I have been visiting Kolkata for the last five months and yet not have had the
time opportunity to see Victoria Memorial up close. Oh I have passed it lots of times, but at the best of times the roads surrounding this monument are tremendously busy and cars are not allowed to dwindle. I am sure no policeman manning the hectic city traffic would take kindly to my taking photos while holding up traffic! So I always zoomed by, with a true local taken-for-granted attitude for this white marble edifice.
But a decade of living away from the city, or as the Bengalis would say being a probashi (someone who lives outside Bengal), I felt a small hankering to get up-close to this monument. Of course once I decided to go the ''tourist way'' that is actually go to visit the memorial with my camera, I was ready to face the disdain and the surprise.
Why disdain? Because Victoria Memorial is visited by tourists and not locals who actually live in the city. They give me suspicious looks, muttering to themselves ''so this girl has really changed, no longer a true blue Kolkatan, hmmmm''! Why surprise? Because the month of April is totally the wrong time of the year to visit open air public places in Kolkata. Summer has already come, with a mighty sun in tow, and people prefer being away from the sun. I realized that the temperature is rising rapidly and there would be no respite till the blessed monsoon rains come in late June. So if I have to make this trek, I have to make it as soon as possible. I shared the idea with my brother-in-law who is a keen photographer himself. We decided to make an early morning visit. It was around 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, yet it was deserted except for some dedicated morning joggers and a few stray tourists.
Needless to say the sun was really fierce. Though it was rather pleasant under shades of those big trees which dot the garden in which this memorial is housed, move a little away from the shade and you are scorched. The sky was almost grey with heat and not at all conducive to photography. We stayed as long as it took me to click a few hasty photographs.
|The monument reflected in the water of the lake facing it!|
|St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral of the Church of North India - a united church which is part of the Anglican Communion - in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The building itself stands on the "island of attractions" in Kolkata - beside the Victoria Memorial, Nandan, Rabindra Sadan theatre complex, and the Birla Planetarium. Source: Wikipedia|
Of course all this early morning photo-shoot made us really hungry. We decided to try out Chinese breakfast on Tiretta Bazar. Now this is a really hyped Kolkata tradition. In and around Bentinck Street, which is the chosen seat of earliest Chinese migrants in Kolkata, you get nourishing breakfast. The breakfast has many takers from the intellectuals and the elites of the city to the labourers who work in the area.I have heard so much about this I was almost jumping with excitement. Yes I have never been here before.
My excitement vanished when I reached the place. First of all it was dirty, secondly there were far fewer stalls than I had expected. The food we ate was fresh, tasty and rather cheap, yes even by Kolkata standards. But it was by no means anything out of the world. Would I go back there again? Probably not in a hurry. Some of the photographs I took before I started eating.
|Open the lid and the steam hits you with a force!|
|Fried pork dim sums!|
|Hot & steaming buns, stuffed with both chicken and pork!|
|Gluttonous rice balls!|
|Prawn chips and tofu for sale!|