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KC Soup Bar – A True Charm Of Dehradun

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dumpling dishes
Photo by Abhishek Sanwa Limbu on Unsplash

Dehradun is more than a valley. The mountains do call mystically bringing you closer to nirvana. This city has taught me lot about trivial things in life. The college drama, long lectures, conversations in the café and frequent trips to Mussoorie, the queen of hills was a part of me for three whole years in university.

soup in maroon ceramic pot
Photo by Steve Tsang on Unsplash

The city has an old history and is favorable for the students because of well-known institutions and more than that, the perfect climate. The frequent rain showers, cool mountain breeze and a sheet of fog welcomes every morning.

University life is very harsh especially when someone is away from home, living in hostels or as paying guest. The one thing which a student craves the most is good food. As a hosteller, I used to get fed up of the food that the mess served. But fortunately this city has the best treats when you need an escape from monotony of bland portions.

Influenced by a Tibetan culture, Dehradun has umpteen number of little joints serving noodles, soup and my favorite out of the lot, momos (dumplings).

I still remember my final interview at the university for admission. A scared kid just out of school had taken a chance in mass communication. After a sufficiently good interview, the first thing I craved was food. Me and my dad, new to this city had no clue but were sure of getting the best from somewhere good. KC Soup bar was the saviour then. A small shop stood firmly at the corner of canal road diversion at Rajpur road. Under that blue cover we rested and started going through the menu lying on the table. We ordered the best seller, chicken momos and soup which complimented the cloudy & gloomy weather. The lady on the counter, Leena had the broadest smile on her face while attending us. Nothing can beat the taste of the first time I had momos here.

KC soup bar was started by Leena’s father in 1985 but the shop was officially registered in 1989. They had a very small eatery back then but were considered to be the charm of the city. As I lived in Dehradun for three years, I have seen the shop grow with students storming in for the delicacy as the sessions began.

Later on they closed the shop and reopened It with the same name at a new location. It has been 3 years now that KC soup bar has started serving people with a brand new setup in Jakhan, Rajpur road. With an open sitting, paintings and statues reflecting the Tibetan culture, the soup bar shines brightly.

Leena has a wider smile now and staff who serves quality food at very affordable prices. The best you can get here at the steamed mutton momos-savoury mutton stuffed delicately inside the thin layer of flour sheet, steamed or fried. My favourite being the cheese chicken momos which pairs perfectly with their red chill, mint and mustard sauce. Chicken soup is another delight which defines the shops name. The luscious soup with hearty pieces of chicken and egg will warm your soul in a cold winter night in this valley. The shop has a variety of dumpling choices and serves mouth-watering stirred fried noodles too.

KC Soup Bar has become a brand in recent years and taken the dumpling competition very seriously. Planning to open a chain of this restaurant, they ought to bring their famous dumpling to the streets of Meerut and Delhi too.

So if you get stuck under the heavy Dehradun showers, do try out KC Soup Bar to warm you up.

Sharing My Experience At The Butterfly Farm In Sattal

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Butterfly Farm is a museum at Jones estate (Sattal, place 5 km from bhimtal) that will make you feel close to nature. The spot fills in as one of the significant attractions of Sattal. The gallery was established by Frederic Smetacek ,” The butterfly man of India” at Jones Estate which has more than 2500 butterfly and moth examples and 1100 types of creepy crawlies that are found in this region. The rambling Jones Estate in Bhimtal, privately known as June Estate, is the attraction of the Bhimtal lake, the biggest lake in the district, other than being home to an astonishing assortment of butterflies and feathered creatures. It is additionally home to the Smetacek family, which has been living there for nearly six decades and is known for their museum of butterflies and moths.

History of Butterfly Museum

Frederick Smetacek Sr, a German of Czech source, travelled in India during the 1940s. He made an impressive fortune providing products to the Allied powers during the World War and later settled in Bhimtal, where he sought after his enthusiasm of gathering butterflies. The Smetacek family’s assortment has in excess of 10,000 species, gathered by Frederick Sr just as his kids, particularly his children Peter and Frederick Jr.Fredy, was an enthusiastic butterfly sweetheart and specialist, many mark him the ‘Butterfly man of India.’ He was likewise a significant bright character, referred to locally as much for his straight talk as his love for nature, Fredy died in February in year 2012, after a long sickness welcomed on by a medical procedure that turned out badly.

My Experience in Butterfly Farm

It was Day 3 of my excursion through Ranikhet and Nainital-a hill station close to Sattal. I had a straightforward schedule and had plans to visit Sattal as it was in route. I was expecting a spot with less gathering then Nainital however in the wake of seeing the beautiful magnificence of interconnected lakes and various types of flying creatures and butterflies in Butterfly exhibition hall. I was shocked.

I was anticipating an insignificant turnout of feathered creatures most likely because of the illicit fish lakes and infringements these days. Be that as it may, at Sattal, I was amazed after I spotted almost 10 new types of birds. It was by all methods a very fulfilling visit. I likewise observed an astounding picture not 50 but rather 100 butterflies together. It was an incredible sight. There were other people in museum which was also endearing to watch. I tried to make some intense memories to capture them using my camera in starting, but there were such a large number of butterflies doing an excessive number of things. Everyone unique in relation to the next, in plumage and appearance. I got lost in seeing them.

Another incredible sight was the museum itself. It had rich and dynamic hues which was complementing the color of butterflies in it. Overall scene was so incredible that it is impossible to express it in words, it is very uncommon to discover such scenes of many creatures in a group. In times like these I came to realize that it’s ok to take a break once in a while, to kick back and appreciate nature at its best. Such sights will be an irregularity in the future if we don’t take steps towards securing them.

Overall, Butterfly museum is a must visit for bird and butterfly lovers who wants to explore a great collection of rare species. The only disadvantage is that the place only opens in the day for a certain time.

Featured Photo of ‘Butterfly’ by Ah Wei (Lung Wei) under CC BY-SA 2.0

Buhari Hotel – One Of The Prestigious Restaurants In Chennai

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If you are in Chennai, and you are getting a conservative vibe from the place about their food culture then you are wrong. There are an equal number of amazing restaurants for both vegetarians and meat lovers in Chennai. Over the years, a variety of delightful non veg cuisines have opened up across the city. But the Buhari hotel is one which stood out to me.

Buhari hotel in Chennai is one of the prestigious restaurant which opened its gates to the public in 1951, The place started with espresso machines serving steaming cup of coffee, which was accompanied by great  music of the times, and English cutlery so foodies can experience a different dining experience.

The man behind Buhari different dining experience was Mr A.M. Buhari who created various signature dishes to make its restaurant stand apart from various other restaurants in business. He created various different blends of biryani and chicken recipes which stood out to the public in Madras. Mr. Buhari who left his village and gone to Sri Lanka when he was 10 years old. Has taken some years to settle and find his passion. Mr Buhari was always fond of food and groceries of which he started trading which later led to introduction of Buhari Hotel in Colombo which has served Buhari’s signature dish.  The mildly spiced fragrant biryani which was a trademark dish of Buhari brand in Colombo has also travelled to Madras when Mr Buhari’s Father wanted him to return to India and open a branch of Buhari in Chennai.Now the restaurant has nine branches in city and  is looking forward to set up  more in  upcoming years.

The Mount Road branch which is the oldest one in Chennai for more than five decades. It has served various generations of celebrities, actors and superstars.and introduced many other signature dishes as well..Buhari hotel is not only known for mildly spiced biryani .It has also introduced chicken 65 recipe – a deep fried chicken dish with red colouring, It is also rumored or theorized that it takes 65 days to prepare the marinade for Chicken 65, or the dish got its name from the fact that the chicken was cut into 65 pieces before being cooked and served. There was another theory stating that dish might contains 65 chilli red peppers because of which it has a red fiery color , However, the truth is that  the dish was made for Indian soldiers in 1965 from which it got its name.

Buhari hotel also offers Chinese food, paronthas, and tandoori platters if you are not a Chicken or biryani person. There are also other various service and amenities which make food Experience at Buhari Hotel More worthwhile.

Home Delivery- Buhari Hotel also deliver food to homes which makes it easy to enjoy non-veg delicacies while enjoying the comfort of your home.

Room Amenities: Buhari hotel offers air-conditioned rooms  for the people who want to rest  after a hearty meal at restaurant.

Timeline

1951- Buhari Hotel First Branch opened in 1951 at Mount Road Chennai

1956 – A.M. Buhari introduced a jukebox and a coffee machine at the Anna Salai branch which made it stand out from other restaurants in Chennai.

1965 – Buhari hotel introduced Chicken 65

1996 – Founder Mr. A.M Buhari died.

Location, Price and Hours of Operation-

  • Location – Anna Salai, Mount Road, Chennai, Near Cosmpolitan Club, Opposite Mosque & Tarapore Towers
  • Prices – 500 to 1000 INR for 2 people (Depending on the dishes ordered) Meat dishes will cost more as compare to curries and rice dishes.
  • Hours of Operation- 10:00 am – 1:30 am (May vary by Branch)

If you happen to visit Chennai, do hop in to taste some delicious food at this iconic restaurant.

Featured Photo of ‘Southern India – Food’ by Jason Chung under CC BY 2.0

The Indian Coffee House And A Mystery Tea Shop In Prayagraj

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Loosened ties, torn pockets, dirty shirt and withered coat would be the best way to describe my daily school live in Allahabad city. A student of class ninth, the age was perfect when you start tasting a bit of freedom from home. More than the hormonal change, little facial hair and sudden change of voice, what made me grow was a company of friends which taught me a lot of things to cherish.

Prayagraj, which I still love to call Allahabad as it brings me back to the lanes I’ve walked, is a city Sangam and Kumbh Mela. Apart from all the religious places, the city also holds a history of the era of freedom struggle against the mighty British Empire. With a lot of buildings inspired by the Victorian era, Allahabad smells both like, a sophisticated cup of coffee and a playful pyala of chai.

Now as I talk about coffee and tea, mixing it with my misadventures as a guy growing up have been stitched together as short stories I love telling people. Like every other kid, school times have been the best years of my little life. The chemistry lab romance, frequent punishments and school bunk. Bunking school isn’t a good idea but when I think about it now as a grown up, I think I lived a colourful life.

Bunk stories are always associated with Addas (hangout spots) and two of my favourite ones would be the Indian coffee house and a small tea and samosa shop behind Samrat Hotel. Both have contrasting differences but are situated at the same place, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Civil Lines.

Indian coffee house has stood the test of time since the British era, serving frothy filter coffee to its customers. It is one of the 400 coffee shops under this chain. Established in the 60s, the Indian coffee house in Allahabad has entertained poets like Firaq Gorakhpuria and Harivansh Rai Bachchan including many more. Politicians like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Nehru Ji have also been a part of this community. Indian Coffee house was a place which the Indians would consider going and do what Goras Sahibs (British officers) would do, enjoy the locally brewed coffee and debate on intellectual topics for the benefit of this country.

In my era though, we would sit around the tables of this historic place and discuss what we had to do in our futures and debate about current topics while sipping on our favorite cup of joe. The uniformed butlers and the quick service is an add on to this intellectual adda.

Talking about the menu, Indian coffee house is famous for its south Indian filter coffee and Butter masala dosa which simply melts in your mouth. The famous potato cutlet and cold ice-cream cold coffee is another must have.

Shifting the focus from an intellectual hangout to a more disarranged chaos of happiness would be a small little samosa shop behind the Hotel Samrat near the Indian coffee house. I still don’t remember the name of the place but one would somehow find himself there when you enter the civil lines market. A shop tucked in a corner serves delicious samosas but I would rather prefer chola samosa. Hot, mouth warming piece off delight broken into pieces with masala chola(chickpea curry) on top with tamarind and mint chutney takes ones breath away. Unlike the Indian coffee house, this place is where you would sit and chatter about your school life dramas and crushes, heartbreaks and love affairs while toking on a cigarette. Many like me did try their first Marlboro at this little place, trying to walk straight after a puff.

So I leave it up to you to decide whether go for a cup of coffee, really good dosa with mindful discussions or a Kulhad chai some samosas and the bro code. Both are worth it.

Featured Photo of ‘Chai and samosa’ by Shalu Sharma under CC BY 2.0

Mattancherry – The Most Vibrant Spot In Kochi, Kerala

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What are the first few things that come to our minds when we talk about Kerala? Along with the aromatic spices, we think of mesmerizing backwaters, beaches, picturesque beauty, houseboats ….. and may be History? Well, Kerala’s History is not something that we have been eager to explore, isn’t it? Somehow, the history around Kerala is overshadowed by its stunning innate beauty, culture, and delectable cuisine. You got to believe that along with being God’s Own Country, this -place has a history that is rich and deserves all your attention. And one of the best places to dig in is the charming little locality of Mattancherry.

Mattancherry – Kerala’s Historical Treasure

Mattancherry is located on the outskirts of Kochi. Around 9 Kilometres away from the centre, this little locality is beautiful and quiet – And yes, holds within it some of Kerala’s really rich history. Mattancherry is an extensive blend of beautiful aromatic spices, food, handicrafts, and culture. This is exactly what make it probably one of the most vivid spots in Kochi.

At the core, this place is antique, as in historic. Earlier, people from African, European, and Arabian countries used to trade for centuries. During this period, the local kings used to rule Mattancherry, later the Jews choose to stay here. These people build several forts and palaces which contribute to the antique architecture of this place. And yes, their contributions which are the remnants of the foreign civilization and the ancient locals are preserved even today in several museums, palaces, and churches.

All in all, if you love exploring the bygone, then there is plenty to relish at Mattancherry. And yes, even it you are not, these remnants from the history are always amazing and worth to explore.

Tiny Guide To What You Can See And Do Here

Here are few of the must visit places at Mattancherry, Kochi.

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Photo of ‘Veet in front of the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.’ by fraboof under CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Mattancherry Palace

The massive Mattancherry Palace was built in the 1500’s; it is said that it was built by totally keeping in mind Kerala’s conventional architecture. Wooden ceiling, pillar, and courtyards. This palace does not look anything like what normal palaces do, and this is exactly that makes it so unique. And coming to the interiors, this palace is filled with amazing artwork that comprises wooden floral murals and carvings. If you happen to visit Mattancherry, this treasure should be on the top of your bucket list.

2. Jews Street

Probably you don’t know, but Jews street is one of the oldest street markets in our country. And this reason is enough to catch your attention, isn’t it? Jews Street holds several antique stores that are stocked with ancient treasures that are totally timeless. Innumerable number of shops piled up with art works, home décor and handicrafts. Strolling through this iconic street market is an experience and something you just cannot miss out.

I feel one of the best ways of exploring the Jews street is by simply strolling down as it lets you feel the liveliness, breathe in the fragrant spices and witness the culture and tradition that is intact even today.

3. Dutch Palace Pond

The Dutch Palace Pond is located right beside the Mattancherry Palace or the Dutch Palace and a must visit. Surrounded by beautiful palm trees and birds – this pond gives you this feeling that is soothing.Blue-tailed bee eater species of birds visit this pond  in really large number and seeing them is a sight to behold.

4. Paradesi Synagogue

The Paradesi synagogue is one of the grayest synagogues not just in India, but across the world. Located right next to the palace this Mattancherry attraction is a house of timeless treasures. Paradesi Synagogue was constructed back in the 1500’s and it owes its name to its builders i.e. the Spanish and the Jews. From massive Chandeliers, to crowns and ancient scrolls that belong to the bygone era, Paradesi Synagogue stores antiques and history that will blow your mind.

5. Antique museum

This museum was started 30 years ago by a Jew who settled in the state. This museum is another treasure that holds within amazing ancient stuff that are the possession of Jews and the ancient locals. From books to ancient objects and furniture’s, there are a lot of things from the stone age too.

You need to visit this museum to see it for yourself.

Now For Your Taste Buds ….

Mattancherry is know for this famous restaurant called Kayees. This popular eatery offers delectable Mattancherry dishes and their Biriyani preparation is one of Kerala’s top biriyanis. And when you are done with the main course, you got to try out Shantilal’s which is incredibly popular for its sweets. Shantilal’s is known for their masala tea and all their sweets that are totally milk-based. And do halt at Rino’s juice shop and try out their scrumptious healthy juices.

Finally….

So, have you ever been to Mattancherry in Kerala? If not, then explore all the hidden historical beauties of this place. Also, if you have something more to share around Mattancherry, then do share it with us in the comments section below.

Featured Photo of ‘www.adamsguesthouse.webs.com’ by Adams Homestay Cochin under CC BY 2.0

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