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.