I had always been a fan of Driving and road trips gave me a lot of joy. Having spent my school days in Bhubaneshwar, prior to this I had driven from Kolkata to Bhubaneshwar, Bhubaneshwar to Puri but it was always in the presence of my father or the driver.
I started working in 2014, and after saving up for some months I was finally able to buy my dream machine. It was a 2002 Lancer Glxi Petrol. The car was a looker and I had with the help of an acquaintance got it modified to resemble an Evolution V. The picture of the car is attached below.
This trip was my first long drive after almost 7 months and as I was traveling to a place that was unknown to me, the excitement levels were quite high. So, after booking the hotel and making other necessary preparations, I along with my then girlfriend, now fiance and her brother set out on this road trip.
It was a weekend in the month of September 2015, we left on a Saturday and were scheduled to return back on Monday. The round trip was going to be a 350km drive with the local sightseeing and accordingly I had filled the car with a full tank with the hope of not having to refill in between.
We left from Sodepur at around 6 A.M and drove on the Barrackpore Trunk Road towards Dunlop. From there we took the Belghoria Express Way and after paying the first Toll after Nivedita Setu, we headed straight towards SH2. This road is the Kolkata exit of the Golden Quadrilateral, and one needs to exercise a bit of caution as there are 2 turns one heading towards Delhi, and the other towards Mumbai and Chennai. After about 1.2 km drive on SH2, we merged onto NH 19 and our next halt was at the Toll Plaza at Dankuni. From here onwards it was a straight road and we made good speed and covered about 73kms in about an hour to stop for breakfast at Balajee Food Park in Shaktigarh. This eatery is a preferred spot as they have good food, clean and hygienic toilets and a snacks outlet in the stop itself if you need to pack Saktigarh's famous Lyangcha or snacks such as Chips, Juices, Fancy Chocolates etc.
After an hour's halt for breakfast, we again started our journey towards Bolpur.
P.S: Balajee Food Park falls on the opposite foot while traveling towards Burdwan. So one has to make a U-Turn after crossing New Langcha Mahal that would fall on your left.
After taking a U-Turn again and falling back on the right track, we proceeded to complete the last leg of our journey. As we were going only for the weekend and it was my first time to Bolpur, I had made a list to visit the Khoai Haat and Shanibarer Haat (Saturday Market) along with a very famous cafe by the name of Alcha, in the evening.
After driving for about 17kms on the Grand Trunk Road (GT road) we took a right to merge on NH 114 reaching the entrance of Bardhaman town.
From here on, we started on the Suri Road and crossed the famous 108 Shiv Mandir of Burdwan. The road here passes through the town and at about 9-9:30 AM in the morning was a bit crowded. After driving for about 55km, through Guskara we reached the turn to enter Bolpur via the Kabi Jaydeb road. In another 1 km, the first left turn got us on the Shantiniketan-Sriniketan Road. The weather was pleasant and after a little asking around we finally reached our destination, Prokriti Bon Bungalow.
After reaching the hotel, we freshened up and had a sumptuous lunch comprising of, Rice, Dal, Posto Bora ( Poppy Seed fritters), Aloo-Posto ( A Bengali delicacy with poppy seeds and potatoes and Chutney. The food was one of the plus points of the hotel and we enjoyed our lunch.
After a short rest, we proceeded towards the Khoai Haat, which was just 5min away by car. The evening proceeded beautifully with live Baul songs, shopping for the family and clicking photos, we decided on exploring the city and heading to the famous Alcha cafe.
It was such a treat to be here, the pollution free air, the village roads, and the surroundings were calming and soothing. We left for the hotel at about 7 pm in the evening and faced a little congestion on the Khoai Bridge, after being in dead traffic for about an hour, we finally reached the hotel. The evening was spent chatting and we decided to call it a night after an early dinner.
The next day was eventful as we had planned to visit the home of Rabindranath Tagore, a very famous place, and the main tourist attraction in Bolpur, After spending some time there, we headed towards the very famous Maa Kankalitala Temple. This is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali and is said to be a pious spot. It's about 18kms away from the heart of the city and the drive through the lush green fields on either side of the Bolpur Laghata-Labpur-Road was scenic. The 10 km drive didn't take too long and after about 20 mins at the temple, we left.
Lunch that day was planned at another famous resort, the Banalakshmi.
A resort nestled in the heart of nature, about 20km from the temple, I had heard a lot about the food here from my fiance and after eating there, it has always been a point to at least have one meal there whenever I am in Bolpur. Traditional Bengali lunch with fish, mutton and vegetarian delicacies made up for a perfect Sunday Lunch.
We headed back to the hotel, which was 12km from Banalakshmi and being tired from the day's activities coupled with the divine lunch, I enjoyed a good afternoon siesta. The evening was spent in the hotel itself, with tea and snacks and before dinner we made an impromptu plan to visit the banks of the Kopai River. Unfortunately, we didn't find anything special as it wasn't a full moon night and after strolling there for some time we came back to the hotel. After dinner, we spent some time chatting with the owner of the hotel and decided to call it a night.
The next morning, we woke up early and visited a forest that was just behind our hotel, we walked through it to find that it directly led to the Khoai Ghat, After a small round of photos and selfies, we headed back to the hotel and after a quick breakfast checked out to start our journey back home, refreshed and filled with memories.