Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bay of Bengal Trip

as told by Rajarshi Roychowdhury

I and my friends did a short trip to Bakkhali, a sea beach in the Sunderban region. This trip was very special to me, since it was my first road trip on a bike.

The riders:
  • Myself and PJ on my Pulsar 150
  • Sid and Joey on Pulsar 135
  • Alok and Kodi on Fazer
  • Rahul on Avenger 220

Since the unofficial bike club in our college was formed, all of us were itching to ride someplace far. Since all of us are novice bikers - and all of us are caught in the middle of a tight schedule of classes, it was decided to do a short weekend trip. Scouting for options in the net, we decided to do Bakkhali-Frazergunj trip on the 21st - 22nd of January.

The night before - I was worried. All of us were newbies and had got our bikes less than 5 months back. None of us had gone further than 50km before. Reading the xBHP travelogues, this trip seems like a joke - esp after all those Leh-Ladakh and GQ trips. But for us at least, it was something really big!

Route we planned:
Our hostel(Near Kalyani) - 40km - Kolkata (30 km to cross the city) - 130 km - Bakkhali

I planned to start early so that we could cross Kolkata before the traffic jams began - but how to get 7 people up and ready at 6am in the morning?

Finally we were ready to roll by 8:30 AM.

Now the road to Kalyani is horrible, with huge potholes. During mornings, it becomes worse since it passes though small villages all along. We could hardly touch 50 kmph on this stretch. We reached Kolkata about 10 AM, and then it was sheer madness! It took us 2.5 hours (!!!) to cross the city, by which all 4 bikes were separated. Again it took 1/2 hour to regroup, and it was 2pm by the time we left Joka - the southernmost tip of Kolkata.

From then on it was pure bliss - the Diamond Harbor road was excellent! The ~40 km on the DH road was covered in about an hour, and we had lunch sitting in front of the wide expanse of the Ganga. The very wide Ganga, out here which stretched till the horizons were a treat to the eyes.

The next destination was Namkhana, 51 km from Diamond Harbor where a surprise was waiting for us.We covered this distance in about 45 minutes. Not too many events to share on the way, as I was totally enjoying my first bike trip!

At Namkhana, the road ends suddenly and there is a creek. All vehicles, car or bus or bike has to be transported across the Hatania-Doania creek in a special ferry. We decided to get our bikes across in a small country boat and not the big vessel - since we were running short of time.

The creek is not very wide, just about a hundred metres or so, but is considerably deep allowing the movement of ships from Kolkata to ports in Bangladesh. The creek reduces the journey-time for the ships. Because of this, it is difficult to construct a bridge across the creek. An ordinary bridge will hamper movement of ships and a high bridge is a costly proposition. - From wikitravel

This was the most tense moment for me. I started taking pics like crazy and the boatmen warned me - "hold on to your bike. If it falls down it will never be found again, and you will not get insurance also."

After crossing the creek, the roads are amazing! The distance to Bakkhali, about 25 km, was covered in less than 20 minutes.

Once we reached Bakkhali, we headed straight to Henry's Island. We wanted to take the bikes to the beach, but the narrow clay roads ended suddenly, and there was a rickety wooden bridge which was about 2 feet higher than the road. We were in a dilemma - whether to get the bikes over that or go on foot like everyone else. As it was about to get dark, we decided to go on foot, and take the bikes next morning to the beach.
We spent a lovely evening at the Bakkhali beach and then started some night photography of our rides.


We woke up with zeal in the morning and were ready to go to the beach by 7am. We rode to Henry's Island - a distance of 4km from out hotel. It was an unpaved mud road which was so narrow at places that it was difficult to even cross a person walking. And then suddenly there was this wooden bridge. We had to lift up the bikes and put them on the bridge, and cross the bikes one by one. I kept my fingers crossed that the rickety bridge would not snap! Getting the Avenger on the bridge was a pain in the a** while the Pulsar 135 was a breeze!

 After crossing the bridge, we had to ride through sand for about 400 meters, and then suddenly - the beach !!! We went crazy on the beach with our bikes! Let the pictures do the talking now onwards.

 Playing in the sand was great fun - though not much fun for our machines!

We moved on to the Frazergunj beach. By now, the sun was up and it was getting hot. Again some photo sessions followed, and we quickly headed for lunch. For lunch we had awesome sea-food - tiger prawns, pomfret fry and vetki! And everything unbelievably cheap!

We started back at 2:30 pm. This time we took no chances and crossed the river in the large vessel - along with us a truck and a bus were there in the same ferry! It was great fun to ride back on those awesome roads - but at the same time we were cringing at the thought of crossing Kolkata in the evening.
After Diamond Harbor, there was a terrible traffic snarl for over 30 km. Thankfully, our bikes managed to snake in an out of the traffic and we reached Kolkata around 6:00pm. We spent the evening at City Center 2 (a mall) and started for our hostel at 10:30pm. Reached hostel at 11:45 pm and thus ended a very memorable trip.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jumbo Breakfast

as told by anupam sen

"Fried Chicken Momo, Fish Momo, Pork Pao, Pork Spring Roll, Chicken Drum Stick, Beef Kima and Paratha, Irani Tea ..... what else do you need as breakfast??? and that too within 100 bucks. awesome. It was real fun !!!"

Early morning of January, four friends as decided last night on facebook gathered at anupam's place to go to teretta bazar, better known as old china town, in kolkata. The place is probably the oldest for chinese residence in this state, and also the only place to taste the most cheapest chinese breakfast. Food like momo, pork pao, pork spring roll, chicken drum stick and so on are available at a very convenient rate. But make sure you reach there as early as possible, cause these things are sold like hot 'kachoris' everyday, and its quite popular among the daily passerby. The best time to reach there is before 9am in the morning. 

Location: The exact place to find this amazing food items is at teretta bazar, near bentinck street, just behind poddar court (see map).

Chicken Drum Stick & Pork Spring Roll 

Pork Pao

Fish Momo

After having all those delicious foods as their breakfast, its time to have some tea, thats too iranian tea. Leaving behind teretta bazar, if we move towards m.g road by taking rabindra sarani, after 5 minutes of walking, there comes the biggest mosque in kolkata, the nakhoda mosque, and just opposite to that is the oldest 'aminia' of the city. There a cup of iranian tea is just what a perfect finish is all about. But anupam & co. didn't stop there. They tried 'lacha paratha' with 'beef keema'. On asking how was it, I didn't got any answer though, just an expression, which clearly means he could still feel the taste. Which in other words, means their aminian journey was too, amazing.

Nakhoda Mosque

Iranian Tea

Lacha Paratha