It was new year's eve just after 5 days that I came to this place and I had no one to celebrate with. So without hesitating, I punched old monk and coke, had my shades on and the traveler was all set to explore.Park street is easily accessible through Calcutta metro (Yes, Kolkata had metro since 1984, no wonder people here are way ahead of time).About this place, the best time to visit this place is 5 days before Christmas and it stays till 5 days after New Year. The whole street is lit up and its like a big carnival that goes on and on. If you like clubbing and want to enjoy night life, Park street is the place for you.Carpe Diem, Tantra, HRC, Trinicas are some of the places where you can booze and party.For that retro/vintage feel, you can go to OlyPub, Silvergrill and enjoy your beer with some fish fingers.About food, as I was from North India and especially Delhi, I was a bit disappointed with the food here (when it comes to non veg), though there are some places which are famous and very old and deserves a try.For cakes/bakery, Flurys tops the list, though I found it a bit overrated and the famous Chello Kababs of Peter Cat. For some street side food, you can try the varieties of Rolls at Kusum Rolls. (Each one of them including the pubs are within 500-700 mtrs)For me, I was more into the offbeat places which held the charm of the city and the place that tops the list here was Park street cemetery.It is walk able distance from Park hotel (the starting of Park street) and the timings for this place is 10-5 with a minimal entry fee.This placed used to be a cemetery during 18th century and now declared as an archaeological heritage holds the serenity/calmness that will hold your sight.Also, you can visit St. Thomas church and just a stroll around the park street will give you the feel.With urban and highrise buildings, famous brands on one side, to that small tea shop under the shade of tree playing old bengali classics, everything goes here hand in hand.If you are planning a visit to Parkstreet during the day (though evening time is recommended), you can pay an early morning visit to Maidan (for photography lovers) and just opposite to this is the jewel of Calcutta- The Victoria Memorial.You can then head towards Birla Planetrium, St, Paul's Cathedral (must visit) and Nandan (for theatre/art lovers, also includes the art gallery)All these three places, fall in one line and are barely 1 km apart. After covering these, one can then head towards Park street which is around 2 km away.
6 pm: Park StreetAs my day came to an end, I spent the last couple of hours at Kolkata’s original joy factor, Park Street. I walked down the lane and stepped into Peter Cat to gorge on their iconic Chelo Kebabs and relive the British nostalgia. Do not miss the signature Bloody Mary as well. As time was limited and the food options unlimited, I then went to Mocambo and tried the exotic Prawn Cocktails and chicken a la Kiev. If Chinese is your cuisine, head to Flavours of China. Needless to say, you cannot miss Flurys. A part of the heritage of the city, the confectionery section and all their excellent sweet and savoury items, cakes and breads await you.
Durga Puja is not a festival, it's an emotion in East India, especially for Bengalis. Though it started off as a Hindu festival celebrating Goddess Durga's victory over Asura (Evil), over centuries it has gone onto to become much more than that. Throughout years Durga has become a symbol of women's strength and Durga Puja a celebration of the same.It is one of the biggest carnival possibly across the globe right now. During the week of Pujo the entire state of Bengal in India comes to a halt. People are out in the streets celebrating, visiting friends and family. Bengalis all across the globe come home to Pujo. Though it's a nine day festival, the last 3-5 days are the best time to soak in all the festive spirit.With the intention of celebrating 2019 Pujo season in Bengal we (Three of us) landed late in the afternoon at Kolkata airport on day 1. What we witnessed in the next few days blew my mind off with its grandeur, creativity, play of colors, inclusivity and sometimes even plain simplicity. We headed straight to Park Street from airport where our stay was arranged at a beautiful 111 year old haveli via Airbnb.After a sumptuous late dinner at Kwality restaurant we headed to South Kolkata for day 1 of Pandal hopping. A Bengali friend of mine had made an indepth itinerary for me which really helped us visit only the key/must visit pandals. Sharing the maps here with for reference. Pictures speak a thousand word so I will let the images speak for itself for the pandals.After covering most of South we headed back home at around 4AM.Pandals visited:1. Hindustan Club2. Singhi Park3. Chetala Agrani4. 21 Pally5. Shib Mandir6. Jodhpur Park7. 95 Pally9. Mudiali10. Suruchi SanghaP.S: Some pandals may be wrongly named in the pics below as we have lost track of all the beauties. Feel free to message me to correct them.
It cannot get more colonial than Park Street. If like me, you are from Delhi, you will get major Connaught Place feels only with a lot more disciplined traffic. Housing the best of restaurants and eateries, Park Street has the Iconic Flury's, Peter Cat and newer additions of Mamagoto and Barbeque Nation. No trip to Kolkata is complete without tons of strolls along this road.
Being a foodie and food writer, I have my own dogmas when it comes to writing on culinary themes. For instance, whenever I visit iconic restaurants or eateries anywhere in the country, I always make it a point to jot down my experiences in my diary and fasten the bill alongside it. I believe, together they make for some fond and bountiful memories about my culinary adventures. This culinary tale is about one of those fond memories...I distinctly remember the first time I heard about Flurys. Fifteen years ago, in 2004, while watching 'Parineeta,' adapted from its 1914 namesake novella by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, I got to know about this famous patisserie located at the busy junction of Park Street, Kolkata. The name, Flurys, seemed to convey a sense of exclusivity to me, as if it had some distinctness attached to it.Well, I didn't get to experience that exclusivity until the summers of 2013, when on a hot and humid day of June I set out to explore Kolkata, for its rich flavours and authentic culinary heritage. But by then I'd already forgotten about Flurys, which was somewhere tucked away in the far corners of my mind, ready to come alive at a mere passing mention of it. As I happen to pass by the nooks and corners of the city, I discovered many good eatery joints in and around the old Calcuttan suburbs like Shakespeare Sarani, Chowringhee, Elgin Road, Camac Street, etc. The aroma of freshly baked loaves of bread, scones, cakes, and other oven-fresh goodies was a treat to my senses, as I passed through Britannia's manufacturing plant located on Hungerford Street. Certainly, the old neighbourhoods of Kolkata are a foodie's dream delight, with much to explore and savour.