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The Bengali tour institution changes to cater to a new market, but retains its core of personalised care and food.

The irate wife threatening to go off with a lota kombol on a Kundu Special trip is an old Bengali staple. Kundu Special, the original Bengali conducted tour organiser, holds kobmol special place in the Bangali heart. There has never been a bigger hope for the single Bengali woman. The Kundu magic still works.

If a tourist needed Horlicks and chicken stew because he was feeling under the weather, Kundu would serve just that and only for him, insists Soumitra Kundu, from the family that runs the business. It has been working since when Sripati Kundu reserved a full train and undertook a day all-India tour.

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While Sripati had several other businesses, a true Bengali, he was passionate about travel, and in home comfort. That led him to a new thriving business. From reserving a full train in the 30s, Kundus took to reserving bogies in the 60s.


The mornings would start with hot ghee-soaked luchi s and dhonkar dalna along with a steaming cup of tea. That would lead to khichudi and begun bhaja in the afternoon. The khichudi may have given way to fried rice in the 80s and to chowmien and biryani in the 21st Century, and the stationed bogey to hotel rooms, but even in the days of Cox and Kings and fancy packages and low-cost airfares, Kundu Special holds its own as a traditional Bengali bastion.

At Kundu, each tourist group is still accompanied by two tour experts, two cooks and four service boys, all of who are Bangali and 99 per cent of the tourists remain Bengali, too. Their social profile remains unchanged too: Many clients have been touring with them over generations.


There are also the rich who often fly and put up at star restaurants but join the group for sightseeing. Over the years, their itinerary has changed a bit. So my father first broke the kombok into north India, south India, west India and so on.

Then there were day trips.

Lota Kombol | Open Library

But now who has the time for a three-week vacation? So while one goes to Himachal to do Spiti Valley in the summer, he or she could come back next year to do the Lahaul area later. Kundus have also added Komgol Sikkim and revived Andaman tours in the last two years. But what is heartbreaking is that Kundus no longer do Puri or Darjeeling! There are so many hotels and restaurants there that serve Bengalis that we really need not be there.


Lota Kombol 1

Kundus had people queuing up on the eve of the first day of Puja bookings in And still Bengali single women threaten to run off with Kundu Special, though they have more options now. Modi renames Ross, Havelock and Neil islands in the Andamans.

Yuvi auctioned for Rs 1 crore, but his work is priceless. An ism is coming to an end. What would be on the mind of India’s newest voter waiting to press the EVM button in A toy train on its way to Darjeeling. Kkombol Special stopped conducting tours to the hill station due to several services there catering to Bengalis.

PTI The Bengali tour institution changes to cater to a new market, but retains its core of personalised care and food The irate wife threatening to go off with kombll lota kombol on a Kundu Special trip is an old Bengali staple. In death too, no fanfare India.

Self-belief mistaken as arrogance West Bengal. He had the courage to question jombol West Bengal.