About mrigankdubey

I am a wanderer who manage to read, write among other things to live.

Kolkata – A City, Harvesting Memories

“City of Joy”, yeah, thats the name Kolkata has reserved for it self which had me curious to know what is it which makes people joyous. Specially in a state of India which has been allegedly marred with 34 years of communist rules and has not seen economic development as much as other Big states of India. More over current government has also been considered anti development.

Wonder, it made me. I read in my history books and later on by internet resources how glorious & wealthy Bengal used to be. So what made the state whatever it is today however what keeps the resident still joyous. Are people too oblivious to think about the ground realities? or there can be a way to be joyous? I had my mind swarmed with a lot of anticipations.

This time when I arrived Kolkata, my train was late by almost two hours which delayed my discourse by same duration of course. I was about to see how most of has Indian Railway self time stamped here. Being an early morning commuter has it’s own advantages and one them is, of meeting minimalistic traffic on the way which reduced my travel time from expected 2 hours to 1.25 hours making me joyous.

Ah, I already started feeling joyous.

After finished pleasantries with current day, I left for Kolkata city’s one time less monument Victoria Memorial (VM) hoping to find answer of some of the questions I had in my mind. How purile it was of me, I came to know later.

On the way to VM we took several different transports which ranges from Three wheeler to Train to Metro. We could also take one bus ride though we thought of walking a little bit.

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One of the modes of public transport on Kolkata.

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Kolkata local train!

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Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial

It had me dumb founded to see the grandeur and grace of the monument and I went into a mental trance & just looked at it for some time and marvelled on it. We our tickets and ventured in the structure to witness British Era history of Kolkata and India, how grand Kolkata or then Calcutta used to be, how this city had participated in history of India and had been one of the places of importance and later how bifurcation of India inflicted this city by poverty and refugees from all over eastern Bengal now known as Bangladesh.

Historian often mentioned how Delhi has been robed over and over several time but to me, it felt Kolkata just got once and it left it a bird without its features, not able to take off again or so to say.

After spending good couple of hours we left still carrying original question which were about to be answered. We took metro back to our place and I heard two passenger talking about recent events including political, social and economical importance to city and while they talking about few most frustrating events (according to them ) they were actually cheerful whole throughout the conversation. I touched holy grail of Kolkata.

Not taking life and reality too seriously is the mantra Kolkata adopt to stay joyous.

Victoria Memorial

Sculpture at Victoria Memorial

Why every one should try and travel at regular intervals?

Looking at some places in real is different then looking at them in pictures apart from making you nostalgic, these activities tend to fire a train of thoughts which later have a chain effect in your mind.

Trail

Trail

Traveling is therapeutic. It is meditation when one can loose all the monkeys on one’s shoulder and changing landscapes & surroundings help as to assimilate newer information for day to day life mind tend to get busy in processing new information rather then being in auto-pilot mode with all known surroundings.

Some says it is an escape, I disagree. It is similar when I disagree if one say yoga is escape. An exercise to keep to mental and/or physically fit is merely an effort to live life in a more healthy and enthusiastic manner should not be called escape, whether it is travel or Yoga. With changing life, times, life style has taken very weird and contradictory situation as to destroying our mind, body and soul. Contradictory in a sense, things those claim to give us strength in any sense, food items in health, media in entertainment and so on, are actually performing opposite effect and sad state of affair is people are not realising it, being busy in watching the drama & being part of it.

Wandering one gathers honey

                                                                 ~YHAI

This quote has inspired many and continues to do so. However how many are really able to do it real time and real life. Every body is busy attending to Grihasthashram or Family Duties Wandering is clearly not a feasible options for everybody.

Decluttering of mind and soul is one of essentials for living a healthy life and travel help in that immensely. There are many type of travellers around and you can find your own style as well. There is this video which showcase normally lethargy for travelling and leaving the comfort zone objectively.

World would so much more fun to live in when everybody understand themselves, about their passions, desires and things they really want to do. Travel will help you do that.

Kolkata Chronicles – Inception

There are times when we think and there are times we think again, again and again and again. There topics can be bone of contention, happy memories, future plans and so on however the topic which we tend to think more often then not are things/activities we always wanted to do but could not for some or other reason!

Kolkata has been one such topic for me and here I go to Kolkata now! I have been to rustic city twice before once for work and once just for visiting and aquatinting the city, however it had been long time now like 3-4 years and I am not willing to write those experiences anymore for obvious reasons.

When I visited Kolkata, I found the city can not be described in word howsoever one can try. Albeit try we will for same. Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta is a city in ruins which used to be centre of attraction from each and every possible way, be it Politic, Economic, Art or Culture and arguably remained so for long time span that was 700 – 900 years.

Kolkata I saw had old and frail buildings, some new one though too far & few, comparatively. Only City in India so far where I saw soccer grounds in centre of residential complexes. It felt like I was talking to old granny who had seen a lot many autumns then anybody could imagine while having a grace which only comes with spending time surrounded with gracious things art, literature, wealth, wisdom and of course character.

I wanted to come to the city again but for what I did not know ( as usual ) but there came one of the friend to save me when he offered to host me for my Kolkata sojourns and expressed his desire to participate in #FreedomRUN2015 being organised in Kolkata on Aug 16, 2015 as part of Independence Day celebration. I could not smiling on the timing of the opportunity as I was already thinking about going there following reasons:

1. Rain Rain Rain : West Bengal is drenched with rainfall and weather has become awesome, I hear.

2. #FreedomRUN2015: Well, what a way to celebrate Independence of my country.

3. Train Reservation: Yes, this can be a reason for going anywhere as it is difficult to get reservation in time with Indian Railway. Any doubt about that? Try booking your tickets.

4. I have been organising travellers meet ups and one such meet up is now in Kolkata which Kolkata Couch Surfing people has welcomed, it would be a great opportunity to meet more travel minded people.

5. Traveller or not, everybody should visit Kolkata at least once just to watch the grandeur it used to be.

The picture from my first journey

Ah! Kolkata!!

Ah! Kolkata!!

So Kolkata, here I come!

Flag & Ceremony!

This video shows how Bhutanese people take the flag off, however it is not whole procedure as I could not capture all of it. Enjoy

The Night Beauty – Thimpu

The Night Beauty! - Thimpu

The Night Beauty! – Thimpu

Sikkim & Bhutan – Epilogue & Acknowledgement

It had been great time during these two weeks when we kept exploring one place after another and Himalayan beauty kept us mesmerised and shocked me at some points when I could not even my eyes open for some time due to abundance of sun light and all over reflection by snow.

Sikkim is one of least explored region in India is seems and as and when one approach Northern parts of Sikkim, it goes on to become more and more tranquil and peaceful. I envisioned to do cycling in this region someday.

Simplistic life style but great awareness of nature in Bhutanese people is admirable, I saw couple of cleanliness drives where people were picking plastics from road side to keep area clean. It is mandatory for government officials to wear national dress of Bhutan and that make it more beautiful.

I heard Bhutanese music sometimes during our taxi drives and like quite few of the track though I dont understand them.

Sikkim & Bhutan was not our plan initially but thats what was fated to us. Yes, you have read it right, it was not a solo journey. It would be stupid of me to finish this series with out writing about my dear friend, great writer, amazing photographer, not so regular blogger,  and travel partner on this journey.

Insignia or Bindu is the person who made this journey possible in first place. When we came to about fall out of Philippines plan, it was not a good feeling to say the least but then shit happens.

We discussed many destinations in few days and after going through I-dont-know-how-many-places Bhutan is what we could book tickets for. At this point I did not know a things about Bhutan as it was a last moment decision.

She took it in her hands probably to make most out it and I have already had my faith placed in her when it comes to travel, after who would not do that with a person who has already travelled 15+ countries and 160+ cities.

During whole journey she had been always ahead of the time and knew where are we going next day and covering what all destinations along with at least preliminary information about the places.

I know I can not thank her enough for all that she has done however I hope for more journey with her as my thank you gesture. 🙂

Insignia!

Insignia!

             You can read more about her travelogue and other stuffs here

Sikkim & Bhutan -20

Hello all, This is post is about our last couple of days while coming back from Sikkim & Bhutan but you can read here what all we have done so far.

Planning & Research Courtesy: Insignia

After visiting Punakha Dzong , which the most beautiful Monastery so far I have seen, It felt so nice at to finish the journey with a beautiful note. We returned to Thimpu after that and relaxed next day while exploring some remaining place like Post Office.

Post Office, Thimpu!

Post Office, Thimpu!

We got our personalised stamp here. I got clicked by the post office personal and she returned beautiful postal stamps with Bhutan in back ground. These stamps can be used for postal purpose.

It was a good day to relax and have coffee and eat after marathon of 15 days, however we did not rush our journey any where but still joy of just being and not having next destination in mind, sleeping and then eating again is amazing. It costed us couple of places at the end but one place for which I would definitely go back to Bhutan probably would be Bumthang, which also houses a National Park. Nevertheless that would be for some other day.

Next day we bought our drive back to Phuntsoling by Toyota Coasters which was mentioned in arrival post as well but now you can take look too.

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Exiting Bhutan!!

Exiting Bhutan!!

After reaching to Jaigaon. India we explored local shop for couple of hours before resuming our journey to Siliguri, West Bengal. It took whole and next day we had our flight back from Bagdogra Airport.

IGI Airport Delhi!

IGI Airport Delhi!

We had great time during this journey exploring Darjeeling, Gangtok, North Sikkim, Thimpu, Paro, Punakha. We did not cover all places those are normally mentioned in travel guides but we are content with what we did. I personally hope I get more chances to come to this region few more times as it is a wonder place to trek and be with nature.

I hope it was my introduction to the region and there many more to come.

So what the this journey has come to its end part but we have some more things to discuss yet and you will see that in next post.

Sikkim & Bhutan – 19

Well, well, this memoire is nearing its completion and few more days left before travelling to land of Druk

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

Chimi Lhakhang was great experience after so much of sincere Buddhism for so many days in Sikkim & Bhutan. However we have not had once in life time experience of Punakha Dzong yet. The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong, is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan and one of the most beautiful Monastery I have ever seen.

Punakha Dzong!!

Punakha Dzong!!

We had to stop here, even before reaching the Dzong, just to stare at this beautiful thing and capture it. As usual they have built it on bank of river and there is a bridge way to cross the river and enter the Dzong.

We headed to the suspension bridge almost 1.5 kms away from the Dzong, walking there had become an experience as we had a small conversation we local ladies working in the vicinity and then asked way to school girls.

IMG_2711The bridge is about 200 m long and help you cross the river. We did cross the river just have fun of it and we saw this house at the end which is visible in the picture. I initially thought it might be a monastery as well but it turned out to be a house, where people were going about their daily chores.

We spent some time at the bridge and returned to the Dzong to resume the return journey as this was the point where we truly started to return to the place where we started but before that we have couple of more places to talk about which we will in next post.

Till then I hope you enjoy Punakha Dzong! Stay Happy!

Serene!

Here I am, Enjoying my life in mountains and talking with them!!

Here I am, Enjoying my life in mountains and talking with them!!

Sikkim & Bhutan -18

Hi Friends, yes, all 5 and .32 of you who read this page diligently. Every time I publish about things like Sikkim & Bhutan and like, let’s continue the Sojourn,

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

Next we visited the monastery which houses a school as well, we saw a lot kids studying there lessons there. It was pleasant sight when a couple of kids looked back and smiled or I felt so.

The Monastery which house a school!

The Monastery which house a school!

Chimi Lakhang was our next stop which is also known as “Monastery of Mad Monk”. This monk had its own way of showing traditional monks how is it to be liberated. Which shown something like this

A peculiar Monk and peculiar Monastery.

A peculiar Monk and peculiar Monastery.

In Bhutan, felic is consider sign of thunderbolt and is a holy symbol. It has been in tradition since Chimi Lakhang was built. One can find all sizes of felic here and many forms and cane kept in home for good luck.

To reach chime lakhang one has to walk around 2-3 kms from main road toward to Monastery and cross the village which is nest of many handicraft seller where you can buy souvenir. The walk takes less then half an hour but it is fun walk if you have already done Tiger’s Nest.

Next we are heading to Punakha Dzong, keep watching, Stay Happy!