Over the rainbow

first_imgFar From The Madding CrowdIbizaResort and SpaDitch the potholed roads and snail-speed traffic of the city with a lazy weekend away at IBIZA Resort and Spa. Less than 30 km away from Kolkata, this cosy resort has nine rustic cottages that are equipped with all the creature comforts. A short,Far From The Madding CrowdIbizaResort and SpaDitch the potholed roads and snail-speed traffic of the city with a lazy weekend away at IBIZA Resort and Spa. Less than 30 km away from Kolkata, this cosy resort has nine rustic cottages that are equipped with all the creature comforts.A short walk away from the cottages is a massive pool, an open Jacuzzi and a submerged bar, named Niagara. Spend a lazy day reading and sipping a drink as you lie on a submerged bed in the pool. Feeling adventurous? Kayak in the lake surrounding the resort or cross the Burma bridge. IBIZA, which has hosted a lot of big banner music festivals, including NH7 Weekender and DUSK, also has its own discotheque if you are in the mood to party.Monsoon Perks: Adventure sports including rock climbing, rappelling, rope course, kayaking, shooting, archery and more. You can opt for a combo pack of all seven activities for as little as Rs 500 per head during the season. Don’t Miss: If you want to head out, Raichak, a pleasant riverside tourist spot, is just a half-an-hour drive away from the resort. Tariff: Rs 3,999 onwards per night At IBIZA Resort and Spa, Kriparampur, Amtala 24, Parganas (South) Tel 24709928, 24809009 Email [email protected] Website resortibiza.comWater Under The BridgeHooghly RiverMonsoon in Kolkata is incomplete without a visit to the riverside. And though cliched, an evening on Prinsep Ghat and the imposing Prinsep Monument is as romantic as it gets. Our film industry also agrees-the Hooghly river bank and its famous landmark, Vidyasagar Setu, have made their way to the big screen with many romantic songs, including the Saif Ali Khan and Vidya Balan-starrer Piu Bole Piya Bole (Parineeta), being shot here.advertisementRight next to the banks is the Prinsep Ghat railway station. The Kolkata Circular Railway takes you from Dumdum to Bidhannagar for less than Rs 10. The coaches are generally quite empty and you can have a fun train ride even in the general compartments.And what is a visit to the ghat without a boat ride. Walk down the stairs of the ghat (though be careful as they get very slippery this time of the year) and bargain hard for a ride on these hand-rowed boats. A trip can cost anything between Rs 250 to Rs 400, so do haggle like an expert.If you’re carrying your brolly with you, walk down to the Outram Ghat in the rain to grab phuchkas or a banana split at the Scoop, the classic ice cream parlour.Monsoon Perks: Take a seat on the second floor of Scoop and watch the rain come down on the Hooghly as you tuck into salty fries and an ice-cream sundae.Don’t Miss: Ask the boatman to row to a spot where Vidyasagar Setu is just behind you and take that prized Kolkata click. At Prinsep Ghat, off Strand Road.Rainyday CravingsChinese Breakfast at Tiretti BazaarWaking up at the crack of dawn may not be your favourite thing to do during the dark, cloudy days of the monsoon season, but this is worth losing an hour’s shuteye. Head to Tiretti Bazaar, near Poddar Court, where food stalls start serving piping hot Chinese breakfast as early as daybreak, and shut long before the office rush begins. If you are having trouble locating the market, don’t worry, there are always enough people around to guide you. In fact, asking around is a wiser choice than depending on Google Maps.Peppered across the street, each stall sells different Chinese delicacies. Most of the food here is for true meat lovers but there are a few puri bhaji stalls for the herbivores. Tuck into fresh, homemade momos just off the steamer, big moist paus (big steamed buns with a filing of spicy mince, pork chicken or shrimp) that you don’t get anywhere else in Kolkata, juicy pork sausages, soup with pork and fish balls, and if you can get your hands on it, the very rare and holy grail of Kolkata foodies-red roast pork. Get here early as the red roast pork runs out within half an hour and is not available every day. Huddle up near the aluminium steamers to warm up or let a hot bowl of fish ball soup to do that for you.”I’ve grown up in the area and picking up breakfast here has been routine. I like the puri bhaji and even though it’s not a Chinese dish, it’s become a part of our Sunday breakfast,” says Liu Chuen Chen, a 21-year-old student.advertisementThere are also old Chinese dry goods stores such as Sing Cheung Brothers and Pou Chong Brothers, where you can pick up everything from rare Chinese condiments to Tiger balm.Monsoon Perks: Steaming hot deep-fried momos on a wet day are a spicier alternative to your homemade pakoras. Don’t forget: to ask for the fiery red sauce as an accompaniment. At Tiretti Bazar, at the crossing of Bentinck Street and India Exchange Place road, close to Poddar Court Timings: 5.30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Cost Rs 50.Culture GullyShantiniketanBeat the greys and blues of the monsoon season by shopping at the weekend bazaar of Shantiniketan’s Khowai region. Home to one of the most colourful haats (temporary bazaars) in the state, the three-hour drive from Kolkata to Khowai is also an added incentive, with the countryside turning a bright shade of green during the rains.Set up by a canyon in a picturesque forested area, the market with a difference, called Khowai Bonye Anyo Haat (or “a different market at Khowai Forest”), is set up every Saturday afternoon. A haat or a temporaray market in rural areas is usually where people come to pick up fresh produce and livestock. This one, however, breaks the monotony by offering terracotta pottery and many handicraft knick knacks. Stock up on junk jewellery, ethnic tribal Dokra art and beautiful terracotta figurines here.A drive away is Sriniketan’s Amar Kutir, a cooperative unit that produces leather goods, Kantha stitched sarees, bamboo crafts and batik and hand block printed saris and textiles.But if shopping isn’t the only thing you’re here for, visit the Vishwabharati University campus. With its sprawling verdant campus, a shady canopy of trees (under which, open air classes are held at times) and sculptures by masters such as Ramkinker Baij, it’s a beautiful place for a walk. There are also guides, who can show you around. Monsoon Perks:With mercury hitting a sweltering 40 degrees c, Shantiniketan isn’t very pleasant during the summers. In the monsoons, however, it’s a pleasant 26 to 34 degrees c. Don’t Miss: Upasana Griha or Kanch Mandir, a prayer hall built with Belgian glass and marble by Rabindranath Tagore’s father Debendranath Tagore. At Khowai, Shantiniketan.Monsoon In a Tea CupZurranteeUnwind this season amidst acres of tea gardens and discover nature at its best at Zurrantee, a 19th century bungalow, now converted into a resort, which used to belong to the director of the tea gardens. The first thing to greet you as you enter the resort is its large porch with a cosy set of cane sofas in the centre. Overlooking the mist covered tea gardens, it seems like something out of a story book.Each of its large sprawling rooms is named after North Bengal’s rivers-Diana, Rondong, Lish and Moorti (which is a family suit). The corridor outside the rooms extends towards the kitchen and the staff is friendly enough to let you pop in to order tea or state your preferences for your meal. Ask for you breakfast to be served in the lawn where two ducks, a turkey and a dog will keep you company. Zurrantee also organises bonfires and folk dances in the evenings, and it’s lovely to sit under the stars and get warm and toasty next to the fire.A tour of the tea factory at the foothill is ideal for spending half a day and learning how tea granules are made. Other activities include visits to tourists spots such as Jhalong, Suntalekhola and Garumara Reserve Forests, all within driving distance from the resort. The rocky river banks are great fun to hop skip across and make for a good photo opportunity. If you are a wildlife enthusiast then visit the Garumara Reserve Forest, which is just a short drive away.advertisementMonsoon Perks: Enjoy endless cups of tea (they’re on the house!) or take a walk through the terraced slopes of the gardens. Don’t Miss: Packing a picnic bag and trekking to the sunrise point. Tariff: Rs 3,500 onwards per night Getting There Take one of the many trains leaving from Howrah and Sealdah to New Jalpaiguri. Zurrantee is a two-and-a-half hours drive from there. Tel 562200062, 9836362937 Email [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *