Wednesday, August 23, 2023

 Metiabruz heritage walk held on 16.07.2023.

I participated in a walking tour in Matiabruz, commemorating 200th birth anniversary of Wajid Ali Shah. Shaikh Sohail of Break Free Trails and Soumyadeep of Heritage and Art Walks Kolkata started the heritage walk on July 16,2023  from the Garden Reach clock tower, covering remaining structures from the era of Wajid Ali Shah, including the Shahi Astabal Masjid, Qasrul buka Imambara, Bait-un-Nijat Imambara and Sibtainabad Imambara. 

The life (1822-1887) of the Nawab is almost symmetrically divided into two halves — the first of which he spent in Lucknow and the second in Kolkata’s Metiabruz. These two halves are divided into two sides of the installation, in the form of a story told by two fish (the emblem of Awadh). The first fish narrates the story of the Nawab’s life in Lucknow. The second section of the tale is told by the fish from Bengal. The Nawabs of Awadh are Shia, unlike most (87%) people in India, who are Sunnis. About 90 percent of Iranians practice Shiaism, the official religion of Iran. The first Nawab of Awadh, Sadaat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk, was a Persian noble from Khorasan, Iran (Uzbekistan was part of Khorasan, apart from Afghanistan and N East Iran). 


Wajid Ali Shah brought/introduced the following to Kolkata :

1. Awadhi art and literature, 

2. Poetry (Urdu)

3.  Kathak Dance 

4.  Sports - Kabutar bazi (Pigeon flying) and Kite flying,

5. Fashion (Tailoring) 


7. Zoo

The Legacy Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta 

The first Nawab of Awadh, Sadaat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk, was a Persian noble from Khorasan, Iran, who came to India in 1708 . The last was Wajid Ali Shah, who spent the last 31 years of his life in Calcutta. After Awadh was annexed in 1856 by the English East India Company on a false charge of maladministration, its last king Wajid Ali Shah decided to come to Kolkata with his mother Malikah Kishwar. Shah decided to live in Kolkata and chose Metiaburj as the burbling Hooghly river reminded him of the Gomti in Lucknow and gave some solace to his broken heart.

1&2. Urdu flourished and grew exponentially when thousands of citizens of Awadh flocked to Metiabruz. The settlers spoke chaste Urdu and its sweetness spread quickly. Shah passionately promoted and patronised this language by encouraging writers and poets. Events like mushairas (poetic symposiums), ghazals and qawalis became very popular. The patronage gave rise to a new generation of talented poets, writers, singers, and narrators elevating Kolkata as an important centre of Urdu.

Talented local artists like Raja Sourindra Mohan Tagore and Pandit Jadu Bhatta benefitted from this musical atmosphere

3. The king in the true regal style held regular Kathak dance programmes in his parikhana .

The babus of Bengal, impressed by this, built their jalsaghar (dancing halls) where such programmes were regularly held. As the rich Bengalis started extending their patronage to artists, the spin-off was  the popularity of classical dance.

4.The pastime of kite flying was  introduced by Shah in Kolkata, where it caught the imagination of the rajas, maharajas and zamindars of 19th-century Bengal and became their favourite hobby. Although this sport has few takers now, still there are many units active in Metiabruz producing thousands of kites which are supplied all over India. A large number of women operating from their houses are involved in this trade.

Other pastimes like flying pigeon (kabootar bazi) also became extremely popular. A lot of time, money and energy was spent on rearing and training pigeons. Some indulged in cross-breeding pigeons to produce champions. Even now, in many homes, men take an active interest in this sport. Like kite flying, the sport of flying pigeons is fading but there is still a band of enthusiasts who indulge in this fascinating hobby. I actually witnessed a programme in New Town where prizes were distributed among the winners. I got to know from them that it is a very popular Sport.

If you do not believe it,see this :

5. The rulers and nobilities of Awadh were fashion-conscious and Shah brought with him the fine art of Lucknawi tailoring. To cater to their demand, many tailors from Awadh settled close to Metiabruz.They excelled in stitching  sherwani, churidar, kurta-pyjama and shalwar-kameez. One generation handed over the skills to the next and gradually a huge army of tailors emerged. There are hundreds of shops selling clothing materials and other accessories making it one of the biggest manufacturing centres for unbranded garments in Asia generating revenue of Rs 15,000 crore annually. The dresses manufactured here are sold in leading boutiques of the country besides being exported. 

6. If there is one thing the people of this state remember and love Shah the most for is the introduction of delectable Awadhi cuisine in general and biryani in particular. Some of the talented chefs who accompanied him prepared dishes like pulao, korma, kebabs, biryani, sheermal and shahi tukra. His chefs introduced the traditional Awadhi style of cooking, known as Dum Pukht, in Kolkata. 

7. Alipore Zoo : He had his private zoo, first of its kind in Kolkata (there are stories how a tiger escaped and swam across the Hooghly to Botanical garden), which were later transferred to Alipore Zoo.

Source :

Interesting Shah died in Kolkata. His wife ('nikah wife') died in Kathmandu and his mother died in Paris.

To know more read : 




Monday, August 7, 2023


মুন্ডপাত in Mandu




Mode of Travel

Night Halt


11/8 (Fr)-12/8 (Sat)

  CCU-Delhi -IDR

CCU-Delhi -IDR (Vistara - free dinner and breakfast served)

2030-0715 hrs

 Delhi Airport


12/8 (Sat)

Indore - Mandu (90Km)

Jahaj Mahal-Talao-Baz Bhadur-Rupmati

Auto for 2 days @4200/-

Mandu - Ajooba





13/8 (Sun)


Mandu –-Maheswar (40 Km) -Indore (1730 hrs)  

Indore city tour - Rajwada Palace and a temple


Kept luggage at cloak room of Indore Rail Station @ Rs 15 for 24 hours

Night Train 


Night Train to BPL


Indore  - Bhopal 

 2315         510


14/8 (Mon)

 Bhopal  - Bhimbekta -Bhojpur - Bhopal

40,000 yrs old cave painting

Auto  @1200/-

=114 Km

Bhopal - Fab Hotel HTC

Address: 38, Jumerati Rd, Jumerati, Peer Gate Area, Bhopal, 462001,               Phone: +91 70424 24242                      GPS coordinates: N 023° 15.690, E 77° 24.149 

Museums are closed on Monday


15/8 (Tue)

Sightseeing at Bhopal - 

Moti Masjid - Jama Masjid-Taj ul Masjid-Upper Lake-Lower Lake-Bharat Bhaban -Jumerati Gate

Walking + Auto

Around 10 Km

Fab Hotel HTC

Bhopal - wiki/Bhopal


16/8 (Wed)

Bhopal - Sanchi - UNESCO HERITAGE Vidisha - Udaygiri caves - Heliodorus pillar - Boopal 

Auto  @1500/


=122 Km

Fab Hotel HTC





17/8 (Thu)



Bhopal - Manab Sanghralay Museum

Whole day

Night train to GWL 


BPL      GWL

 2350    745 hrs

Night Train 

Train late by 2 hours 



18/8 (Fri)

 Shani Chura Temple - Bateswar group of temples at Morena -Garhi Padhavali-Mitaoli 


After lunch at hotel, left for MP tourism office at Gandhi Road (Tansen Hotel) - Jaivilas Palace - Tansen tomb


Went straight to Bateswar from station (at 8 am) and came back to hotel at 1230 hours

82 Km in total

Share Auto (locally known at tempo, which is bigger than normal Auto) @10/- each

Hotel at Loco (4 no. Platform) to Paraoh (10/-)

Paraoh to MP Tourim office (10/-) at Gandhi Road (Office at Rail station closed)

Tourim office to Jaivilas Palace - 10/-

Jaivilas Palace to Tansen Tomb - 10/-

Tansen Tomb to Ajira - 10/-

Ajira - Hotel - 10/-


FabExpress Royal Villas 
@ Rs 1200 

(Fab Express Ambika, Gwalior, said they will not accept my booking, since I have made full payment to Agoda ! So Fab Group booked the above hotel for us at the last moment)

Address: Plot no 9, Maa pitambara vihar colony, behind loco railway colony, Gwalior Madhya Pradesh 474002.

(within 120 metres from 4 no platform bridge)

Google Maps directions 👉


19/8 (Sat)

GWL – Fort 

East Gate - Alamgiri Gate/Gwalior Gate - Chaturbhuj temple-Man Singh Palace-Karan Palace-Shaj Jahan Palace-Archaeological museum-Sas Bahu Temple-Teli Temple-Gurudwara-Jain Rock art-West Gate

Hotel at Loco (4 no. Platform) toAjira (10/-)

Ajira to Fort (East Gate - Alamgiri Gate/Gwalior Gate (10/-)

From Gate to Fort (by walk) - there is a barrier - car/auto not allowed

Fort (Teli Mandir) - West Gate - by walk (auto or car also possible) 


FabExpress Royal Villas


20/8 (Sun)



1630      1830     1300

(Flight diverted and delayed by Spice Jet)   




Saturday, August 5, 2023

Twende Tanzania - Hakuna Matata - Tour Planning

 Twende Tanzania - Hakuna Matata


Twende Tanzania         




Mode of Travel

Night Halt




2115     1210 (T2)






0550 hrs     0920 hrs

DAR        ARUSHA(ARK)                         1530 hrs







Burunge Tented Lodge FB

If you get picked up  from ARK, instead of JRO (Airport Kilimanjaro), total car hire costs will go down by around $70-80 ($12-15) per person or pp – our price reflects that. Went down to US$ 2040 from 2055.

If you are willing to go for Camping, then the rates will be less by around US$ 700

Tarangire we have a whole day on 12.11. We can do 2 safaris or a full day one. But since we are staying outside the park, we have to unnecessarily pay again (extra $65), if we enter the park twice.

We will have a very very tiring day on 10th/11th November after many midnight/early morning flights with no sleep. So we HAVE to go to bed very early for regaining energy to enjoy our first safari in Tanzania.

Decision: So we will whole day safari , else we have to pay 65 USD twice, since we are staying just outside. May be, we can leave after having breakfast and come back after sunset.







I found out that there is a night safari available in Tarangire but you can do it only if you stay inside the park.  Quite expensive, but I thought I should share with you in case you may be interested.

In Night safari you add the costs - 280 for safari plus 80 more to stay inside.

 Decision: Omit night safari

Safari Car

Marera View nr Serengeti

The baobab tree is easily recognized by its enormous trunk and scrawny stems and twigs. It is one of the most distinctive symbols of Africa. In Tanzania, visitors can admire baobab trees within all national parks, but particularly in Tarangire National Park, which is unofficially known as the “Baobab Capital of the World.”                                   



 # Mau suggests us to leave Tarangire after an early breakfast ASAP and stay at a camp in Central Serengeti the day we arrive. Game drive starts as we cross the gate.

 # Move in to another camp in North Serengeti the next day after the game drive so that we can scan the northern part at leisure without time wasting.

#Third night we come back again to the central part and leave for Ngorongoro the next morning.

 Essentially, we have to move to a new camp every day and spend the 3 nights in Central-North-Central Serengeti. Shouldn't be a problem as I'm hoping we will come with one hand bag and a backpack.

Serengeti is HUGE and even the central part is 100 Kms from the gate. Everyday will be a full day safari for best game viewing. Can do two safaris per day at the cost of missed opportunities to explore the park to the fullest.

We cannot afford to waste time coming back to the tent and going out again. Plus we will be on the move as we change  camps after every safari. Central, North and back to Central.

All wild life lovers do full day safaris. Thankfully, Serengeti has fabulous infrastructure. Very good and clean bathrooms with flush toilets. So we will take packed lunch and enjoy each day.

We will have a breakfast & lunch break in the savannah.

But catch up on sleep every night.

 Decision: Will do whole day safaris everyday


SERENGETI - Central Serengeti

Safari Car


Tanzania Pure Tented Camp FB



SERENGETI - Serengeti North

Safari Car


Kimbilio Tanzania FB



SERENGETI - Central Serengeti

Safari Car


Tanzania Pure Tented Camp FB





The morning we leave for Ngorongoro on 16/11, we must aim to leave as early, as we can since Ng is criminally expensive and we want to maximize our time there. That is also a whole day tour.






Marera Mt. View Lodge FB



The Ngorongoro area is very pretty.

If we feel energetic enough, there is an option to walk around some other craters there or go for a village walk. The guide will tell us the details.

Safari Car












NGOR  ARK (3 Hr 30 Min by car) Via Lake Manyara, if possible

Optional costs:  Oldupai Gorge

visit- US$ 40.00 PP

 Oldupai excavation site is on the way to Serengeti. Very exciting for history lovers, but will take 2 hrs to explore as there's a museum as well. We need to think if we want to reduce our time at Serengeti. One more thing. We need to tell her by Nov 1st if we want to do the Olduvai Gorge Visit (per adult $40) on our way to Serengeti as she needs to buy the tickets beforehand.,beings%20to%20walk%20on%20Earth  



Manyara can be done en route Arusha on the last day at an additional park fee of around $65, but she feels it's not worth it as sighting is poor

But can do canopy walk at Manyara also. Canopy walk (Manyara) : We recently took group of schoolkids from Mayo College. They had fun, but said that the walk was too short. They saw monkeys and did not see any animals. The canopy walk is at the gate. Not inside

One more thing. We need to tell her by Nov 1st, if we want to do the the Canopy Walk (US$65) as she needs to buy the tickets beforehand

To reach ARK on time for 4 pm flight, must leave Ngorongoro latest by 12 noon or earlier if we plan to do the Canopy Walk






Address :  Zanzibar, Mjini Magharibi Region, Tanzania 

6°09'44.0"S 39°11'31.5"E ( )

Hosted by Genè Redelinghuys,

 +255 774 781 982

Confirmation code: HMM4QQXQ3Y

Directions from your host : 

Airport / island transfers can be arranged with prior notice, for an additional fee.
Airport transfers are $15 each way (7.5 Km) for upto 6 guests to Stone Town and island transfers from the South / North or East Coasts are approx. $45 each way, for up to 6 guests.
Extra charges apply for pick-ups before 6am and after 10pm and delays exceeding 30 min.

The hosts assistant, Eddie will meet guests at Lukmaan Restaurant located at the Mkunazini Baobab tree on New Mkunazini Rd and escort guests to the apartment and assist with the check-in. Guests are please requested to inform the host in advance of their estimated arrival time to ensure a timely and smooth check-in.

ARK – Zanzibar (ZnZ)

1600       1700

The tour ends at ARK

Inclusion of the tour cost :

Meals & Accommodation as stated in the Itinerary above

Exclusive Use of our Non AC - 6 seater 4 x 4 Safari Land Cruisers with a professional English speaking guide on the Safari

Arusha Airport Transfers as per the Itinerary.

Mineral water (1 Ltr)  on Safari Game drives.

Park Entrance/ Concession Fees as per itinerary.

1 Ngorongoro Crater Tour.

Game viewing drives as per itinerary

All Government Taxes & service charge in Hotel accommodation.

Exclusion :

 International /National airfare inclusive of related taxes.

Visa entry fees.

All Optional Activities extras not stated.

Olduvai Gorge Visit- Per Adult US$40.00 / Per Child US$15.00

Masaai Village Visit- Per Vehicle US$50.00

Balloon Safari US$550.00 Per Adult


Guide tips – “Mau said around $200 for the whole trip approx i.e. about $33 pp”

COVID 19 PCR test and related administration charges.

Expenses of personal nature such as telecommunications, tips

Laundry services not unless otherwise mentioned

Alcoholic drinks.

Travel, baggage and medical insurance (Highly recommended)

Any other item/s not specified above






Is it Worth Visiting Jozani Forest in Zanzibar?

The unique nature of Jozani Park and Chwaka Bay have been protected by UNESCO since 1997. The territory of the reserve itself is uninhabited, but almost 16 thousand people live in the surrounding villages – the Bantu, Khadimu and Shirazi peoples. Some of them work in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park Biosphere Reserve.

Jozani Chwaka Bay Park is open from 07:30 to17:00, the ticket costs $10 for an adult and $5 for a child. This amount includes the services of a guide who conducts a tour in English. 

 It’s open to visitors daily from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Fortunately, Jozani is easily accessible from most parts of Zanzibar. It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from the capital city, Stone Town. The distance from Stone Town to Jozani Park is about 38 km. 

In case you want to experience the local buses, dala-dala, bus no. 309, 310 and 3240 go towards Jozani from the Darajani terminal in Stone Town. 

The Taxi fare to Jozani will be around 80 USD by Mini Van for a group of 6 people.

An hour and a half is enough for the forest, so a trip here can be combined with a tour of Stone Town





 ZNZ        DAR      






By Ferry

1.Buy Ferry ticket on 19.11.2023 from ZNZ to DAR – 7-8.45/9.30-1115/1230-1415 (except Soma)

2. Distance between DAR ferry point to Airport is 18 Km.



DAR               MUM  DIRECT 

 1950 HRS       0420 Hrs 






1015      1245




Dos and Donts

 Also it is wise to carry malaria :  - Pls read this very very carefully.

While shorts is allowed on safaris, it's not in Znz. On beaches n hotels yes, but not when you roam around. Camouflage dresses only reserved for the army. In Indian safaris, camouflage clothing is widely popular. There it's not allowed

Wear any colour except dark blue. It attracts tsetse flies. All I want to say is do not buy clothes separately for safari. Wear short sleeve tee and on top full sleeve / wear windcheater with hoodie

Temp 11-30 degree Celsius  - so take warm clothes

Carry wipes and sanitizing spray. Buy some Dettol wipes (original green ones) as it's also supposed to be a tsetse repellant.

Pls remember to write the payee name correctly : Africa Keys Limited



Polio vaccine or drops not needed for Tanzania.  Yellow fever is also not needed to be honest, as Tz has got out of the WHO list, but the immigration people may create problems to get bride. Why take a risk with so much money at stake?

We should be looking at $2040 package tour +$50 visa (+$40 Olduvai )

The rest 2040-1224=816 pay after landing + US$ 50 visa fees

+$35 is per transfer and not per person.

So you have to pay (assuming 4 (Abira, Ruma, Surojit,Susanta) club it together = [2040x4x60%}+35]=4931/4=US $ 1232.75 pp you pay now. 

2nd Instalment by 1-3 October, for those who are paying 30% now.

Credit card links :                           

Please send the payee's full name and email address 

Reverse Migration is possible : 

Few Swahili words

Karibu Tanzania! This means welcome to Tanzania and is probably one of the very first Swahili phrases you will hear upon arrival in Tanzania.

But how do you reply? Habari – Hello

Asante – Thank You

Asante Sana - Thank you (very much)

Sawa – ok

Sawa Sawa ok ok …this will be very useful term during safari. When u are done with the photo, tell the driver sawa sawa. Then he will start the car for next destination.

Lala salama – Good night. They are very courteous. So try to tell them Lala Salama

Gari is car !

Let’s go !               Twende!

Lion                      Simba

Wart Hog             Pumba


Wanted to make something clear at the start

Although it's nice to do all activities together, pl\ease feel comfortable in the knowledge that no one is forced to do everything that's suggested. 


# Eg, while some of us may be very keen on Olduvai gorge, some may not be. It's perfectly fine to not join the activity. Just that you will have to wait a while in the car. I'm trying to find out if there's a cafe nearby. 

 There is a beautiful one next to the museum, but that is accessible only after paying the entry fees. 

# Similarly for canopy walk in Manyara Nat'l Park. Whoever wants to join, can do so. In Zanzibar. it's easy because it's a small town and so we can see whatever we want. Our hotel will be close by. 




Chronological order