Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta

Tripoto
Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Feeling a little restless on seeing your Insta or Facebook feed being bombarded with snapseed edited - perfectly posed - picturesque locations of your friend's recent world tour?
Secretly cursing your boss for not getting that oh-so-badly-needed leaves?
Openingly abusing your travel buddies for ditching you, 'again', with their lame excuses?

No worries, why not just have your own little rendezvous with your own city?
It really seems a weird idea in the beginning, wondering what can be so interesting in the city one lives but once in a while being a tourist in your own city really lifts up that otherwise crappy mood of yours!

Since I have recently moved back to Calcutta ( that's what I still prefer to call this one of a kind amalgamated city of olds and news), I often set out on my own and sometimes tag along with other equally inquisitive friends or acquaintances, often not a local, to explore the city all over again.
But the rule is pretty simple. On these days , I am no longer someone who is born and brought up in this city or speaks the native language but a tourist finding her way through the alleys and narrow lanes of the city, reading the tombstone in a certain cemetery, enjoying the road side "bharer" chai or losing the count of time while enjoying a special exhibition held at some venue in the city.

So, today I will give a glimpse of a random 'touristy' day of my life, in my city.

One must be already aware of the fact that the one thing that can inspire an otherwise laid back "Bangali" to wake up early in the morning apart from the sonorous voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra at the dawn of Mahalaya, is their unconditional love for food.

Territy Bazar

So if you find a certain street in Central Calcutta, bustling with people, waiting impatiently to have absolutely delicious pork baos or hot momos, even at 5.00 am in the morning (since we are in the eastern zone, lucky to have early sunrise in the summers but in winters, this time might stretch a little to 6.00 am), don't be surprised, you are very much in Territy Bazar, a neighborhood in the central part of the city, once home to Chinese Indian nationals and a must visit if you are craving for some authentic Chinese breakfast.

Chinese breakfast

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Territy Bazar bustling with food loving people even at 5.30 am on a Sunday

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

After a tummy satisfying breakfast, walk around a little bit in the neighborhood, The cobbled streets slowly waking up to embrace all the commotion ahead of the day, the traffic still not in the mood to be rolling on the weekend, the colonial architecture still holding its head high as it basks in the morning sun, will pretty much make up for the that extra one or two hours you didn't get to sleep in the morning!

Just opposite to the Territy Bazar, is the famous Lal Bazar, the Police Head Quarters of Kolkata.
It is believed that even the toughest of criminals have gone weak on their knees inside the four walls of Lal Bazar' interrogation cell.
Grab a garam "bhaar" of chai, before heading towards the next destination.

Photo of Lal Bazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Lal Bazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Lal Bazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Lal Bazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das

This church ages back to a good many 200 years and is the third oldest church in the city.
This was among the very first public buildings that the then East India Company had built after they made Calcutta the ruling capital.The church is built with a combination of stone and brick.
( Make sure you read the entry timings for common folks while entering the compound or else you might be asked to leave the compound)

St John's Church

Photo of St. John's Church, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das

The church compound is also home to 'many' as this was an old graveyard, hence, maintain silence, as 'they' do not like intrusion!

The next part was obtained after reading the epitaphs on the graves and the tomb stones.
Since you are tourist today, you have all the time to go through each one! Make sure you read them before leaving the compound ( Touristy things is the priority, remember?)

Job Charnock's Mausoleum

It is said that Job Charnock, an East India Company trader is  the father of Calcutta ( the fact is debatable in modern times).

Way to Job Charnock's Mausoleum

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Frances (Begum) Johnson's Grave

Frances Johnson (popularly known as Begum Johnson),considered the grand old lady of Calcutta, lived up to an age of 89 and married four times. The epitaph is a fun read as it describes her entire life.

Frances (Begum) Johnson's grave

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

A tomb stone and epitaph on it

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Black Hole of Calcutta Monument

It is said that during the siege of Calcutta, Siraj - ud - Daulah imprisoned more than 100 and enclosed them in a 14 feet by 8 feet room. Most of these prisoners are said to have died out of suffocation.
Although, this was not the original location, however later in the 1940s, this monument was rebuilt in honour of the prisoners who died such an inhuman death.

Black Hole of Calcutta Monument

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Second Rohilla War Memorial

This is the monument built in honour of the British militaries who died during the First and Second Rohilla War, between the Rohillas, natives of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Nawab of Oudh, whom the British supported.
( I told you the city you live in might just surprise you with so many facts and figures of the past!)

Second Rohilla War Memorial

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

A cool breeze against the banks of  the Hoogly river is all you need to brighten up your day after a heavy dose of the past.

Second Hoogly Bridge

Photo of Princep Ghat, Strand Road, Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das

You can also take a boat ride for an hour if your body  is complaining for some rest and have a relaxing chat with the "Majhi", the boat rider or you can just enjoy all the calmness and peace around.

A relaxing boat ride on the Hoogly river

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Also, if you are up for some more adventure, hop on to the train, waiting to leave for the next station.

Princep Ghat Station

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

But do not miss posing in front of the pristine - white- James Prinsep Memorial.
We all need some touristy moments to cherish in the days to come!

James Prinsep Memorial

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Although a cemetery is quite a spooky choice for a tourist spot to visit on a weekend, but I assure you the place is not so bad.
Some of the epitaphs on the tombs are very interesting to read indeed!

This cemetery is now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The architecture of the tombs in this cemetery are a mix of Gothic and Indo- Saracenic style.

Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das

The original 'Saheb Para' is still the best place for your lunch/ dinner.
But do not forget to walk in the neighborhood to find some really exciting graphitis and a sneak peek of all the restuarants lined up on both sides of the road.

Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das
Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Soumita Das

The decor and ambience of some of these restaurants will often take you to the bygone days but the cheerful crowd will surely put a smile on your otherwise tired face (yes, waking up early on a weekend is no small deed!).
Whether it is Peter Cat's Sizzlers or Mocambo's Golden prawns, each restaurant has its own attraction for a hungry stomach.

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das
Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

But my personal favourite to end my touristy day, is relishing a blueberry cheesecake and calling it a day by sipping a cup of Darjeeling Tea from Flurys.

Photo of Touristy rendezvous with Calcutta by Soumita Das

Last but not the least, for locations and directions, unlike other days,get a route map, ask the Traffic police or the commuters and figure out but be safe.
It is indeed a fun way of exploring a city!

Be the first one to comment