India on the Road

From Kolkata to Bhubaneswar

4 JUNE 2016,
Kolkata
Kolkata

Route: Kolkata – Kolaghat – Deuli – Jaleswar – Balasore – Bhadrak – Cuttack – Bhubaneswar
Distance: 456 Kms
Driving Time: 9 Hours

Kolkata

Kolkata is the largest city of India and by now may be ahead of London as the largest city in the British Commonwealth. It’s often an ugly and desperate place that to many people sums up the worst of India, yet it’s also one of the most fascinating centers of India and has some scenes of rare beauty.

In the days of yore, Kolkata was the capital of British India, but, unlike Delhi, Kolkata is not an ancient city with a long history and many impressive relics. In fact, Kolkata is really a British invention dating back to some 300 plus years.

Much of Kolkata’s most enduring developments took place between 1780 and 1820. Later in the 19th century, however, Bengal became the a spark point in the struggle in the struggle for India’s independence and this was the main reason for the decision to transfer the capital to New Delhi in the year 1911. Loss of political power did not alter Kolkata’s economic control and the city continued to prosper until after World War II. Ideally Kolkata with its varied charms is an ideal base from where to embark on a journey of discovery.

What to See:

Victoria Memorial, Nirmal Hriday, Kalighat, Dakshineswar temple, Pareshnath temple, Birla temple, Nakhoda mosque, Belur Math, Armenian church, St.Paul’s Cathedral, Sahid Minar, Indian Museum, Asiatic Society, Netaji Museum, Birla Planetarium, Race Course, Eden Gardens, National Library, Botanical Garden, Fort William, Marble Palace, Jorasanko, Rabindra Sarobar, Science City, Nandan, Aquatica, Nalban Boating Complex, BBD Bagh, Writer’s Building, Maidan, High Court, Netaji Indoor Stadium, College Street, New Market, Burra Bazaar, Nicco Park.

Where to Stay:

ITC Sonar Bangla Sheraton & Towers, Vedic Village, Oberoi Grand, Taj Bengal, Park Hotel, Hotel Hindustan International, Kenilworth Hotel are some of Kolkata’s most outstanding hotels. Apart from up market hotels, hundreds of mid budget and budget category hotels are also available in the city of Kolkata.

Where to Eat:

Sourav’s, Mainland China, Kasturi, 5 Star, Amber Bar & Restaurant, Amina, Aqua Java, Badshah, Banzara, Bijoli Grill, Biriyani House, Blue Fox, Charnock’s, China Bowl, Amber, Chung Wah, Chopsticks, Chiniz Qwizin, Dim Sum, Copper Chimni, Haldiram’s Pure Food, Moulin Rouge, Oh! Calcutta, Swabhumi Heritage Plaza, Trinca’s.

What to Buy:

Tat Sarees and a variety of Bengali sweets.

Kolaghat

From Kolkata take the Vidyasagar Setu and go straight on NH – 6 to Kolaghat, which is located at a distance 67 Kms. The quaint town of Kolaghat is ideally situated on the banks of the shimmering Rupnarayan River in the district of East Midnapore.

A Thermal Power Station has been set up at Kolaghat and it is one of the state’s highest power generating unit. The riverside has evolved as a much sought after recreational site. The town is famed for its “Hilsa” fish, which is considered to be the “King of Fishes” by the Bengali community.

What to See:

The Bengal countryside and neighboring fishing villages.

Where to Eat:

There isn’t much to choose from. There is a solitary Dhaba at Kolaghat, which is renowned for its Naan Rotis, Chicken Bharta and Paneer Butter Masala. For exclusive Fish curry and Rice, there are a few roadside eateries on the Main Road. Try out the Hilsa Fish curry.

What to Buy:

Traditional Bengali sweets like Mishti Doi, Lady Kennie, Kalo Jam, Lord Chom Chom, etc…

Deuli

From Kolaghat change to NH – 60 to Deuli, which is located at a distance of 92 Kms. Deuli is a small town in the district of Paschim Medinapore, West Bengal. This is one district that has made India proud vis-à-vis its freedom fighters and martyrs who laid down their lives during India’s freedom struggle. Khudiram, Matangini Hazara, Prodyat Bhattacharya and others of their ilk hailed from this district. The neighboring areas surrounding the town of Deuli is like a nature’s paradise. There are places of immense beauty, which are ideal for Eco-Tourism. When it comes to the colorful tribes of West Bengal, some of the most fascinating tribes like the Lodhas, the Sabars and the Santals are domiciled here. No wonder, Deuli is culturally very rich. During the British Raj, Medinipur used to be a district headquarter.

What to See:

Eco Tourism sites of Gopegarh, Gurguripal, Chandra, Arrahbari, Pathra etc…

Where to Eat:

Deuli being a small town, there aren’t any up-market restaurants. However, there are numerous roadside “Cha Dokan” or teashops, where light snacks can be savored. For meals, don’t experiment. Stick to Fish curry and rice, which is the staple food of Bengal and which his served hot in your plate.

What to Buy:

Tribal jewelry and handicraft products.

Jaleswar

From Deuli continue on NH – 60 to Jaleswar, which is located at a distance of a mere 37 Kms. The small town of Jaleswar is located in the district of Balasore in the state of Orissa. One of the town’s most enduring charms is the shimmering Subarnarekha River as it meanders its way through the outskirts of Jaleswar.

The town of Jaleswar consists of four principal zones - Bada Bazar, Nua Bazar, Station Bazar and Purunia Bazar. Being a border town (West Bengal – Orissa), the wholesale vegetable market buzzes with activity, particularly on Mondays.

What to See:

Chandaneswar Shiva Temple, Talsari Beach, Lakhannath Gara, Gahirmatha Beach.

Where to Eat:

The local eating joints can be relied upon for Fish Curry & Rice.

What to Buy:

Traditional Orissa art and handicraft items.

Balasore

From Jaleswar your next port of call is Balasore, which is located at a distance of 53 Kms. on NH-60. It is a district headquarter and the town is historically very important. In the medieval times Jaleswar used to be a busy maritime town due to its proximity to river Budhabalanga. A sizeable portion of Balasore was under the possession of the French and Dutch colonial rulers. During the French domination the town was nicknamed –“Farasidinga” and during the Dutch rule as –“Dinamardinga”.

For the archaeological enthusiasts, the remnants of Balasore’s colonial heritage can still be seen. Apart from its colonial heritage, Balasore is a place of great strategic importance and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have over the years developed many state-of-the-art Missiles like the Nag, Brahmos and Agni.

What to See:

Khirochora Gopinath Temple, The Biranchi Narayana Temple, The Asta Durga Temple, The Bhudhar Chandi Temple, Panchalingeshwara, Biseswar Temple, Khulia Village, Dhamra Port.

Where to Eat:

Hotel Nishi (Tel:06782-264895), Hotel Swarnachuda (263660, 262657), Hotel Torrento (263481,263482), Hotel Trimurty (263075), Hotel Binayak (264550), Panchajanya Holiday Resort (266646,261944).

What to Buy:

Local Sarees and traditional jewelry. For buying Sarees, the Kusum Saree House and Shree Mandir are very popular.

Bhadrak

As you proceed further ahead to Bhadrak, change to NH – 5. Bhadrak is located at a distance of 68 Kms. from Balasore.

Bhadrak is renowned for its rich virile past. Legend has it that the name Bhadrak has been derived from goddess Bhadrakali and there is a temple dedicated to the goddess on the banks of river Salandi.

Following the British occupation of Orissa, Cuttack and Balasore comprised one of the two administrative divisions. In the year 1828 Balasore was given the status of a separate district and Bhadrak become one of its Sub-Divisions with a Deputy Collector as the administrative head.

In the momentous Quit India Movement of 1942, the town of Bhadrak played a stellar role. Under the able stewardship of Muralidhar Panda on 22nd Sept.1942 at Lunia, Katasahi the entire episode (revolt) went berserk with Nidhi Mohalik and eight of his peers laying down their lives at the altar of India’s freedom struggle. This place is thus popularly referred to as “Sahidnagar” or Martyr’s Town.

What to See:

Bankabasuli Temple, Ananta Narayan Temple, Lokanath Temple, Panchamukhi Hanuman Temple, Baishnav Peetha, Patharakali, Shiva Temple at Erein, Sapta Matruka Temple, Barunei Temple, Buddhist sculptures at Apanda.

Where to Stay:

Hotel Abhinandana (Ph.06784-230509), Hotel Tarini Continental (230194, 230894), Hotel Sampark (250585), Hotel Dixit Resort (240174), Hotel Blue Vine (251727), Hotel Orion (242825), Salandi Guest House (250808), Sneha Residency (271274), Aranya Nivas (220379).

Where to Eat:

It is advisable to have meals at the in-house multi cuisine restaurants of up-market hotels. For snacks and light refreshments, roadside eateries may be availed.

What to Buy:

Traditional Orissa handicraft items and ethnic jewelry.

Cuttack

From Bhadrak continue on NH - 5 to Cuttack, which is located at a distance of 109 Kms. Today it is a district headquarter. The city is ideally located at the zenith of the delta shaped by the Mahanadi River in the North and Kathajodi River in the South. The city dates back to 989 CE . In the days of yore, Cuttack used to be the capital of Orissa state and one of the oldest cities of the east coast. Due to the pressure of population and an acute space crunch, Bhubaneswar became the capital of Orissa. But Cuttack still retains its exclusive aura and dons the mantle of Orissa’s cultural and commercial capital.

What to See:

Madhusmriti, Stone Revetment, Swarajya Ashram, Barabatti Fort, Temple of Cuttack Chandi, Shahi Mosque, Qadam-I-Rasool, Netaji’s Birth Place.

Where to Stay:

Hotel Akbari Continental (Tel:0671-2623254), Hotel Blue Lagoon, Hotel Ashoka (2613508,2613509), Hotel Bombay Inn (2612753,2612757), Hotel Dwarika (2622220), Hotel Monalisa (2621109), Panthanivas (2621867,2621916).

Where to Eat:

Try out the delectable Dahi Vada and Aludum along with the typical Cuttack Pani Puri. The best restaurants of Cuttack can be found in the neighborhood of the College Square and near the Railway Station.

What to Buy:

Silver Filigree, silk and cotton textiles.

Bhubaneswar

On the last leg of your journey from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar, which is located at a distance of 30 Kms. continue on NH-5 and cross Kathajodi Bridge, Kuakhai Bridge and Palasuni Bridge. Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa is known as the temple town due to its many temples in the extravagant Orissan architectural style. At one time the Bindusagar tank had over 7000 temples around it. Today there are just about 500 left and most of them are in a state of decayed fragments. The Lingaraj temple is by far the most important not only in Orissa, but India as a whole.

Bhubaneswar is a sprawling city divided into Old and New parts – the Railway Line forms the approximate dividing line. Most of the temples are within reasonable walking distance.

What to See:

Lingaraj Temple, Bindusagar, Siddharanya, Raj Rani, Brahmeswar, Museum.

Where to Stay:

Hotel Swosti (Tel:0674-2535771), Hotel Sishmo (2433600), Hotel Mayfair Lagoon (42360101), Swosti Plaza (3253515), Ginger Hotel (2303933), Trident (2301010), Hotel Grand Central (42313411), The New Marion (2380860), Hotel Sutrupti (2500112).

Where to Eat:

Anand Restaurant (Tel: 2544730), Ayapas South Indian Hotel (2580965), Atmarams Restaurant (2741553), Barabatti Restaurant (37072933), Cooks Restaurant (2530025), Downtown restaurant (2536192), Kalia Pure Veg Restaurant (09861186258), Marwari Restaurant (2530468), Sarojini Family Restaurant (2434422).

What to Buy:

Silver Filigree, Stone and Wood Carvings, Patta Paintings, Bamboo Baskets, Brass and Bell Metal works.