Monday, November 13, 2017

Kolkata2Kutch Roadtrip: A Journey Across India from East to West

After our last Epic Road Trip #Kolkata2Kanyakumari in December 2015 / January 2016 we've been travelling here and there. But the call of the Highways and the incredible places in India has kept us yearning for our next Adventure by Road through this amazing country.

So after some serious planning and mapping and bookings (which seemed to be the toughest, considering it's the peak Tourist Season for India), we've set our sights on the Epic Journey.

We've mapped out the Distances as below but all that changes once you actually are on the road and you improvise your journey, if you see the opportunity to pack in more places on the way.

#Kolkata2Kutch and back

Kolkata - Allahabad : 812 Kms
Allahabad - Lucknow : 200 Kms
Lucknow - Orchha Fort : 233 Kms
Orchha Fort - Jhansi : 18 Kms
Jhansi - Gwalior : 103 Kms
Gwalior Sightseeing : 50 Kms
Gwalior - Ahmedabad : 887 Kms
Ahmedabad - Little Rann : 108 Kms
Little Rann (Sight Seeing) : 88 Kms
Little Rann (Sight Seeing) : 88 Kms
Little Rann - Bhuj : 300 Kms
Bhuj (Sightseeing) Kanjarkot Fort : 378 Kms
Bhuj (Sightseeing) Lakhpat Fort : 192 Kms
Mandvi  : 114 Kms
Bhuj - Rajkot : 272 Kms
Rajkot- Gondal : 41 Kms
Gondal - Junagadh : 64 Kms
Junagadh - Somnath : 96 Kms
Somnath - Diu : 86 Kms
Diu - Gir National Park : 83 Kms
Gir - Vadodara : 414 Kms
Vadodara - Mandu : 316 Kms
Mandu - Indore : 87 Kms
Indore - Sanchi : 241 Kms
Sanchi - Jabalpur : 284 Kms
Jabalpur - Bhedghat : 26 Kms
Bhedaghat - Kanha : 160 Kms
Kanha - Sambalpur : 457 Kms
Sambalpur - Kolkata : 566 Kms

We will cover a distance upwards of 7,000 Kms on the 20 Day Road Trip.

So starting 10 December 2017 keep following the posts from all across India right here and on Instagram #Kolkata2Kutch

I'm sure I'll be indulging in some Trainspotting too. So you can check out Indian Train Spotter for some cool pics of Locomotives of the Indian Railways.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

A Visit to St. John's Church, Kolkata

St. John's Church
After visiting the Tram Museum, we decided to check out this beautiful Church which we have seen so many times driving by.

St. John's Church, originally a cathedral, was among the first public buildings erected by the East India Company after Kolkata became the effective capital of British India. Located at the North – Western corner of Raj Bhavan construction of the St. John's Church started in 1784, with Rs 30,000 raised through a public lottery, and was completed in 1787. St. John's Church is the third oldest church in Calcutta (Kolkata) only next to the Armenian and the Old Mission Church. St. John's Church served as the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta (Kolkata) till 1847 when it was transferred to St. Paul's Cathedral. St. John's Church was modelled according to the St Martin-in-the-Fields of London.

History and Architecture
The land for the St. John's Church was donated by the Maharaja Nabo Kishen Bahadur the founder of the Shovabazar RajFamily.The foundation stone was laid by Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India on 6 April 1784. Two marble plaques at the entrance of the St. John's Church mark the two historic events.

Built by architect James Agg the St John's church is built with a combination of brick and stone and was commonly known as the "Pathure Girja" (Stone Church). Stone was a rare material in the late 18th century Kolkata. The stones came from the medieval ruins of Gour, and were shipped down the Hooghly River. The minutes book in the church office tell in detail the story of how the ruins of Gaur were robbed to build St John's church.

The church is a large square structure in the Neoclassical architectural style. A stone spire 174 ft tall is its most distinctive feature. The spire holds a giant clock, which is wound every day.
St. John's Church (you can also visit the Charlotte Canning, Countess Canning Memorial which is on this side of the Church)

St. John's Church

Black Hole of Calcutta Monument

Job Charnock's Mausoleum

Francis (Begum) Johnson's grave

Second Rohilla War Memorial

Our faithful Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Zxi that takes us to all these wonderful places.

A Visit to Smaranika Tram Museum in Kolkata

It was a beautiful Sunny Sunday Morning and we were supposed to go to China Town for breakfast, but having woke up late, we missed a visit there. But not wanting to waste such a perfect day, we decided to make a visit to the heart of the City of Joy to see "The Tram Museum" I had heard about.

Smaranika (the name of the Tram) in Bengali means memorabilia and it's this very tram that houses the Museum of The Calcutta Tramways Corporation, or CTC and showcases 140 odd years of it's heritage in the form of Models, pictures and various parts and items used by and in the trams over the years.

As most of you know Kolkata remains the only city in India with an operational tram service and it's vast network is disappearing at an alarming rate.

The first tram service in the city was on the 24th of February of 1873, with a horse drawn tram running between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street.

The Smaranika tramcar, officially designated CTC-142, was built in 1938, and has been renovated and modified to accommodate a cafeteria in the 1st class compartment, and a tram museum in the rear, 2nd class compartment.

If you're planning a visit, Sunday is the perfect day and you can also park your car in the Parking opposite K.C. Das. Others ways to reach there would be Taxi, Bus or the Metro (Esplanade Metro Station).

This museum is open to the public from 1.00 pm to 8.00 pm on all days except Thursdays with an Entry Fee of Rs. 10/- only.

Recovery Van of the CTC

A Couple of Recovery Vans of the CTC

Monday, April 10, 2017

Birds from my Balcony

Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) Adult
I was in my Balcony as usual sipping a cuppa tea, mid morning when a sudden burst of activity on the tree in front got me all excited. I had my camera in my hand in no time and started tracking the Birds. It seemed like an entire colony of them had come out with the Juniors on a their first outing into the Big Bad World. There must have been a dozen or more of these Magpie Robins and you could distinctly see the Parent pair and their off spring in various routines on the tree.
Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) Baby

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Birds from my Balcony

Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
I was up the terrace supervising some Painting and repair work when I heard a Bird call in the air. I looked around and on the South-East Corner just adjacent to our Building I spotted the bird. I immediately ran down the stairs to my apartment and grabbed my Camera and came back up. After various attempts and angles, once I got closer I managed to get a clear shot of the Bird before it flew off.

I'm keeping this as part of my stories of "Birds from my Balcony"