Home / Travelogues / Hyundai Verna in West Bengal “Sweet Escape”

 

West Bengal, with its rich history, is home to a diverse population of ethnicities, and cultures, as well as a diverse terrain. We set out this explore this great state with the Hyundai Verna 

West Bengal is well-known for its diverse culture and heritage. Kolkata, the state’s capital, is one of the country’s oldest cities, known not only for Durga Pooja but also for its wonderful local street food, unique variations of roshogolla, trams, and architectural splendour. However, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can take a road trip from Kolkata. There are a number of spots in West Bengal where you can relax and unwind. For our journey, this time, our mobility partner, Hyundai India, lent us a stunning new Verna premium sedan in a Fiery Red colour.

The Hyundai Verna is a very popular sedan in its category. The car has a fresh design language that is both sensual and athletic. It’s also daring and expressive in its own way. In the front, there have been some notable changes. The grille has been enlarged and the chrome has been darkened. The headlights have been replaced by new LED clusters. The bumper has a sportier appearance. The rear also has a faux diffuser that gives the car an athletic appearance.

We started our journey at the iconic Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. It is more than just a famous sight or a historically significant structure in the city. This spectacular landmark, which now is a museum, serves as a reminder of the city’s colonial and architectural history. This ornate marble memorial is also one of Kolkata’s main tourist attractions, nestled among lush green meadows. After India attained Independence, annexes to the memorial were built. The Victoria Memorial is designed in an Indo-Saracenic revivalist style that incorporates Mughal and British characteristics as well as Egyptian, Islamic, Venetian, and Deccani themes. The building, which is made of white Markana marble, is 103 metres by 69 metres and rises to a height of 56 metres.

After getting to know the Anglo side of West Bengal we headed deep into the countryside to Bishnupur which is a town in West Bengal’s Bankura district, around 132 kilometres from Kolkata. Terracotta temples and Baluchari saris are popular. The town’s rich architecture, music, and handicraft, including ceramics and weaving, reflect its illustrious past. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, it flourished.

Bishnupur, which was ruled by a line of Hindu Rajas from the Malla dynasty, created a unique style of architecture and boasts of some of the most spectacular and detailed terracotta work in Eastern India that has survived the ravages of time. Ramayana and Mahabharata stories are depicted on the terracotta tiles. Temples such as the Shyam Rai Temple, the Jorbangla twin shrines, and the Rasmancha are must-sees. Bishnupur is notable for its distinctive temples. Shyam Rai temple is one of these temples. It was built in 1643 by King Raghunath and is composed of terracotta with domes that are typical of Bishnupur architecture. The intricate ceramic work is breathtaking and well worth seeing.

While in Bishnupur, we also got a chance to see Rasmancha, India’s oldest brick temple. In AD 1600, King Hambhir founded Rasmancha in Bishnupur. The upper structure of Rasmancha was built with bricks, which is one of the edifice’s most fascinating aspects. The arches that encircle the temple’s solitary chamber are similarly made of bricks. Today, Rasmancha is no longer a temple. The Archaeological Survey of India has designated it as a protected monument.

After visiting these stunning temples, we made our way towards Santiniketan. This place represents Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a learning centre free of religious and geographical boundaries. Santiniketan, founded in 1863 with the goal of extending education outside the classroom, blossomed into Visva Bharati University in 1921, attracting some of the country’s most innovative minds.

Santiniketan was built on Tagore’s values of humanism, internationalism, and environmental sustainability from the beginning. He created a curriculum that was a unique mix of art, human values, and cross-cultural exchange. Even today, his presence, passion, dedication, and pride in the institution can be felt in every step, every brick, and every tree. This is the intriguing story of how Tagore’s former home, Santiniketan, evolved into a thriving centre of art, education, and internationalism through the decades.

West Bengal is known for a variety of things, food being one of the most essential. The delectable rasgullas, chomchom, and rasamalai as well as the very tasty sorshe ilish and chingri macher malai curry are just a few of the mouth-watering and tantalising dishes of Bengali cuisine.

Having been on the road visiting all the places, we were really looking forward to grabbing a proper local Bengali meal. “Oh! Calcutta” is a fantastic place to start your culinary adventure in Kolkata. It serves the staples of traditional Bengali cuisine which are rich in flavour. The availability of mouth-watering fish delicacies such as smoked, boneless bhetki and hilsa prepared in traditional Bengali style tempt you to overindulge. You can choose from a variety of preparations to please your inner foodie, ranging from freshwater fish to the region’s major catches from lakes or ponds, from prawns to salty fish like ilish. Last but not least, finish this delicacy with some delectable Bengali desserts such as sondesh, mishti doi, Nolen Gurer ice-cream and so on. Also, the decor at “Oh! Calcutta” pays homage to this beautiful city with its lovely artwork on the walls. 

Many of us across India consider the Bengali language to be a very sweet language and some people of equating this to the Bengalis’ fondness for sweet dishes. The variety of sweets and pastries offered in the region is incredible. While some of those distinctly Bengali recipes and goods have now spread throughout the country, there are still a number of sweets that have yet to achieve their full potential and appeal. Roshogolla is a soft circular mithai made of chhena and dipped in a sugary syrup that is one of the most popular Bengali sweets. Rajbhog is a near cousin of this famous dessert with a delectable stuffing consisting of dry fruit, saffron, cardamom, and other spices in the centre.

Having eaten to our heart’s content, we set out to explore Kumartuli (which means “potter locality”), which is a 300-year-old village. It was founded by a group of potters who moved to the area in quest of better opportunities. Around 150 families now reside there, making a living as idol sculptors for various events. The artists begin by creating a kathamo or bamboo frame for the idol. They cover it with straw to give it structure and then cover it with clay to give it its final shape. They paint and adorn the statue once it has dried in the sun for a few days. However, because the work is done during the rainy season when the weather is moist, the drying process can be a challenge. Should you appreciate art, you must pay a visit to Kumartuli. It’s a place with a distinct cultural flavour. People, as well as gods and goddesses in various stages of execution, coexist in the tiny maze of streets and alleyways. Exploring them and seeing the artists at work exposes a fascinating world within a world right in front of your eyes.

Making our way to the Prinsep Ghat, named after James Prinsep and built-in 1841 during the British regime, is one of the nicest sites to visit in Kolkata. Prinsep Ghat is one of Kolkata’s oldest historical sites. The Victoria Memorial is around 3.5 kilometres from the Ghat. Because of its proximity to Vidyasagar Setu, this location appears to be even more attractive. The Ganga Ghat is the main feature of this location, where you can relax and unwind. We took a calm boat ride and tried to catch the evening sunset before the monsoon clouds closed in on the iconic Howrah Bridge.


Talking about monsoon clouds, we had to make our way to our last stop of this trip, which was Digha beach. ​​It is the most prominent beach resort and tourist destination and is located on the Bay of Bengal’s coast in the East Midnapore district. It’s a 187-km drive from Kolkata to the southwest. Digha has a modest grade and a shallow, firm sand beach that stretches for seven kilometres. The beach is surrounded by casuarina plants that add to the attractiveness of the area. The sea begins about a mile from the beginning of the beach in Digha. With the dark clouds upon us signifying the beginning of the monsoon, this windy beach was a fitting finale to the trip where we got to explore this great state of West Bengal.

The Hyundai Verna was a perfect partner for this trip. The spirited new Verna offers everything you’ve ever wanted in a premium sedan, plus a whole lot more, such as cooled seats, which are a godsend on those hot and humid days here. Our takeaway from this trip was the feeling of the sweet open-hearted nature of the Bengali people and we were glad we got to experience their culture as well.

 

 

 

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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