Cold Excursion – Part 8

13 Jan

So we finally got into the heart of Agra and started roaming around the Taj Mahal’s vicinity to find accommodation for the night. I noticed a board in Bengali which read ‘Ek matra Bangaali restaurant’. We all felt nostalgic looking at the pictures of Bong delicacies that adorned the hoarding. We decided to have our dinner there. The name of the place was funny though – ‘Eating Meeting’. When we got down, an aged person (Uncle) spoke to us in Bengali and asked where we were staying. When we told him that we are yet to find an accommodation, he offered to take us to a lodge where he can bargain a deal for us. Abbas and Bhaiyya went out with him and we ordered some food. We were fultoo excited to hog on some home food. (At times like these, I actually doubt my Konkani origins when Bong cuisine can pump the adrenaline in my system to a high) We ordered plain rice, dal, Alu Bhaja. I asked the waiter, how many pieces would be served in a plate of Begun Bhaja (Brinjal Fry) to which he answered 12. I insisted on ordering it. When food was served, we laughed too hard looking at the food on the table. Alu Bhaja was a meager number of French fries and Begun Bhaja had precisely 12 pieces but they were too thin that a fine mandolin could be put to shame compared to the skills of the person who cut those pieces.

Abbas and Bhaiyya came back by that time. They had found 2 double bed rooms in some Hotel Sagar. They looked at the food we were nibbling and said – “Are you ladies crazy? Why are you eating vegetarian food here too?” As expected they ordered Fish Fry and Fish curries. We didn’t like the food at all there. Although it was not that bad, our high expectations had turned the experience sour.

When we reached Hotel Sagar, we didn’t like the rooms AT ALL. But the men weren’t left with much option anyway. All we had to do was to spend 6-8 hours there. In the morning, we couldn’t wait to get out of that place. Later on, we got to know that the Bengali Uncle had actually hyped the actual price of the rooms and made it all appear as if it was an act of kindness. Well, only food could make us feel better. LOL. We hit a restaurant opposite our hotel. It was ‘Munna Lal Mithai Wale’. The sight of hot hot puris, kachoris and jalebis being fried right in front of our eyes and their TRP booster slogan – “Everything made of desi ghee” attracted us like a magnet. We had yummilicious breakfast of Puri, Halwa, Lauki ki Sabzi, Raita, Kachori and Gulab Jamuns. Everything smelled of Pure Ghee undeniably. From there we started off to see Taj Mahal.

We had to park Tulu far away. While we were cribbing about the long walk, an autowala(AW) come into view. He offered to drop us at the Main Entrance Gate for 50 bucks. Surprisingly, the entire family squeezed into the auto. It was a 5 min ride. There was a small market where we got dropped. The AW warned us not to buy anything from there as they were going to cheat us. He said he could take us to the famous ‘Meena Bazaar’ when we returned. We bought his idea with gratitude and noted down his number. I had seen Taj Mahal as a child but this time it appeared yellow to my bare eyes. Although in the pics, it appears to be white, what we witnessed in person was yellow tinted.

 We spent a lot of time there clicking pics and we visited Mumtaz’s mausoleum. Apparently, as heard from a guide, the original coffin is placed somewhere underground and the one displayed was fake. But we were not sure about the authenticity of the statement. We were tired by the time we left and had almost decided not to enter the Agra Fort. Meena Bazaar was echoing in my head and I couldn’t wait to go there. On the way back, I was tempted to enter the market that the AW had forbidden us from. On top glance, the goods there were appealing and prices were dirt cheap too. But the enticement of getting them at further cheaper rates at Meena Bazaar took over and we hopped into the same auto yet again.

The guy stopped us at a Handicrafts Emporium and claimed it to be Meena Bazaar. I could’ve banged his head then. Were we so naïve that people cheated us so easily? Abbas and Bhaiyya bought some Agra famous Petha from an adjacent sweat meet shop and that was it. No shopping done in Agra. Grrrr….

We took a round of Agra Fort and saw it’s exteriors. We were in no mood to enter it as a lot of walking needed to be done. We set off to get back home. We saw a huge Jain Temple on the way. Tulu stopped next only at a highway Dhaba for lunch. We had some tongue tingling fare there. Paneer Butter Masala. Dum Aloo, Gobi Masala, Kulcha and Butter Naan. Both Mantam did potty there in between the meals. Abbas got up first for Tammu and by the time he came back I had to go with Mannu. We ended it with hot Ginger Tea made on special request. Bhabi drove Tulu from there for a long time.

When we finally reached Gurgaon, we stopped by a humongous fish market in Sikandarpur area. We picked up crabs on special request by Ummi, Seer fish and some Katla. We reached home at around 9 PM. Bhaiyya mopped the house while Abbas freshened kids up. Bhabi and I took charge of the kitchen. We made Rice, Dal, Alu Bharta and Fish Fry. Ah! With satisfied tummies, we retired for the day!

Travel tales completed at this point. But I will have one more post to cover rest of our stay there. Will post it on Monday! Leaving you all with numerous pics…

Daddy with his darling daughters

I was the photographer!

Ma with the 3 musketeers

Our evergreen Ma 😀

The Taj Mahal

From left - Mannu, Mimmi, Me, Bhabi and Bhaiyya.

Walking towards Taj Mahal


Mantam with their Chotdi

That's Me

The exteriors - closer look

Me with kids

Backdrop is the Yamuna river

The marbled floor felt so good to walk upon with bare feet.

Ummi was tying her shoe laces.

That was the pose Mantam gave when they became camera conscious

4 sisters

Ummi - at the Dhaba

Mimmi and Bhabi

At the Dhaba. Bhabi now tying Ummi's shoe laces 😀

Do bahu-raaniyan!


Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


32 responses to “Cold Excursion – Part 8

  1. R's Mom

    January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Wah! the food is drool worthy…the Bengali uncle (Gah to him!)

    I loved the photos….arey thats what I am wondering which old movie heroine you look like…I am just not able to place it 😦

    Loved the narration and hats off to the Mantam family…I would have never done this…

    PS – Dont trust Rickwalas anywhere is it 😦


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      And a big Gah to all those rickwalas who mislead innocent people.

      Socho socho 🙄

      Yes, never trust them especially in tourist spots!


  2. shaktii

    January 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Awesome snaps!! you look so tall… maybe u r originally tall he he
    iam mistaken… your twins are so lovely.. i long to see the taj mahal once in lifetime but its still a dream…
    Recently we had a penang trip.. also had similiar experience with our hotel stay.. the place the agent booked was horrible..whatever they say is not true until we see ourselves.. we had to change our booking during midnight to a nice place in our own cost that too.. i think all over the world its the same 🙂


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Mmm…Well I’m 5’7″ in height 😀

      Hope your dream comes true ASAP.

      That’s really sad that you had change your booking midnight. In Rajasthan, we booked RTDC hotels. They were all good, moderately priced and we did advance booking online without any hassles.


  3. Sugar and Spice

    January 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Now Seema girl – You write about yummy yummy stuff just before lunch DAILY!!! 😦 😦

    Loved the pics!! 🙂 🙂 Through out the entire series, it was as if I was travelling with you guys!! Enjoy your weekend okay!!


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Hey, I’m posting about yummy food BEFORE lunch in the interest of my readers. Imagine reading this post lunch. That would be worse no?

      Awww, really? I can’t believe I narrated that well 😳

      Thanks SnS. You have a great weekend too. (When are you baking, by the way? :roll:)


      • Sugar and Spice

        January 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        I didn’t bake this weekend cos it was Pongal and no eggs allowed on festival days! So not that reason!
        The CH managed to buy everything needed for the cake and yet I was so tired of being in the kitchen over the week end, making kootu, sambhar, rasam, curry, pachadi, vadai, payasam, pongal(s), chutneys, appalams, maggi and all that! That I postponed the baking to the next weekend. Pukka next weekend, okay!! 🙂 🙂


        • Seema

          January 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

          OMG, With all that you cooked, you might as well postpone by a few more weekends *wiping sweat off my forehead just by reading all that you cooked*


  4. Sumana

    January 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    All the snaps and the writer look great. So do the kiddos. Loved the travelogue.


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Hey, Thanks Sumana. Glad you like it 😀


  5. RS

    January 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    breakfast of Puri, Halwa, Lauki ki Sabzi, Raita, Kachori and Gulab Jamun – Haayi haay! I am back from lunch and Im still drooling at this list!

    TAj Mahal – We went there for our first anniversary 🙂 and i found the place outside the Taj so dirty that it kind of spoilt the complete look. Why did you miss Fatehpur sikhri? Hardly another hour’s drive na…

    Loved the Daddy with the girls picture 🙂 And despite all the food you have mentioned – you seem to have lost weight – have you? Looking Good!


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      The food was plain delicious as everything was made of pure Ghee re. I had never had Puris fried in Ghee in my life ever.

      For your anniversary, it it? Wow!

      There are several gates to enter Taj Mahal. We took the South Side gate. I didn’t find it quite dirty. Yeah, initially we had Fatehpur Sikri on our cards but later everyone craved to get back home at the earliest. With everybody’s enthu drained out, we skipped it.

      No such luck. Actually I have wickedly carefully handpicked pictures to post here where all the unwanted bulges are concealed. 👿 Otherwise, there are pics of mine with all 4 kids where I stand like an example of ‘Results of bad family planning’ with 4 at tow and one in the tummy’

      Well, after coming back, I seem to have lost a few grams 😆


  6. Tharani

    January 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Ha awesome trip that was. Tell me about Agra and how brilliant the people plan to cheat us. We experienced the same. And you look very pretty so are the kids. Hugs to them


    • Seema

      January 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Did you cover Agra during the honeymoon? Why are you not blogging frequently these days? Busy eh?

      Thank you dear 😀


      • Tharani

        January 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Yes yes we did… I just fell in love with Taj mahal what if it turn yellow and all.
        Not busy and all seema, I don’t have access to WP at office.. I am just dying to get back to blogging soon,.


        • Seema

          January 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

          Cool 😀

          Ohhh, that’s sad. Find some way out to break the firewall girl 😀


  7. Bikram

    January 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    What no picture of you and abbas on the famous bench.. now thats not good or have you taken it and not put it here ..

    all that food yummy reminds me as i told of my trip with family, i landed in delhi and parents came to pick and from there we went straight to agra.. so i had not got used to india water yet and I had a bad time my fault too I had eaten like a PIG 🙂

    It is beautiful Taj Mahal..

    But how can the travelogue finish.. WAPIS ka trip batay nahin agra to home 🙂 he he he

    beautiful pictures .. all of them


    • Seema

      January 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

      No, we didn’t click any pic on the famous bench. It was darn crowded 😦

      Hehe 😀

      Agra to Gurgaon home to bataa diya. Baki ka trip, I’ll cover in one post, coming up soon.

      Thanks Bikram 😀


  8. Laila

    January 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I totally enjoyed your narration of the trip. Good fun you had with the entire family…
    And, very nice pictures too 🙂


    • Seema

      January 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Thank you Laila. Glad you enjoyed my narration 😀


  9. anisnest

    January 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

    wow yummy yummy food.. am reading this right after my lunch 😦
    pics are cool.. Ummi looks just like bhabhi’s copy.. correct?
    the pic in which Ummi is tying her shoe lace and you are standing near by.. you pretend like as if she is taking blessing from you 🙂


    • Seema

      January 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Will add disclaimer next time I’m posting about food, okay?

      Mimmi is actually Bhabi’s copy 😀

      Yes yes 😀


  10. summerscript

    January 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Awesome travel series Seeme!! And you look so cute in the pics .Including you I see 5 kids 😀
    Awesome pics 🙂
    Mantam are looking great!! Look at their poses!!he he he


    • Seema

      January 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Oh really? *blushing and batting eye lids*



  11. garima

    January 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Wow beautiful pics…the pics said it all.Glad you had a great time.
    and i have heard a lot about alloo bhaja and baigan bhaja…what is bhaja?


  12. garima

    January 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    thanks for those links,,the dishes really looked yum 🙂


    • Seema

      January 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      You’re most welcome 😀


  13. Sugar and Spice

    January 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Oye.. Where is the last part of the series?? Waiting.. waiting..!


    • Seema

      January 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Posted it just now. Am I glad that you were actually waiting or what *does a happy jig*


  14. NBose

    January 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    God…u found ‘ek matra bengali restaurant in Agra…!!!!

    And I stay in gurgaon …so u bought fish from fish market near Bristol…thatz a great market for non-veg…


    • Seema

      January 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Hehe, yes we did. But the food served was anything but Bengali 🙄

      You stay in Gurgaon?? I dunno about Bristol but Bhaiyya Bhabi call it Sikandarpur Maccher Bazaar. Is it the same one?



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