Friday, December 30, 2016

In Nature's Arms at Bawali Farmhouse

After our disappointing drive to Diamond Harbour a couple of days ago, we decided to find a nice destination to getaway for a couple of days.

Thanks to a Facebook post, I discovered a place called Bawali and after some research, we decided to head there. Though we had planned to go for a couple of days, we juts managed to get a booking for one night. But that didn't deter us from taking the break.


The drive to Bawali, save a few places of nice roads through countryside, was mostly through crowded village markets. But when we finally got to the Bawali Farmhouse, it was like the Garden of Eden. The walk from The Parking Lot next to the gate upto the main Hut was lined with a beautiful nursery, plants like I've never seen.

The first order of business after we checked in to our Cottage was an amazing breakfast in the common dining Hut. Luchi Torkari and Aloo Parantha along with Omelettes. A Cupppa Tea and Coffee and we were rejuvenated.

We were lucky to get the most secluded Cottage: NIBHRITIAs the name suggests, this cottage is located in the quietest corner of our farmhouse. With a cozy balcony overlooking the paddy fields and ponds, this is the best place to take your favourite book. For those, who want to shut down all the noise of civilization for a day, Nibhriti should be their choice. With a private sit-out area, a small corner garden and a balcony, this cottage is simple, elegant and very private.) source: bawalifarmhouse.com













Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as the Eurasian Kingfisher and River Kingfisher
Green Bee-Eater (Merops orientalis)
Green Bee-Eater (Merops orientalis) eating a Bee.

Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda)
Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus)
Asian Palm-Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis).

Monday, July 18, 2016

IAF Rudra Helicopter



So while I was getting amazed with the Aircraft on display at the HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum, and the constant buzz of LCA Tejas Aircraft & MI-8 Helicopters taking off and landing at the HAL Airport across the road, I suddenly heard the load humming of rotors and instantly knew that there was a Helicopter close by.

Suddenly from behind a tree I saw this magnificent bird rise up and just float in mi air while the nose gun turret kept swivelling from side to side.

It was an HAL Rudra Helicopter with Indian Air Force markings.





HAL RUDRA

Specifications:
HAL/Turbomeca Shakti engine

General characteristics:
Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
Capacity: 12 passengers (14 passengers with high density seating) or 4 stretchers.
Length: 15.87 m (52 ft 0.8 in)
Rotor diameter: 13.20 m (43 ft 3.7 in)
Height: 4.98 m (16 ft 4.06 in)
Disc area: 137 m2 (1,472 ft2)
Empty weight: 2,502 kg (5,515 lb)
Useful load: 2,600 kg (5,731 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshafts, 1,000 kW (1,400 shp[17])
Alternate engine: 2 x Turbomeca TM 333-2B2 turboshaft, 746 kW (1,000 shp) each

Performance:
Maximum speed: 290 km/h (180 mph, 156.58 kn)
Combat radius: 320 km (200 mi, 175 nmi)
Ferry range: 827 km (516 mi, 447 nmi)
Service ceiling: 6,096 m[18] (20,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 10.3 m/s (2,030 ft/min)
Power/mass: 329.73 W/kg (0.20 hp/lb)

Armament:
Guns:
1 x 20mm M621 cannon into the Nexter THL-20 chin mounted gun turret (Air-Force & Army version)
Missiles:
8 Helina (Helicopter-launched Nag) Anti-tank guided missiles (planned for Air-Force & Army version)
4 MBDA Mistral short-range Air-to-air missiles (Air-Force & Army version)
4 x 68 mm or 70 mm Rocket Pods (Air-Force & Army version)
2 Torpedoes or Depth charges (Navy version)
2 Anti-ship missiles (Navy version)

Avionics:
Elbit CoMPASS optoelectronic suite for reconnaissance and target acquisition
SAAB IDAS-3 self-protection suite

Source: Wikipedia (Data from Indian Army, Crawford, HAL, and Defence Update.)

HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum


I was in Bangalore and this was the only place I actually wanted visit. So here I am taking the tour of India's first aerospace museum located at the HAL facility (opposite the old Bangalore Airport) spread over 4 acres.

The displays of actual aircraft are very cool and so are the galleries showing historical pictures and evolution of HAL and its contribution to the nation in Military Aircraft as well as Aerospace.

The disappointing thing at the end of the tour was the Gift shop, where I was hoping to find Scale Models of Aircraft and other Memorabilia from the IAF, but instead it was a dreary sight to see a shelf which housed Handicrafts! That just didn't make any sense whatsoever.



















Anyway for those of you who would like to visit this wonderful Museum, the details are below:

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum
Address: Varthur Main Rd, HAL GB Quaters, Marathahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560037

Timings: All Days: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry Fees:
Entrance Fee (Adult): Rs 50/-  per head
Entrance Fee (Students and Children upto 18 yrs): Rs 30/- per head (with ID card)
Entrance Fee (Children upto 3 years): Free
Physically Handicapped: Free
Basic Simulator Game: Rs 50/- per head
Motion Simulator: Rs 100/- per head
Still Camera: Rs 50/- per each
Video Camera: Rs 75/- per each

Source: HAL Website

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Dinner at Barcelos

Was a lazy Saturday and we didn't have plans either compounded with the fact that our Cook had taken the day off. So we decided to try out a place we hadn't been to and we didn't want to go too far either. So Barcelos it was. 


Located on the Top floor of Acropolis Mall, I loved the idea of walking across the Glass Bridge to reach the entrance.


While I ordered a Cheese Cake Shake, my wife ordered the Mix Berries Shake.


We ordered one of their Signatures, 1/2 Chicken (Chicken marinated in their Secret Sauce and grilled to perfection). Well it wasn't the usual Chicken one has tasted in out places.


This one I had to order. Why Order One Burger when you can have Four, Right! So we ordered the World's healthiest Mini Burgers. 2 Chicken + 2 Mutton, They came with four different breads; White, Brown, Red and Black and each tasted more yummy as we went down the plate from one to the next. This is a definite must try if you're visiting Barcelos.

BARCELOS, KOLKATA
ADDRESS : F-001, Acropolis Mall , Rajdanga Main Road, Kolkata
You can check out the Menu at http://www.barcelos.co.in/menu.php

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Awadhi Cuisine Dished Out With Class

Our usual plans of driving out to some nearby locale had been put on hold for the weekend as we had some other stuff to do. But knowing us, a Sunday without doing something was not going to happen. by mid morning my wife suddenly suggested we go try this Restaurant which was serving 'Haleem' as a Ramadan Special. Oh! and we do like Haleem and especially during this time.

So we headed out to Kidderpore, a place on the map not particularly savoury for most of us South Kolkatan's. Well it's home to the famous India Restaurant.


Indis Restaurant is probably 18-20 years old and one of the most popular eateries in the locality. The new A/C sections on the 1st & 2nd Floors was launched during the Durga Puja Festival of 2015 to cater to a more upwardly mobile gentry with ambience and d├ęcor that will put some of the more established Restaurants to shame.


Once seated we straight away ordered the Haleem, but were told that Haleem would only be available after 2pm and could take a bit longer too. No worries, it was around 1:30pm so we could wait.

Meanwhile we ordered their signature starters; Chicken Cheese Kebab. The Mint Sauce that came with it should also be highlighted. I asked for a second bowl of it.


For mains we ordered another of their Signature dishes; Awadhi Biryani. Brought in a Handi and opened at the table, the moment the lid comes off and you see the steam and draw of a whiff of those aromatic flavours,  you just cant wait to dig in. Let me just say it's probably the best Biryani I've had.


Well having devoured that Biryani, and washed own the meal with a Thums up. We were eagerly awaiting our Haleem. We realised that the two we had ordered might be a bit much after this. So we scaled it dow a bit to only one. But we were not leaving without having that Haleem.

the clock kept ticking and 2 became 2:15 and 2:30 and then 2:45 but we were firm with our resolve! and it also gave us time for that Biryani to settle.

Finally at 3pm the Haleem was served and was it worth the wait? Definitely. We shared one Haleem and while we really wanted to order the second one, better sense prevailed.


So for those of you who might want to taste this delicacy, there's a few days before Eid and you still might get a chance to taste some Haleem. Else just for some awesome Awadhi Cuisine, its definitely worth a visit.

Having gone through the menu, I know I'm definitely going back there to try out some of their other specialities.

A meal for two would cost approx Rs. 750-900

India Restaurant
Address: 34, Karl Marx Sarani, Kidderpore,
Kolkata, West Bengal 700023
Tel: 033 2459 8964
Everyday : 6AM-11PM