bengals (Indian and Bangladesh) happens, its difficult to get rooms at that time and it is frequented by even foreigners.

Our Stay and Site Seeing

Soon we had our lunch, note that they can serve you lunch or dinner only on prior order and you may not always get an assured meal by walking into the restaurant without a prior booking. The food was really great and cooked to our liking, some keywords need special mention (Bengalis will understand for sure) like Chingri Malaikari, Kosha Mangsho, Koolfi.

On the ground floor of the hotel where the restaurant is there is a small lawn with swings on the side facing the river. We were quick to sit there and take a few clicks.
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-fb_img_1558216728607.jpg

We headed to our rooms for a quick relaxing hour before our evening site seeing. There were problems with the AC remote, my Redmi phone with IR blaster came to the rescue. I do have one.more thing to complain for, the water in the toilet is slippery and has a pungent smell, may be not adequately filtrated from the river source. We did keep hence abundance of bottled waters like Bisleri to keep us distant to the extent possible.

We started the local tour around 4 pm on that Toto, dodging pedestrians and pet cattles on the ever narrow roads of Taki we went ahead. It was March and a bit hot and humid. Fortunately the Toto turned out to be just enough for our group, when not all of us are slim and trim including plus size ambassadors like me.

Here are pics of some of the places we visited, some we decided to give a pass considering the frequently changing moods of our beloved son.

Taki Rajbari (Royal Palace of Taki), recently some renovations made for a TV serial shooting
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Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190427wa0012.jpg

This is the place where shooting of a Bengali movie named "Bisharjan" has happened
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Golpatar Jongol (Mangrove Forest), this needs a special mention. Since the place is more closer to the Bangladesh border at least one in the group must carry a government id card which must be submitted in original at a BSF checkpoint on the way. Thereafter within a few minutes you will reach the entry point which is made like a view point.

An Elevated walkway takes you to the other side of the jungle that opens up on the river banks. A must go, especially the path within the dense jungle.
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The banks of the river that remains Submerged during high tides, this is the other side of the jungle
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190427wa0010.jpg

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Our final spot of visit, Taki Eco Park, there were a few rides like paddle boat, but we preferred to stick to the small sanctuary inside and some play grounds. The weather had become better by this time with the sun setting and a cool breeze with soothing touch blowing in.
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190501wa0027.jpg

The Evening
We returned back to hotel and decided to spend the evening by the fairs at the banks. It was full of hawkers and food stalls. Famous item here is the Gamcha (towel), we made sure we had one from the hawkers along with some snacks, after all Bengalis have to keep the food industry alive.

We returned back to the hotel post that and geared up for the evening adda, first it was on the open balcony attached to the rooms, the breeze was almost blowing us back, it was such a nice feeling. Then we moved to the common balcony that was bigger. Eventually we settled inside our rooms. Had plans for a movie show but technical glitches held us back.

Eventually went for dinner and by 11 pm we were done and returned to our rooms for signing off for the day.

A major problem here is the internet connectivity and learned the reason why we keep getting EDGE / 2G most of the time is by intentional restriction in border areas by BSF. You would be considering yourself lucky if you manage to get connected to internet while staying inside your rooms.

Day 2 -The Return

We woke up afresh on the next day morning, with the thought of trying out the boat ride on Ichamati river. But soon after we completed the breakfast, we realized that boat ride may not be that great idea considering the scorching heat and the little one with us. So focused on packing our bags and decided to have our lunch some place back in Kolkata.

The weather was so unpredictable that the last 30 minutes of our stay in the hotel, it became cloudy and the evening like breeze was back. Anyways our minds were already set and we eventually bid good bye to Taki and started our return by 10 am.

We followed the exact same route as it was during the onward journey.

We had heard from few colleagues that on Basanti Highway there is a nice cottage resort within the greens names Sundar Gram (The Beautiful Village). Decided to make a visit. It is a few kilometres from Bhojerhat and we need to take a turn from Basanti, Google Map knows the way.

The place is very nice and there are abundance of cottages inside, some used for gatherings, some for dining and some for stays (AC available). Took a few shots and made some inquiries and left. Some repair work was happening there with things scattered around the entrance gate.

Just outside Sundargram, its green all around
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190501wa0025.jpg

Inside Sundargram
Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border-img20190427wa0022.jpg

The moment we came back to the Basanti Highway I started feeling a leftish pull in the steering. A passing tempo pointed out that one of our rear tyres is flat. I pulled over to one side off the road immediately. The insurance had 24-7 road assistance but they could not confirm the same when I called them and Hyundai roadside assistance asked for 800 rupees for a flat tyre replacement. Decided to drop them and go by self, took help of a passing tempo driver and he was very kind to take us through where I was badly stuck. Actually I could not unscrew the tyre, was trying in the wrong direction. Observed the flat tyre, a very big metal piece had pierced it, most likely from the repair area in Sundar Gram.

Well, in 30 mins we were back on our feet, i mean my beloved Getz was, and continued for the remaining journey back to Kolkata.

Around 1 pm we entered Jameson Inn Shiraz, thought it would be a nice place to meet our Mughlai mood and a good place to visit with kids. Next 90 mins, it was a one sided battle on the table, Biriyani-s, Kababs, Firnis all surrendered to our hunger. Best part of it, our friends sponsored the whole treat.

We left in a happy mood, dropped everyone home by 4 pm and reached our home by 4-30 pm thereby bringing an end to a memorable and excellent weekend trip.

Thank you all for your patience in reading my first travelogue.

Last edited by haisaikat : 19th May 2019 at 12:33.
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Old 19th May 2019, 13:54   #2
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Default re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 19th May 2019, 14:44   #3
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Default re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

Good travelogue, haisaikat, but where are the photos of your steed?! No travelogue is complete without those

Before embarking on a road trip, it's always a good practice to unscrew all the lug nuts on all tires and putting them back on. This is so that:
a. You get acquainted with the process resulting in faster recovery time when a flat tire pops up (pun intended)
b. In case any of the lug nuts don't unscrew, you can get it attended to by a mechanic and hence avoid being stranded in an unknown place later

Regarding the lack of good network connectivity in Taki, is it the same with all service providers?

Last edited by boniver : 19th May 2019 at 15:01. Reason: Correction
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Old 19th May 2019, 22:16   #4
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Default re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

Nice writing. May you please also mention the name of the hotel you stayed and an approximate room rent? I had only visited Taki once many years ago, for a brief six or seven hour stay in one winter morning and that was during an office picnic. This time I shall like to visit it for a couple of nights, being accompanied by family. Arindam, one esteemed member of our TBHP community has his ancestral house there and has asked me several times to pay a visit. But now I feel determined to visit it, once the monsoon showers start.
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Old 20th May 2019, 00:11   #5
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Default re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

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Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
May you please also mention the name of the hotel you stayed and an approximate room rent? I had only visited Taki once many years ago, for a brief six or seven hour stay in one winter morning and that was during an office picnic. This time I shall like to visit it for a couple of nights, being accompanied by family. Arindam, one esteemed member of our TBHP community has his ancestral house there and has asked me several times to pay a visit. But now I feel determined to visit it, once the monsoon showers start.
Thanks. We had stayed at Suhasini Guest House. its actually a hotel. AC river facing room rent was around Rs 1200. Food at actuals. There are even costlier options like Sonar Bangla if you long for a top class comfort and service. We did like Suhasini except tap water that I have already called out, not sure if its the same everywhere. There are also several homestays which are fully furnished at half the price of costlier hotels. I would say, if a fellow BHPian is inviting it is to be assumed that the intent is to make you stay at his place and not make you stay at hotels

Monsoon time is good, but I would suggest if you have the BHPian invitation open go for the Durga Puja Doshomi to witness the Bhashan on both sides of the border at one go.

And yes Taki is enough for 2-3 nights maximum. Most of the local tour is suitable for afternoon and early evening until sunset and can be covered in 1 day for the most popular ones and may be another morning or afternoon for the farther ones like Nirala Garden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
Good travelogue, haisaikat, but where are the photos of your steed?! No travelogue is complete without those

Before embarking on a road trip, it's always a good practice to unscrew all the lug nuts on all tires and putting them back on. This is so that:
a. You get acquainted with the process resulting in faster recovery time when a flat tire pops up (pun intended)
b. In case any of the lug nuts don't unscrew, you can get it attended to by a mechanic and hence avoid being stranded in an unknown place later

Regarding the lack of good network connectivity in Taki, is it the same with all service providers?
Thanks. Ha ha ha, that was funny. Car photo somehow missed, like I said this was after a very long time. There is another TL on the making for Bishnupur trip we made, it will have what you are asking for.

Unscrewing all nuts and putting them back on before every long trip? Really? Pay some respect to the lazy soul please.

Network was indeed poor on Airtel, Jio, Vodafone. We did not have BSNL though.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 12:18   #6
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Default Re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

Good travelogue.
I would recommend a child seat for your son as it is very dangerous to just hold a child or to let him be loose while driving.
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Old 24th May 2019, 10:15   #7
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Default Re: Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border

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Originally Posted by Lobogris View Post
Good travelogue.
I would recommend a child seat for your son as it is very dangerous to just hold a child or to let him be loose while driving.
Thanks for pointing this out, actually the car was full so there was no additional place for keeping a kid's car seat. Also as they grow up they become more restless and difficult to keep restrained in a seat. This travelogue is from last year and so are two more yet to be published. He is almost 2 years now. Any other suggestions are also welcome, we have not travelled a lot with him, would love to hear more tips regarding traveling with kids.

Last edited by haisaikat : 24th May 2019 at 10:17.
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