In the first part of this series ( Best things to know about kolkata – Part 1 ) we have talked about the Literature of Kolkata, Sports Craze, Foods of Kolkata, River Ganges and Shopping in Kolkata. Now the things that we couldn’t cover in the first part is here.
Best things to know about kolkata – Part 2
City of palace – Kolkata
Kolkata is also named as the “City of Palace” in India as it is known for the renowned Rajbaris or Palaces which had been built at the time of British colonial era. At that time, 1700 – 1900, Kolkata was the capital of India, so, there were many mansions built in the British architectural pattern and also of Bengali culture. There are so much variety among them with heritage and love, in bengali its সাবেকিয়ানা. As the British Raj buildings are scattered throughout the cityscape Kolkata is nicknamed “City of Palaces”. Another city in India is also called city of palaces, that is Mysore , read more about Mysore here.
Sweets of Kolkata
If you have a friend who is bengali, then you will see he/she can jump over the fire for sweets, just kidding :p . Rasgulla is what most referenced sweet when people talks about bengali sweets but there’s so many more which are equally or more yummy than Rasgulla like Langcha, Khirkadam, Goja, CHanaPora, Misti DOi ( fountain of life ^_^ ), Nolen gurer sandesh, Pantua and millions of more. I have heard that someone had done a doctorate on the sweets of bengal, it’s a vast subject altogether. My advice, If there is an bengali in your circle you must ask him for sweets; No matter how bad your day is, the taste will melt your heart.
Legends of Kolkata
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.
Bengal has produced too many visionary people who have been admired throughout the world. Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore, Mani Bhowmik, Jagadish Chandra Bose and more . Also Mother Teresa has been here for a long time serving people.
Trams of Kolkata
Kolkata is well known for the trams which is a short distance coverage transport and runs slowly throughout the city. Can you guess the first city to have trams in India ? You don’t have to think too much, it’s Kolkata! It started in 1873 with horses , then from 1902 Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) started electric tram; the first tram car in asia operated from Esplanade to Kidderpore. And Kolkata is the only city in the world to retain its Tram services till now after almost 150 years. It’s very pleasant ride and one must take it for a city wide good view as well as a heritage ride.
Mysteries of Kolkata
Kolkata is also very famous for its mysterious incidents and spooky happenings. Places like National library, Howrah Bridge, Nimtala Ghat, Writer’s Building, Putulbari are known to be haunted.
“Those places where sadness and misery abound are favoured settings for stories of ghosts and apparitions. Calcutta has countless such stories hidden in its darkness, stories that nobody wants to admit they believe but which nevertheless survive in the memory of generations as the only chronicle of the past. It is as if the people who inhabit the streets, inspired by some mysterious wisdom, realise that the true history of Calcutta has always been written in the invisible tales of its spirits and unspoken curses.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, in The Midnight Palace, 2011.
A ghost story in Kolkata
I can tell you one incident which happened with my grandfather . My GrandFather used to work near BBD Bag, and he used to return home every weekend. This incident happened in 70’s, I don’t know the exact date as I heard this story from my Grandmother in childhood. Usually it would be 11 at night when he returned to home after travelling 3 hour in train and bus. But on that night the train was late, so he got in hometown around 12 and from the bus stop he had to walk 3km to home. It was a small village on the banks of Rupnarayan river and at that time after 8 pm there won’t be any person in the road, so every time he had to walk alone to home.
After the main road when he started walking on the empty road through the farmland with his torch ( those days 5 cell torch used to come ) he heard a sound, happening in a regular interval, like someone sobbing. At first he ignored that as at night you will get to hear lots of sound in a deserted field like continuous chorus of insects , unusual chatters by birds , whistles by unknown animal; and he thought maybe it’s of a hyena, which can be misinterpreted as a sound of baby crying. But after sometime he got curious as he understood it’s something else , more of a human voice and the voice was gradually increasing as if the source is approaching towards him. He was in early 40s, 6 feet tall and very brave, he didn’t get afraid and turned back . The Light of his 5 cell torch fall on the road he already covered and on that moonless night it was the soul light on the empty fields, and he saw something in distant , seemed more of a faded figure he tried to look more closely. Unfortunately his torch stopped , not a new thing , he shook the torch and the light was back , to his surprise the shadow was not there . He felt that he may have hallucinated but the thought changed when he felt presence of something beside him and when he looked it was a man in white cloths and the face was distorted and there was no feet , as if that person is just floating in the air. Now he got scared took some steps back all of a sudden again the torch stopped working and it was not getting on.
As there was no light , at first he couldn’t see anything but darkness has it’s own light which you get when you are in total dark , so in some moment he got some vision and he saw that mysterious thing was standing there and sound was still coming. Now he got little scared , the person standing there, wasn’t talking anything and all in white plus face was totally distorted , he couldn’t be able to see the feet, My grandfather didn’t stop he called the person saying who are you. After he saw it got disappeared , he was shocked , how can something just get disappear in front of him , even though it was dark at that time people in village were used to it and had good visibility in dark also.
All upto this was still good , grandfather was little shaken seeing this and tried to look other places , and all of a sudden it re-appeared close to him and started running towards him , now he got scared and started running. Surprisingly he was hearing someone was calling him from behind and but he didn’t stop, there was a Shiv temple in the road he had only that in mind he was running with all power. Finally he got close to that temple, but voice of calling him didn’t stop. It was very tempting despite being so fearful he couldn’t avoid and at last turned back once. After that when he opened his eyes he was in bed at home with fever; my grandma said he had severe fever for 3 days , not in sense and he murmured about some terrible faces he saw. When he got well he said he didn’t remember anything about that night. The priest from the temple rescued him after hearing a scream, he was lying there in road senseless.
There is a myth in villages that at night if something calls you from behind don’t look back.
Honestly I never wanted to end the article with a horror story , but it came along anyways in the next article I will cover all the known – unknown places of Kolkata , till then stay tuned and feel free to give feedbacks.