Team-BHP > Travelogues

  Search this Thread
Old 2nd November 2023, 13:08   #1
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

The thought of penning down this travelogue rose amidst a narrow lane in Park Street of Kolkata where I made a promise to myself that if my work, which took me there, would be successful, I shall write a short travelogue.

Otherwise, what I am about to post is not something exquisite or extraordinary, but just a series of normal collection of photos of food & other places of interest !

Intro to what went before

In the first week of October, I had a crucial work involving traveling to Chennai and Kolkata.

Chennai, being the first city of my work and its cultural proximity to Telugus, never felt different. And it was only 1 day hence, could not travel around much !

But Kolkata, altogether, is a different ballgame. Being a lover of history, art and cinema, most of the literature I read or saw would be so much focused on the first Capital of the British India and notwithstanding, it always remained a city of mystery and awe.

So going to this First Presidency City ( the others being erstwhile Bombay & Madras: Calcutta was the Primus inter pares/First among equals) is an experience in itself for me without doing much.

I take this opportunity to present to the Tbhpians, one famous Telugu Song penned by Late Veturi Sundara Ramashastri about Calcutta for a movie, which can be dubbed as the Calcutta's Theme song - sung by Hariharan , composed by Manisharma.

The song acts as a musical bridge between two distant cultures through the realms of Music, Art and History ( The Bengalis and Telugus and connoisseurs of art would appreciate the song and the lyrics )


Rough translation :

" Yamaha nagari Kalakatthapuri - Oh, Great city , Calcutta !
Namaho Hoogly , Howrah Varadhi - I bow down to the Hoogly and Howrah Bridge !

Chiru Thyaga Raju nee Kruthine Palikenu Madhi - The mind calls on the Krithi of the Little Thyagaraja ( The lyricist calls the composer of the Krithi from which the song's tune was inspired - ( Krithi ), - Patnam Subramanyam Iyer , as Jr.Thyagaraja , as he was a beloved disciple of Thyagaraja

Netaji Puttina Chota… Geetanjali Poosina Chota
Paadanaa… Telugu Lo -

I shall sing a song in Telugu , where Nethaji was born and where Geetanjali bloomed. (though Bose was born in Cuttack, his whole life was centered around Calcutta

Aa Hamsa Paadina Paate… Aanandhudu Choopina Baata,... Saaganaa

- the celestial song of (Ramakrishna Parama)hamsa, is the path shown by Vivek(Anand) on which I shall proceed...

Padhuguru Parugu Theesindi Patnam , Brathukutho Veyyi Pandhem ,Kadaku Cheraali Gamyam Kadhali Poraa-

The multitude in City is continuously moving on towards the Destiny that awaits at the end where life remains a gamble, so move on...

Okaritho Okariki Mukhaparicheyamulu
Dhorakani Kshnamula Busy Busy Brathukula
Gaji Biji Urukula Parugulalo

- Millions of humans yet no one knows their neighbour , in their Busy lives with not even a spare second filled up with chaotic Haste

( the previous 2 stanzas talk about the omnipresent invisibility of humans in the Urbanism )

Bengali Kokila Baala… Teluginti Kodalu pilla
Maalini, Sarojini

The Nightingale of India , who's from Bengal and married into Telugu Family , Smt.Sarojini Naidu D/O Aghoranath Chattopadhyay)

Rojantha Suryudi Kindha… Raathrantha Rajini Gandha Saagani

- As the Day goes by under the sun, the night is full of Rajni Gandha - talks about the Scent of tube Rose - Ubiquitous smell pervading the streets of Kolkata ) , life goes on. Let it be.

Padha guru Premale Leni Lokam… Devadamaarku Maikam
Sharannavalaabhishekam Telusukora

- Realise this brother! a world sans love, Intoxicated like Dev Da(s)
under the Sprinkle of Novels of Sharat ( Chandra Chatopodyaya) !

So the Sharat Novels were so famous in the 1960s in Andhra that most of them mere made into movies and many telugu families had named their children after bengali surnames like Chatterjee, Bannerjee..)

(kalalaki nelavata - a place of dreams ( cinema) ;

Kalalaki koluvata - a house of Arts ( literature,drama,painting...) ;

Vidhulaki selavata - Holidays for Work - taking a subtle dig at the 30 year Communist rule where employees go for strike everyday

Athidula Godavata - the noise made by the Guests - representing the (almost) 1 crore Bangladeshi refugees poured into India during 1971 War and most of them stayed back in Calcutta)

Vandematharame Anna Vanga Bhuthalame Minna
Jaathike Geethiraa

- Kudos to the land of Vanga (Bengal) where Vandemataram, the Indian National Song, has Arisen !

Maathangi Kaali Nilaya Chowrangi Rangula Duniya Needhiraa

- The land that houses the Goddess Kali ( the Darkest ) is also the land that houses the colorful dreams of Chowringee ( Chowringhee being the heart of Calcutta was illuminated with gas lamps even in 1857 buzzing with activities)

Vinuguru Sathyajithre Sithara… SD Burman Ki Dhaara

- Listen to the Flow composed by SD Burman and the Stars of Satyajit Ray

Teresa Ki Kumara… Kadhali RaaRaa.

- Oh son of Teresa, march along ! "


This song, I reckon, beautifully represents Kolkata.

So, with all careful preparation for the assignment in my mind and a tempered excitement of witnessing the First Cosmopolitan City of Modern India in my heart, I set out !

Last edited by poised2drive : 16th November 2023 at 15:40.
poised2drive is offline   (27) Thanks
Old 4th November 2023, 09:21   #2
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Day 1 :

I hopped onto the Rajadhani in Vijayawada that traverses between Hazrat Nizamuddin & Chennai Central, which departed at 3:30 PM and reached Chennai at 9 PM on dot.

The Train covered a distance of 450 KM in 5.5 Hours, which is the fastest I ever knew in the Indian Trains. I straightaway went to my hotel, slept peacefully and woke up the next day to finish the first leg of my work, which was done before 10 AM.

I wanted to visit the Govt. Museum in Chennai, but it remains closed on Friday. I also wanted to go to Mamallapuram/Mahabalipuram, but since my flight to Kolkata was early next morning, I hesitated , which, I realised later, was a mistake.
I am currently reading -

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-lords-deccan.jpeg

- where I learnt that Mahabalipuram was commissioned from the immense wealth obtained from the spoils of the Pallava Narasimhavarman's Seize of Badami in 642 CE resulting in the death of Pulakeshi II , the Chalukyan Emperor ( And I visited Badami a few weeks back :Travelogue here-[ (Through the Age of the Imperial Karnataka - From Magnificent Capitals to Begrimed Settlements)
It would have made my travel arc more complete.

Anyway, I searched for cafes around me and found one in walkable distance.

While (Reading) Writing & Food have always been my things , Coffee emerged recently. With nothing much to do for the rest of the day, I walked to the cafe under the Afternoon Sun amidst blaring traffic and surprisingly , I found the walk pleasant. It must be the October else, the Chennai weather is atrociously famous for its humidity, though I also work in Vijayawada, which houses as worse ( or much worse) climate and hence, my body must have been acclimatised

As I walked into the cafe, it was bustling with activity. Since I was single, I could find a table easily. It had the tables to LHS, Prep.Area to the RHS and kitchen further beyond the Prep. area . Straight down the entrance into the inner portion of the Cafe has rows of books neatly placed . So it is a bookstore cum Cafe. And it was heartening to see that good number of people were interested in the books as well.

I ordered a Flammkuchen.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-20231027_141900.jpg

It is made of Focaccia stuffed with generous amount of cheese, chicken, vegetables and pineapple . Though it seemed heavy, I gobbled it up as this was my first meal.

I washed it down with Black Coffee as I was sure if I wouldn't have it , I'd have to sleep in the cafe itself.

After the "Pet ki Pooja", I checked out the books and found one interesting title -

I read a couple of pages and was instantly drawn to it. I wanted to buy , but I already had brought kindle and other book to accompany me and I thought I shall not buy a book before completing the earlier one ( which I broke in this very trip, later :P ) .

I thought I could walk to Marina Beach but changed my mind, hopped on an MTC Bus and got back to the hotel.

There was a book shop nearby the hotel that was selling imported books on weight basis. They were all hardbound with detailed pictures and I thought they would make a good collection in the lobbies of hotels/guesthouses/offices . Also, it's a good starting point too for Children to develop a reading habit.

In the night, searched for food joints around, zeroed on Sweetsoul Buddha Bowls and instead of going, swiggied Shades of Green (Chicken) , a healthier compensation for the junk I ate in the afternoon.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-photo_20231105-12.38.01.jpeg

I was impressed by the concept of this bowl- Quinoa, Greens and Boiled Chicken: almost a perfect diet.

After a healthy and hearty diet, I planned to sleep early for the next day flight , but as usual, I slept late !

Last edited by poised2drive : 12th November 2023 at 16:34.
poised2drive is offline   (13) Thanks
Old 5th November 2023, 23:19   #3
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
Day 1 In Kolkata

Day 2

I woke up early without much fuss, which is usual to me given my weekly travels between Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

I went to the airport, had sumptuous breakfast in the lounge, boarded the flight and slept until it took me to where I wanted and then, I was in the CITY of JOY!

My hotel was the Park Hotel on Park Street, very close to the Park Metro Station. I thought it would be easy to take a metro, but it seems Kolkata Airport is still not connected by Metro. I enquired at the front desk in the airport where I was advised me to take a bus to Dum Dum Metro and there, catch one.

Anyway, I reached Noapara station instead of Dum Dum and took a metro towards Kavisubhash route on which Park Street lies. On the way, one of my first instinctual observations of the city was that Kolkata still seemed to be behind 20 to 30 years when compared to the other metros of India. There were proper semi-urban settlements lying in ramshackle in close proximity to the airport.

As I got onto the metro, I realized the Kolkata Metro is the oldest metro in India, which was evident from the conditions of tracks and neighborhood, though later I realized it was much neater than it could have been.

I reached the hotel , got a room and took a nice afternoon nap !

The hotel room looking over the Freemason's Building that seems to be more than 100 year old ( unlike any other star hotel I stayed, this was amidst old properties and as per the staff, the hotel itself is a 50 Year old one).
The room was not spacious but sufficed my needs.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-room.jpg

I enquired with a friend about places to eat and visit around Park Street. As per his suggestions, I went out for Dinner at Mocambo.

It was walkable from the hotel and as I walked through the pavement, the city has whole different vibe. One of the glaring first observations I had is that people smoked a lot , atleast more than Hyd/Chennai/B'luru/Delhi ! The footpath was lined with booksellers and other items , which was heartening, guessing that so many book sellers must tantamount to decent book buying community.

As I reached the restaurant, it was brimming with crowd. And as usual, being a single man, I was given a table and I ordered Chicken Steak with Mashed potato.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-mocambo.jpg

The restaurant was crowded and noisy as it was a weekend. The ambience was plush with velvet themed interiors. Owing to the presence of the restaurant in the commercial street, the carpet area was tightly packed with tables and may be felt claustrophobic. The service was prompt.

The food was good, but nothing exceptional. The price was a bit high as it seemed to be an upscale restaurant, but no complaints.

After the dinner, I wanted to immerse myself in the aura of this Colonial City and the neighborhood was also appealing. So I set out to discover the Saranis of Kolkata. The eponymous Park street was lit by the Dasara decorations though the roads were empty and peaceful and I thought it was how it was ( and I realized it was an exception).

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-streets-calm.jpg

I reckon, to truly experience a city, one has to walk down through the streets , to witness the architecture and soak the urban milieu and feel the vibe of the city. Though it must be carried out in the peace of night or yet, if it is done in the day in this part, the senses may get overwhelmed.
The Saranis reminded me of the old European style public streets that I see in the world war movies

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-saranis.jpg

This ancient banyan tree on bylane of parkstreet serving as the symbol of the antiquity of the pavement on which it is standing

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-banyan.jpg

The Bengal club, estd. 1827 ( As I read, the 1st Governor General of India was its 2nd patron and almost all subsequent governor generals were its members . The football legend, Pele also attended this club)

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-bengal-club.jpg

One interesting observation that I had is that amidst all those bustling commercial buildings, there are residential apartments lying deep inside like a heart protected in the chamber of lungs, with a narrow passage into the building parked with cars of the residents protected by high compound walls. The by lanes are dark though the light from the TV screens of residents on higher floors drives away the gloominess of the shadows showing the presence of life. I reckon, after a decade or so, all these residential places shall give away to more commercial spots just like any other urban space.

As I walked in the lane of US Embassy nearby, which lies on Ho chi Minh Sarani, the irony was not lost on me. To name the lane of the ( second oldest) US embassy after someone who defied the might of the US, was a trick played by the then ruling communist Govt. of Bengal.

And while returning to the room, the book - Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ( that piqued my interest in the Writers café in Chennai, was bought from the streets of Kolkata ( which you can see in the image of the room )

Last edited by poised2drive : 12th November 2023 at 16:40.
poised2drive is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 9th November 2023, 18:30   #4
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
Day 2 of Kolkata

Day 3

The first Place on my list was the Indian Museum, which was just a 5 min walk from the hotel. Though I have always been a lover of history, I never went to a proper museum apart from a handful of small local museums connected to a specific place ( barring Salarjung Museum, again which is mostly the collection of exclusive objects of Nizam Period , but not a proper museum).

But Indian Museum, founded in 1814, taking roots from the Asiatic Society of Bengal, is a proper museum that we always read in our books. Of course, it is the oldest and largest in India ( 9th Oldest Museum in the World).

"It has six sections comprising thirty five galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Indian art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology and economic botany. Many rare and unique specimens, both Indian and trans-Indian, relating to humanities and natural sciences, are preserved and displayed in the galleries of these sections. In particular the art and archaeology sections hold collections of international importance."

While buying an entry ticket, please remember that we also have to buy a special ticket for Cellphone camera / Videography as needed . Photography in the Bharhut gallery and Egyptian gallery is prohibited.

As we enter, the Maurya Era statues of Ashokan Lion Capital and the Wishfulfilling tree welcome the visitors.

The collection is just not limited to historical artefacts, but samples/species/models of Geology , Zoology, Botany, Indian Art at an incredibly broader and deeper levels are at display. The corridors are dotted with ancient/middle age sculpture on one side, a trunk of a prehistoric tree (million year old, IIRC).

Each gallery has so many objects on display that you are literally bombarded with infographics and you need to take time to digest it gradually or otherwise will be overwhelmed.

It was tough to control myself from taking pictures of everything I saw and tried to enjoy what I was seeing.

Some pictures for viewing pleasure -

The entrance of the museum

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-indian-museum.jpg

Long Corridors flanked by sectioned halls reminds of a palatial mansion.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-museum.jpg

IIRC, stuffed remains of big game hunted during one of the Colonial Hunting expeditions accompanied by the Indian Royals

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-stuffed-ani.jpg

a Gupta Era Thorana - this is a typical arch decorating the entrances of the temple- the left side goddess represents the Ganga standing on a makara, while the goddess on the right side represents the Yamuna standing on a tortoise- their presence represents that feet of people entering the premises is cleaned by the holy waters of Ganga and Yamuna. This is almost an ubiquitous representation in ancient Indian temples and this characteristic was even observed in the temples of Badami- talk about the uniformity of the cultural values and aesthetics.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-arch-gupta.jpg

Partial Remains of about 2000 year old Amaravati Chakra of Satavahanas of Andhra Pradesh ( the place from where I come from )

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-chakra-amaravati.jpg

The universal calendar image that adorns the walls of our businessmen - Gajalakshmi and Ganesha - 10th Century CE

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-gajalaks.jpg

The Ascent of the Man ( ignore the anachronistic human- yours truly, who could not stop grinning as he was in the gallery of one of his most favourite fields of study - Evolutionary Anthropology )

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-mans-journey.jpg

An interesting form of religious figurine - 10th Century CE Ganeshani/Vinayaki statue from Bihar -

could have been a part of pantheon of Tantric Sects / female Shakti form of Shakti. Vinayaki is also a part of Buddhist/Jain transitional goddess called Ganapathihridaya !

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-ganeshini.jpg

Sculpture of Mahishasura Mardhini - 10th century

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-mahisha.jpg

11th Century Varaha Statue -

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-varaha-10.jpg

this is the 6th century Adivaraha from the Badami Cave temples ( just for showing the cultural proximity )

A bunch of 10th Century Statues belonging to the Era of Tripartite Struggle of Kannauj -

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-10th-century-statues.jpg

Around 1800 year Old Coin of Satavahanas belonging to the Era of Vasista Putra Pulomavi

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-satavahanas-coion.jpg

1600 year old Gold Coin from the Golden age of India- Gupta Era

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-gupta-coin.jpg

Gandhara style of Sculpture - IIRC , belonging to the Kushana age - Yakshis standing on Dwarves: Please check out the right most statue of Yakshi who seems to carry a handbag style box.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-yakshi-dwarf.jpg

I entered the museum about 11:30 am and exited at about 3:30 pm and I hurried through many exhibits due to hunger and exhaustion. I believe one can send easily 2 days in the museum if they have the time and interest.

I searched for an eating spot , found a quaint burger spot in walkable distance in the adjacent lane of the Indian museum - Burger You, located on Sudders road -

The place got good reviews. When I reached the spot, I was surprised by its location. Housed in a narrow lane inside an old shopping complex , it is manned by 2 men- the Chef cum owner and his help. I ordered chicken burger and I asked for vegetables instead of fries for which was served along.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-burger-you.jpg

The burger was great. The place is small with just a couple of tables but decently maintained. The owner is an interesting chap and will happily indulge in conversations.

I walked to the hotel after the burger, prepared a nice masala chai from the condiments offered by the Room pantry.

While walking back , I found this heritage hotel housed in a bungalow constructed in 18th century -,_Kolkata

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-heritage-hotel.jpg

In the evening, I wanted to check out one of the most famous restaurants in Kolkata- Petercat , but due to the weekend, it was totally crowded and hence went to Ping's Orient Cafe and ordered some chicken rice - forgot the name :P (I hope )

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-hot.jpg

Though it took some time to find a solo table, the food was nice. It isa bar cum restaurant and is a loud place- good place to hangout with friends, I reckon.

Post dinner, I walked around a for a bit, had an Icecream from Naturals, went back to the room and slept.

Last edited by poised2drive : 15th November 2023 at 13:03.
poised2drive is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 9th November 2023, 18:35   #5
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
Day 3 in Kolkata

Day 4 - Monday

With the analysis paralysis, I wasted half a day and headed directly to Peter Cat for lunch.

The restaurant had still decent crowd, but not as much as the previous night. I found a table and ordered their famous Chelo Kebab.

Again, the food was good, but nothing exceptional . I guess all these renowned items suffer with a form of
- having too many expectations .

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-petercat.jpg

Post lunch, I set out to Victoria Memorial (VM) on foot via Maidan- literally a maidan - huge swathe of open ground in the centre of city often called as Lungs of Kolkata.

the first sight of the Victoria Memorial through the greenery of the Maidan.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-pic-longshot.jpg

As I walked to the VM, I found out that the Museum remains closed on Monday and only entrance into the premises is allowed. I took a ticket for entering the park.

The VM is a majestic marble building commissioned to commemorate the reign of Victoria, one of the most influential eras of the Modern World that had political, cultural and economic impacts throughout the world. Conceived by Curzon in 19010, construction completed in 1921 and it seemed it was not funded by the Govt., but the funds were donated from the politicians, Govt Officials, kings and from common public too. Designed on Indo-Saracenic architectural style, taking design cues from the Taj Mahal, it is 330 * 220*184 Feet, an imposing structure surrounded by 64 acre magnificent gardens.

After a walk around the VM through the gardens and some photos of the exterior of the structure, I hired the legendary Yellow Ambassador from the entrance of the VM for a trip to sightsee the Vidyasagar sethu, the Rabindra sethu ( Howrah Bridge), the eponymous Howrah Station, Eden Gardens, Writers Building and then back to Park street for Rs 600/- . He gave me wrong information regarding Trams and could have dropped me Esplanade.

look at the parallel parking- Max ultra pro mode.
The cars were parked like this for at least a KM with literally the fronts touching the rears. I was wondering how they take their cars park- is it by pulling it like a Chair onto the road?

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-20231030_174730.jpg

The British have obsession with lions, given the Barbary lion is the unofficial national animal of England.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-top.jpg

Statue of the Queen seated in front of the building. This structure has impressive motifs on both the sides

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-sitting.jpg

Descriptive motifs indicating the colonial imagery on the exteriors of the VM

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-ext-char.jpg

Some more lion motifs on the exterior walls. One can observe the Lion Finials throughout the roof of the building

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-lions.jpg

A statue on the South side inside the entrance of the building - appears to be like a Greek Philosopher.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-vm-statue.jpg

yours truly with the VM

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-self-wiht-vm.jpg

After witnessing Kolkata's frenzy and some mindboggling chaos and honking, I returned to the room after having a chicken steak from Burger You .

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-steak.jpg

Last edited by poised2drive : 16th November 2023 at 15:34.
poised2drive is offline   (13) Thanks
Old 15th November 2023, 16:31   #6
poised2drive's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vijayawada-HYD
Posts: 482
Thanked: 1,266 Times
Day 5

Day 4 of Kolkata

My task was in the forenoon of the day and I was thinking I might have to spend a good part of the day at that place.

But it was a great day. I successfully finished the task before 11 in the morning and had till 6 in the evening as my flight was at 8pm.

So I set out again to the Victoria Memorial to see what I missed yesterday.

It has 6 galleries in total
1. The entrance gallery consisting of the construction photos and miniature models of the VM .

To the right of it, there are majestic oil painting canvasses by the Westerners who captured the Early Modern India through their spectacular brushstrokes.

One of the largest oil canvas paintings in the world : 23-ft wide by 16.5-ft high masterpiece by Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin shows richly caparisoned elephants advancing majestically with horses and footmen in a procession in front of the Amber Chowpar in Jaipur in 1876. The Prince of Wales and Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur are seated on the first elephant. Done during the British Raj, the painting was originally the property of Edward Malley of New Haven in the US. It was acquired by the Maharaja of Jaipur and presented to the Victoria Memorial in 1905.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-large-oil-canvas.jpg

Delhi in Calcutta . This is too a huge canvas.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-redfort.jpg

The Piano which was used by Victoria during her childhood.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-piano.jpg

A group of paintings of Serene India of 19th century from the eyes of British painters

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-paintings-3.jpg

And inside the building lies the Durbar gallery where the statue of Victoria adorns the grand central hall of the building with its decorated interiors - would have certainly awed the audience when it was thrown open to public.

Notable to say about the 2 proclamations made during the Durbars held in Calcutta before the capital was moved to Delhi.

One can notice the change in the carefully worded proclamations

The First proclamation made in 1858 talks about respecting the wishes of native rulers , pointing directly to the bloodshed and bitterness of the First war of Indian Independence in 1857

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-proclamat.jpg

The second proclamation talks of the happiness of the people , though as ironic as it sounds, no doubt the British has introduced the concept of superiority of law and its due procedure that would eventually free the common man from the tyranny of the royalty.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-procl2.jpg

There is collection of different kind of arms of Late Maratha Era.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-arms.jpg

Then we move to the next gallery has displays of Canons captured from French and other Indian Kingdoms in Battle of Plassey, the Great theodolite and busts of certain Governor Generals.

A Brass canon captured during the Battle of Plassey

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-brass-canon-gun-plassey.jpg

George Everest’s Great Theodolite used in the great trigonometrical survey of India by George Everest.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-theodolite.jpg

A couple of heavy canons captured by the British from the French.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-20231031_145057.jpg

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-french-canon.jpg

The other gallery at the left consists of collection of paintings of

The First floor has the newly opened Biplobi Bharath- Revolutionary India where the evolution of Indian Revolutionaries in various parts of India was displayed along with many documents and old newspaper clippings containing the details of the acts of the Revolutionaries.

One of the guns owned by a revolutionary of the HSSR

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-hssr-gun.jpg

A paper clipping from one of the oldest Revolutionary newspaper - Bandemataram

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-bandemataram.jpg

A view from the 1st floor of the VM onto the Gardens on South side

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-view-vm.jpg

One of the most iconic memorials that represents the land of the Bengal and their love for their language - the languages' martyr memorial with the Birla Planetarium and St.Pauls' Cathedral in the background.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-birla.jpg

Kolkata was not just the Colonial UK's second most important city ( only after London) , but the Golden Goose. the ELDorado of the British. They literally hit the jackpot when they won the Battles of Plassey and Buxar which ensured their supremacy on the Middle to Lower Ganga Plains, i.e., the Bengal Province, which was the richest province in the world and the city of Kolkata held the key to this treasure.

Ironically or should I say, eventually, the very city that was the fountainhead of their power, spelled their doom by acting as the vanguard for the ideas of liberty and revolution, fostering and enriching the Indian Fight for Independence.

And standing in such city that stood as a testament to the rise of the British empire from an insignificant European island nation to the First true Global Empire where the Sun never set, to their ultimate fall, you can directly witness the colonial mystique that still lurks under the shadows of the decrepit buildings.

At times, it felt heartbreaking to see once India's cultural, political, social and economical Epicenter, fall behind the race, though that is how the history works. Through this universal river of Time, Empires rise and Fall, the Civilizations come and go, Cities created and destroyed in the Sea of space.

And with so much memories filled in my mind, I returned to the hotel to pick up the luggage and leave to the airport.

A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata-20231031_161600-1.jpg

After a heavy dinner, I got into the flight and as it took off, I bid adieu to this great city.

Last edited by poised2drive : 16th November 2023 at 15:38.
poised2drive is offline   (32) Thanks
Old 16th November 2023, 16:45   #7
Team-BHP Support
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 17,019
Thanked: 73,423 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 11:01   #8
nagarjun's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 172
Thanked: 227 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Wow! what a travelogue. Kolkata has been a city which I wanted to visit from a long time. Heard few stories from my dad who had visited the city in late 60s and early 70s. Thanks for writing this down!

The song from Veturi garu and your translation at the start is such a great beginning to a wonderful travelogue.
nagarjun is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 11:06   #9
batterylow's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: TN38/KL11/KL58
Posts: 635
Thanked: 920 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Wow, this is a wonderful read!

The history lesson was very interesting and much better than what I learnt a long time in school.

And the yummy food pics are the veritable icing on the cake!

Keep travelling and writing.
batterylow is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 11:29   #10
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 556
Thanked: 458 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Nice travelogue and bought back memories of my trip, coincidentally I also stayed at the Park hotel. Surprised that you didn't visit Belur Math, i felt it to be a nice place with historical significance as well. Food was a mixed bag, didn't like it a lot especially being a veg, I did not explore the bazaar part of the city and probably food is better there, especially their chaats
Chillout is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 12:06   #11
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Noida
Posts: 9
Thanked: 9 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Good read. I echo the emotions of going to a renowned place for food or may be something else and the overall experience doesn't live upto the hype. That makes me wonder why on earth, I visited the place.

Burger You seems delicious by the looks of it. Lemme try it next when I visit. Additionally, you could have tried the Chicken Frankie which is mouth watering or the bakes rasogullas. Trust me baked or not baked the rasogullas and Misthi Doi are heavenly in Kolkata.

Last edited by graaja : 17th November 2023 at 12:31. Reason: Minor typo
loki_marvel is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 12:39   #12
Senior - BHPian
shankar.balan's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10,914
Thanked: 20,623 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Lovely thread on a lovely city.
Probably the last bastion of gentility and good manners and proper ‘Club’ culture left in India.
Calcutta, the Land that Time Forgot.
shankar.balan is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 12:44   #13
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 31
Thanked: 48 Times
re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Very nice indeed. Although I am a Kolkatan myself, never looked at the places which you visited with that detailed vision. Your travelogue will certainly help and generate lots of potential travelers. Thanks and Congratulations.

Someone suggested that you should have visited Belur Math. Of course, if time provided, you should have as for the spiritually minded, there are so many other places also like Kalighat and Dakshineshwar…..but the real icing on the cake is in the making …. which is the TOVP, the Temple of the Vedic Planatarium in Mayapur. I suggest interested members can follow the progress on You tube with one of the latest videos shot and posted by Mr Alfred Ford (the Ford scion and the man behind this initiative) himself. The TOVP will be the biggest temple in the world….and at 113 meters tall, will be the second tallest dome after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
And the relevant news for team bhp members is the readiness of the Kalyani Expressway-a 35 kilometer or so expressway from Kolkata airport towards Mayapur will also be ready around the time of inauguration, ie a year from now.
Dibyendu Bose is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 14:03   #14
Bhodrolok's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 439
Thanked: 872 Times
Re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Good read and detailed pictures.

Peter cat to me is pure manna, if I am in town for even half a day, I make sure to visit there for a meal.

For the next time, try chicken ala kiev at Mocambo, biryani at Arsalan park circus, rolls at Nizams, a visit to Tyangra for the best Indian Chinese and a trip to Aaheli or 6 Ballygaunge place for a proper Bengali meal. And if you like a drink or two, head over to Olypub on Park street for a timeless experience.

And with the location of the Park hotel everything is pretty much a short walk away.

Last edited by Bhodrolok : 17th November 2023 at 14:04. Reason: Added comment
Bhodrolok is online now   (7) Thanks
Old 17th November 2023, 16:25   #15
Distinguished - BHPian
SS-Traveller's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 8,107
Thanked: 26,447 Times
Re: A Solo's Sojourn into the 1st Colonial Capital - Kolkata

Considering I went to school on Park Street, and had spent hours upon hours exploring that area (including the Indian Museum, perhaps over a dozen times) some 4-5 decades ago, your writing & photos were nostalgic to read & look at, and confirmed my viewpoint that no great change has taken place in that area over this period of time.

Thanks for sharing!
SS-Traveller is offline   (3) Thanks

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2023,
Proudly powered by E2E Networks