This post belongs to the part of my Kolkata series. The latest trip to Kolkata was all about Food, exploring the City of Joy, Pujo Shopping, exploring local markets, Photography. So there will be a post related to each of it.
Since my husband shifted to Kolkata I felt like I got a license to visit the city of Joy over and over again. My husband was at first confused that why I am so happy that he was transferred to a different city and I cannot shift with him due to my work. Least he knows that I have some hidden agenda. Though I am sad yet I know there is no use cursing the situation or fighting it back. There are many couples like us who stay in distant cities bound by work for a livelihood. The only thing to do is acceptance and looking forward to something new and positive. Moreover, I am going to get a chance to visit the city of joy almost every month. It will be a great opportunity for me to explore the city, enjoy its delicious food and yes the best part explore the local market.
It was my trip to Kolkata after more than a year. So I was very excited, I lined up some places to visit as my husband got a few days to leave to set up the home. My sister-in-law’s husband was insisting on visiting Dakshineswar Kali Mandir and savour upon some gorom hing-er kochuri. Well, I have been to the temple during my school days and also eat a zillion times hing-er kochuri also popularly called Radhaballavi from the local street stalls. But he insisted we should taste it in the stall located on the temple premises. We had no other option but to make a tour at least once.
15th August was fixed for visiting the temple as it was a holiday and the weather seemed just perfect. We took a cab from Doultala and reached Dakshineswar within an hour. The cab dropped us at the taxi stand and from there we took a rickshaw and reached inside but we had to walk for another few minutes.
The Daksineswar temple was founded by Rani Rashmoni in the 19th Century. It is said that she was on her way to Banaras but she had a vision of the Divine Goddess Kali herself and she instructed to construct a temple of Goddess Kali and worship there. She was a woman of great power and leadership during the British rule in India and she single handedly administered the vast estate left by her bereaved husband. After the head priest of the temple Ramkumar passed away, his younger brother Sri Ramkrishna Paramsangha Dev along with his wife Maa Sarada Devi took the position of his elder brother and became ardent devotees of Maa Kali. Both of them served Maa Kali in the temple till their death and popularised the temple among lots of Hindu devotees all over the world.
Be careful of the vendors selling various items necessary for Puja at the temple. Buy only that is required to you. They have a tendency to sell you lot of items in the name of God but keep a restrain on your devotion and also think about whether you need that stuff or not. When we were there they started pulling my husband and this thing irritated me most. But nothing to do that is how these people earn their daily bread. But more disappointment was coming our way as we saw a long queue in front of the temple gate and within no time it started raining cats and dogs. I lost all patience by then.
We prayed from outside, and skipped standing in the queue and instead went to the Ganga Ghat. Another disappointment was coming our way. It was so dirty, people have littered the ghat with almost everything. I felt disgusted when in the whole country we were running cleanliness drives these are the places which require utmost attention. The Ganga is the most holy river of our country but seeing the condition of the river I felt so bad , I just touched and prayed. Due to rain the condition had become more adverse, it was muddy and slippery and may cause accidents. Please be careful if you are planning to visit.
But the view from Ghat was amazing, you can see the Vivekananda Setu from a distance, steamer boats passing by which take you to Belur Math. Black clouds hover all over with a slight drizzle and the Ganga flowing by made everything picturesque.
After taking lots of photographs it was time to get near the stalls which I had already spotted as I entered the temple premises. There was a huge crowd inside all the stalls, you had to be very patient. We selected the last stall, a man was shouting at the top of his voice asking the boys to clean to empty table. One man was carrying a tray full of assorted sweets like roshogulla, lalmohan, etc and another one was serving Gorom Hing-er kochuri which was my special attraction, another man was busy serving water while another served side dishes like Chats and Doi boras which looked delicious.
On seeing us the man who was shouting at the top of his voice asked one of the boys to clean the desk and bench for us. Oh,, by the way,, did I tell you there were no tables and chairs like the one you find in restaurants, instead, there were desks and benches and people sat in groups to enjoy the food. No one comes here for ambience but one and only Hing-er Kochuri.
I have been using the word Hing too often, Hing means “Asafoetida” which is an common ingredient used in most Indian curries. It smells really good. “Kochuri” is a kind of Indian Pastry often stuffed with bruised pulses. You must also read my previous post on the top food items that you must eat when in Kolkata. It was something more than your regular Biryani and puchkas. I want to share my experience and thus as I wrote the previous post on Top five food that you must eat in Kolkata.
The wait ended and there came our plate full of Hing-er Kochuri, there was five of them and to accompany the Kochuris they served Channa’s dal. The combination was deadly I tell you and for a foodie bong like me it seemed nothing more than bliss. We had two plates each it was so delicious. Next we ordered Doi-Bora, which means fritters dipped in curd and topped with various kinds of Chutnet made of Tomato,Tamarind, Mint, etc , some red chilly powder, lots of Sev on top. The sweet and tangy taste gives a heavenly delight. I won’t say that it was the best doi bora or hing-er Kochuri I ever had in Kolkata but yes one I can’t deny is that the food, the ambience, the rainy weather and the crowd all together was phenomenal.
We were about to finish the doi-bora when the man serving the sweets insisted to try some Rosogulla and Lalmohan, well we could not refuse, in fact, I especially was dying to have these. One each, rosogulla and lalmohan as desserts, what else I need in life. On way back, I tried to click some pictures of the man who sat on a high platform and was busy making the kocuris. He was really shy and as I took out my camera to take a picture he said, ” Photo tulben na didibhai, mallick bokbe” (Don’t click picture sister, the owner will get angry). I am sure the malik won’t be angry rather he was too shy for my camera. Nevertheless, the trip ended on a very happy note. Lots of memories and for we kept something for the next visit. As this time we could not perform the Puja due to the heavy crowd.