91 months ago

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- Route

Calcutta to Malda

Distance: 341.7 Km / 212.9 Mi Duration: 09:18:16


Woke up at 4:00am, had to leave by 5:00am. Was too sleepy to meet the exact deadline so finally ended up starting my journey with a half hour delay at 5:30am. Before I checked out got all my clothes laundered. I had purchased a fancy Triumph flask so had that filled with coffee & off to I embark on another adventure.

By 5:30 am the sun was already out & the sun rays were mildly spreading its hue across the horizon. There is a nip in the air but not enough to seek warm clothes. Its going to be winter soon & the more I head northwards its going to get cold. Anyways, the roads were not that empty as Calcutta starts early. Trucks are allowed to ply till 6:00am in the city limits & they were all over the narrow roads. The road conditions of the city & suburbs are deplorable. Through this mess I somehow made it to the expressway. It was simply brilliant thereafter till I had to get off it at Burdwan. I must say in the past decade Calcutta has become a vibrant & modern city. Its has grown leaps & bounds & one can see prosperity & change all around. Gone are the bleak days of broken buses & trams. People are mobile by multiple choices of transport. I am amazed & happy with the growth & prosperity that abounds Calcutta. I will not be surprised if many people from Bombay, Delhi, Chennai & Bangalore prefer to shift here to work & settle. I know many who have done so & are very happy with their life in the city.

The sentiment of abundance or prosperity is also seen in the outskirts. I must say that a lot of factories are scattered on the outskirts of the city. They also blatantly break the rules and are polluting the landscape. If this continues with impunity we will soon have our very own Shanghai problems here. The lush paddy fields surround these huge factories and once again I say "why cannot these factories be located on barren lands instead of the fertile ones?" Calcutta once abounded with ponds, today they have become housing complexes, the moment you cross the city limits the ponds are abundant again. Ponds means fishes, fishes mean fishermen fishing for them. Its only in this state I have seen even women fishing. (Check the photos to believe it) Its easy answer to the question about the staple diet of the locals - "Rice & Fish"

Post Burdwan the roads were horrendous, It was taking a hour to cross 20 kms on average. The state highways are in bad state thou contrastingly the national highways are well maintained & in excellent condition. This dispArity does not exist anywhere else but here in West Bengal (Oh someday we might have to call it Bangla, thats in motion somewhere) Since Taj Bengal filled my flask with coffee I could halt at the most scenic points and enjoy my halts. An amazing decision to carry flask this trip. My first halt for breakfast was at 8:15am at Harmur near ShantiNiketan. I had Roti's with something called Tarka with eggs. Basically lentils with egg in it. Since it was very salty I had very little of it. I was then enlightened its a Punjabi dish with a straight face I bought the story. I had a tasty lunch of Chicken & Roti in Jangipur.

Malda is a small grade 2 city in Northern Bengal. It was once the capital of Bengal and an important trading point during the silk route days. Post the British era it has relegated into the backdrop yet the city has important historical relevance. Malda, is very close to Bangladesh border & during partition initially it was believed to be part of East Pakistan thanks to unclear division report to the local administration. It officially was recognized as an Indian territory on 17th Aug 1947 but an important half Nawabganj of Malda went to East Pakistan. Malda is also the origin of the Sen's, yup my ancestors. When King Someshwara of Karnataka sent his son Vikramaditya VI to annex this region they left behind Senas from Karnataka to rule post their victory. Later the Senas formed their own dynasty and was called as the Sen Dynasty. Thus we are basically from Karnataka, no wonder I feel at home with Mangaloreian food.

Malda has amazing ruins around the city some from the Gour dynasty and some from the mogul era. I hired a car the moment I reached the hotel to go sight seeing. I managed to see the Golden Mosque & Eklakhi Mausoleum. I then headed to the famous Adina Mosque but was told that at 5:00pm it shuts to visitors. I was devastated, I was really looking forward to see it. As we headed back to hotel, I saw the Santhal tribals dancing to their folk music & went across to see it. I have one word to say "Amazing". They were all out as a part of some rally but the locals dancing was a sight to behold.

Tomorrow, I start early and head to Siliguri. Its the important city in the "chicken-neck" that connects India to Sikkim & the North East. Let see what tomorrow has in store for me, till then its adios.

Total distance covered today 336 kms Total Distance from Bombay 4454 kms

Golden Mosque

Golden Mosque

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