After a fun & fabulous two days [Day1 & Day2], I was looking forward to my 3rd & final day in Kolkata. I remember having these random thoughts the day I landed here “will I have enough to do for 3days, or should I advance my flight out… what will this city be like…” and this morning, as I got ready to grab my camera & head out to the Flower Market, I was all high & happy… Glad I trusted my instincts and decided to stay to explore this gorgeous city… So, what did I do on my last day here… Read on…
Mallik Ghat – The Flower Market
By the time I left the hotel it was 7am, hailed a cab and headed towards Mallik Ghat, near Howrah Bridge to explore the flower market. Wanted to go earlier,but well, did not happen. Got off near the flyover and began walking down the path flanked by vendors setting up their little stalls, opening packages on either side. The place was quite damp and slippery in some spots. Chit chatted with some of the vendors, was shooed by others saying I was interrupting their routine and few were trying so hard to convince me to buy some flowers.. One guy was sitting on the small bridge that connected the two sides of the market and holding 2 bunches of Sunflowers, the prettiest I have ever seen. I wished I could have bought them, made his day, but alas I was there only for a few more hours.
The market just hits you as you walk along, the riot of colours, the sounds, the energy and the morning scenes around the space. Tea vendors dolling out cups of hot chai, roadside hawkers peeling off sheets to reveal their wares, thirsty curious tourists walking around with their rucksacks and cameras and the morning traffic… After walking around the market for an hour or so, I got up the steps to see the Howrah bridge. Damn, it is a beauty alright, reminded me of the one in New York… The sidewalk was fairly clean, with railings cordoning off the section from the road. Stood there, watching the traffic whiz by. Pulled out my camera to click a few shots when a cop jeep pulled over. I waited for them to reprimand me or shoo me away, but the cop stood next to me and said go ahead click, but be quick.. Heck, I was standing on the sidewalk clicking pictures of the bridge… He asked me usual questions- where are you from, here on work/holiday, travelling alone, etc and we moved on.. 🙂
I could hear my tummy rumbling, and so I decided it was time to go sit somewhere and enjoy a good breakfast… Since most of the places I wanted to visit were near Park street, I decided to head to Flurys.
Breakfast at Flury’s
The place was buzzing at 8.45am on a weekday… just goes to show how popular it was! Found myself a seat on the sofa, and started poring over the menu, trying to decide what to order. This is a place I had heard mixed reviews of, but then only if you try will you know if it was worth the visit or not right? That’s me. I went ahead and ordered a breakfast that came with eggs, toast, hashbrowns, baked beans, roasted tomato & coffee.. It was a lovely plate of food that I enjoyed over the next hour. Sat there, recollecting my morning adventures at the Flower market, looking at the photographs clicked during the entire trip [ Sundarbans to Kolkata], and smiling to myself. I noticed the place was buzzing, infact, at around 9.45 or so, I saw a small group of people stream in, take a seat and even have a cake delivered -celebrating a birthday/anniversary/special occasion.. how cool is that~ 🙂
Oh gosh, what do I say~ The museum blew my mind off, I must have spent a good couple of hours and could have spent some more if the busload of school/college kids hadn’t poured in, crowding the place. Btw, did you know it’s the oldest museum and the largest museum in India apart from being the 9th oldest museum in the world? Yep~
Well, I should talk about the entry process in this place. I was carrying my backpack with a wallet, camera and bottle of water and made my way to the Museum on foot. Reached the ticket counter to be told it was Rs50 entry for Indians [ ₹ 20 for kids above the age of 5 years & ₹500 for foreigners]. Since I wanted to take photographs & was ok with using just my mobile, I got an additional ticket for ₹50 [₹ 100 for camera,₹ 2000 for small video camera; ₹ 5000 for video camera with stand] .. Now that this was done, I headed towards the main entrance, walking into the line meant for women. The security lady looked me up & down [I get that a lot], another checked my bag and told me I need to deposit my bag at the counter and then head in. Sigh~ I then got out of this line, made my way around to baggage area, and was told I needed to remove all my things and leave the bag [duh, I argued it would be an empty bag and I cant walk around with a heavy DSLR, but well, nobody cared]… Hauling my wallet, camera & phone I walked into the museum.
Be ready to just be blown away with every room you walk into, every piece of history you read and see. And beware, there are a few pesky security guards who come around telling you not to click pictures even when you are just holding the camera or shifting position.
The sculptures, the statues, the paintings, the fossils, the textiles, the home decor pieces- phew, I can go on and on… And bless the souls who put this museum together for placing enough and plenty of benches all across the corridors to rest our tired feet. There are also plenty of water filters. The main courtyard is majestic, with tall white pillars all around them. That evening there was going to be a concert [ I don’t understand how loud music can be played at such places, considering how delicate some of the pieces are] and so there was a rehearsal going on – drummers and vocalists testing it out. uff..
Museum Timing: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (Tuesday to Friday); 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (Saturdays and Sundays); closed on Mondays and public holidays
From the Museum, I spied the New Market was just a hop skip jump away and so decided to check the place out. Friends had spoken about this place, about the shops, the bargain deals, and street food. I got out of the museum and a cabbie came forth asking me where I wanted to go, and when I mentioned New Market, he nodded his head and quoted Rs100..egaads, I choked right there and thanked him before turning towards the market.
It was about a km away, and when I got there, I saw throngs of people, shops lined up on all sides and a majestic brick coloured building ahead. Wandered around for a bit, noticed there were “guides” who asked your preferences and took you to the set of shops that fit the need. Interesting concept right? It was like Karol Bagh, or Chandni chowk minus the yumm street food. I left the place and began the walk back to the hotel to shower, grab some lunch and pack up…
Checked out of the hotel… Spent a few hours at Starbucks, Park Street and with that my Kolkata trip came to an end…Headed to the airport for the flight back home… Adios Kolkata, thank you for being so vibrant, crazy, yumm & interesting… See ya again sometime… As I waited to board my flight, I wondered what adventures lay ahead this year…