destination india

Thursday, May 05, 2005

route to the roots

(Some readers have voiced different opinions on ’a dream called kolkata’. This is to be expected. I have only penned my observations and the impressions that I have gathered in my brief stay of a couple of weeks. It may please be noted that I am not sitting in judgment on any person….)

After the shooting of the film Yuva starring Vivek Oberoi and Abhishek Bachhan atop the Vidyasagar setu (also known as the second Howrah bridge), it is now the turn of Aamir Khan to capture more cinematographic locales of Kolkata. He has chosen the steps of the heritage building, the National Library, to be precise. It is going to be the backdrop of Aamir’s movie on Mangal Pandey complete with sahibs, memsahibs and horse carriages. Let us hope the film will revive memories of the sepoy mutiny days.
Nico Park, like Swabhumi, has, for quite some time now, been an ideal getaway for families on weekends or on short holidays. An addition is on the anvil to make it even more attractive. The House of Horrors is being opened shortly. It is a light and sound show – the story revolves around a colonel, his witch of a wife, a couple of handicapped children and a brother. The hideous entrance is made of fiber glass.
Swabhumi itself is a wonderful retreat in the evenings. Just strolling up and down its stairs and sitting, once in a while, amongst nature upgrades ones energy levels. Whoever dreamt up such landscapes deserves praise.
The oldest living being can be found in Kolkata. A Galapagos tortoise, that has been around in the Alipore Zoo gardens for the last 175 years is about to celebrate its 300th birthday shortly. Before coming to the Alipore Zoo, it was in the Barrack pore Zoo for the first 125 years!
And then there is this movie house in Swabhumi called ‘89’!! All its tickets are priced at Rs 89.00 only. While going for a movie to Priya, I discovered a new look Gariahat – wide roads, tram lines uprooted on Rash Behari Road (for relaying after concretization). The board of the restaurant Hatari was visible from the road – I had to give it a miss for lack of time.
The Park Mansions, situated in the corner of the crossing of Park Street, Free School Street and Royd Street, was built by the Armenian Jute merchant Thaddeus Mesrope Thaddeus in 1910. It is presently lying in a state of decay. After a fire gutted the Alliance Francaise, the French Cultural Center and Sky Room downed its shutters; the landmark is fading from memories. In order to prevent such a catastrophe, plans are being worked out to renovate the complete set up, give it a totally modern look and throw it open to the public in another eighteen months time.
(to be continued …)


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