West Bengal

When kolkata transforms into art gallery

Durga Puja, the ceremonial worship of the mother goddess, is one of the most important festivals, is celebrated every year in the month of October with much gaiety and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal, where the ten-armed goddess riding the lion and killing the Buffalo-Demon (Mahishasura) is worshiped with great passion and devotion.

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The traditional icon of the goddess worshiped during the Durga Puja is in line with the iconography delineated in the scriptures. In Durga, the Gods bestowed their powers to co-create a beautiful goddess with ten arms, each carrying their most lethal weapon. The tableau of Durga also features her four children – Kartikeya, Ganesha, Saraswati and Lakshmi.

The huge temporary canopies – held by a framework of bamboo poles and draped with colorful fabric – that house the icons are called ‘pandals’. Modern pandals in Kolkata are innovative, artistic and decorative at the same time, offering a visual spectacle for the numerous visitors who go ‘pandal-hopping’ during the four days of Durga Puja.

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Experience the Sundarbans

A tour of the Sundarbans is equal parts peaceful and adventurous.  On the one hand, you are far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city; the only traffic fishing boats on the rivers and the incessant horn honking is replaced by bird calls.  On the other, you’re visiting a jungle, complete with predatory wildlife including the famed Royal Bengal Tiger.

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Even if you don’t spot any tell-tale stripes, there is still plenty of wildlife to make traveling the Sundarban Forest interesting.  The birds alone are worth the journey.  Hundreds of species of birds call the Sundarbans home, to hear all their unique voices is something you won’t soon forget.  There are 8 species of Kingfishers alone, not to mention Parakeets, Herons, Pelicans, and Storks. If you are even remotely interested in Bird Watching, a trip to the Sundarban Forest is a must.

If you’re hoping to see animals of the four-legged variety, you will not be disappointed. Chital deer are frequently spotted dashing gracefully among the trees while crocodiles roam the banks and small monkeys climb through the leafy branches above.

Some of the most impressive wildlife aren’t in the sky or the grass, they’re in the freshwater streams and rivers that wind through the forest.  Keep your eye trained on the water and you might catch sight of a Fresh Water Dolphin.  These dolphins are smaller than their salt water cousins, but no less acrobatic or impressive.  They are however one of the most endangered species of the Sundarban Forest and in the world.  In late 2011 the government of Bangladesh declared three separate areas of the Sundarban Forest as dolphin sanctuaries in an effort to protect the elegant river animals and hopefully encourage the species growth.

One of the most interesting animals to spot on a tour of the Sundarban Forest is the Mud-skipper.  Aptly named, this fish is just as active on land, or in the mud, as it is in water. In fact, it’s completely amphibious. These adaptive fish use their fins to move on land, in a skipping motion.  They are also quite strong, able to flip their bodies up to two feet in the air. Truly a marvel to observe.

A track of Bengal Tiger. Sundarbans mangrove is the largest mangrove in the world covering both India and Bangladesh. This is the only mangrove tiger land in the world.

For the adventurous, the Sundarbans offer unparalleled hiking and trekking opportunities.  Whichever style of travel you prefer be sure to consider not only safety, but the environmental impact of your visit.  In either instance, you should travel with an expert guide to the Sundarbans in order to get the most out of your experience, and as with any natural treasure, endeavor to leave the area as you have found it.Whether you hope to spot a wild animal, experience an ecological marvel, have a grand adventure, or even just relax while taking in the beautiful flora and fauna, a visit to the Sundarban Forest in Bangladesh is a true experience.

Made it to kolkata,craziest city on earth

I have never seen a city like Kolkata. It is the wildest, most crazy place I have ever been. Engulfed by poverty it is still vibrant and full of life. After the flight from Hyderabad I landed in Kolkata. I was staying with an extremely nice Indian couple that live in the heart of Kolkata.

On Day 1 I explored all the local roads,malls,food courts near by,where i am staying.With the help of my Smart Android I can travel/explore any place.

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Kolkata is like a piece of shit on the face of this earth”, wrote the famous writer Günter Grass.

Like there is some who would agree with this bad notion, there are many many more who loves the city of joy and would disapprove of one such statement. A person who is not associated with or is ignorant of the Indian culture and tradition will probably generate one such idea and never understand the true spirit of the city. It could also be our shortfall that we had been unable to show many like Grass the brighter side of things that are here.

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I have heard many of my friends calling Kolkata to be chaotic, cluttered and dirty. True, some parts of Kolkata is dirty, is chaotic. Yet Kolkata is the City of Joy. Kolkata is the city of tradition and culture. Kolkata is the city of football and cricket. Kolkata is the city of Tagore, Netaji, Mother Teresa. Kolkata is the city of lavish shopping malls. Kolkata is the city of booming IT industry. It’s the city we all love.

On day 2nd and 3rd day

I and Mytri planned to explore Kumartuli, one of the cultural precincts of Kolkata. It was a Saturday morning that we headed towards Kumartuli. From Shobhabazar- we took a car to Kumartuli, where clay sculptors were busy in making idols. Bright sunshine on my shoulders and the deep blue sky above were telling that autumn  is on the threshold and with only one month left for the Pujas idol making would be in full swing.

It was my long cherished desire to visit Kumartuli, the alley of the potters, where gods and goddesses are born (read created) in the skilled hands of mud sculptors who are in the profession of clay idol making for several generations

Well, coming back to where we started our journey. As we moved on down the lanes the brick walls and structures were like closing in on us. I have never seen such narrow lanes and by-lanes in my life. Much to my astonishment, artisans live in there, with their families and have set up their studios for pottery and idol making! Well… studio, not in its literal sense.

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On 3rd day I  had to take a hand-pulled rickshaw. As soon as I boarded the rickshaw childhood memories thronged my mind. Such rickshaws were aplenty on the roads of Hyderabad those days.  We used to ride rickshaws often, especially in the evenings while returning home after a shopping or a visit to some relative’s place. The rickshaw puller is almost running pulling the rickshaw, and the sound of the bells hanging in his hand … ting ling ting ling (this bell worked like horns) and a small lantern hanging at the back of the rickshaw, just like the rear light of a car – the images are still so vivid in my mind!

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I sat stiff and terrified, thinking all the time, what if the rickshaw puller loosens his grip and we’ll land up up-side down (LOL!). Finally, I reached my destination and I was relieved to get down from the rickshaw.

Trams are rare to see on the roads of Kolkata.The thought that Kolkata will be losing its heritage one day pains a lot. The metro has transformed a lot with a number of lavish shopping plazas, bustling multiplexes, flyovers and BMW, Skoda and Chevrolet plying the city roads.

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Slowly the tram reached the terminal at Bagbazar. From there we caught the bus to Kalikapur. As the bus was passing through Shyambazar crossing I caught a glimpse of the statue of ‘Netaji’,

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basking in the sun, amidst a number of enormous hoardings and signboards trying to cover up the skyline, the bamboo structures for pandals on the roadside, posters of political rallies and the same zeal and enthusiasm for the Pujas reminded me, ‘Kolkata ache Kolkatatei” (The spirit of Kolkata still remains the same)!

Mother Teresa:

Truly memorable and moving; be sure to go up the stairs to see the room where she slept and lived and ran this tremendous Sisters of Charity worldwide. The Orphanage which is also worth a visit is nearby!! Do not miss seeing both!! Try to visit in the morning or late afternoon when the children are not sleeping.

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Howrah Bridge:

Never imagined that something as big as that bridge is hanging on its own. The British were famous for their civil engineering and they proved this by constructing such a long Howrah bridge. The bridge is never short of traffic, very busy indeed.Walk across this bridge and you will feel the awesome magnificence of the bridge. Be careful of the crowd though.

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Victoria Memorial :

Majestic entrance to a beautiful monument in the heart of city of joy Kolkata  nice greenery on both sides once entered, beautiful stone walkway, mesmerism you. Once you enter the main hall you are thrilled with the construction of the hall, marble edifice and the whole hall gives you a picture of dominance of British in India. There are plenty of collection time taking to browse around but worth watching. There are very detailed eye catching glimpses display of history of Calcutta (Kolkata) which gives an idea of British period’s Kolkata  Overall it is worth watching and one should always visit this place once if they visiting Kolkata.

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 Kumartuli:

What is amazing is that they have still have kept a lot of old traditions alive. The idol makers still use water from Hoogly to mix the clay and make the models. It is not the easiest things to do since the have to hire water carriers, but most of the artists still folow this tradition.Kumartuli streets are narrow and there are lanes and bylanes and that is what lends Kumartuli a character.It not not a typical studio where potters do their clay modeling, these streets are as old as Kolkata and is a historic place. I am posting a few photos of goddess Saraswathi, there was also a very interesting and beautiful old building, no one lives theres, must have been grand at some point. I walked through two three lanes and then headed straight for Hoogly. It was a nice and peaceful evening.

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Birla Temple:

This white marble temple, resembling the famous Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar, is a marvel of architecture and adobe of peace. The main temple houses statues of Radha-Krishna. The left side of temple houses goddess Durga and the right side of the temple houses Shiva. There is no nuisance that could disturb the devotees and the place is well maintained and clean.

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Netaji Bhavan:

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, known popularly as Netaji (meaning leader in Hindi), was one of the most prominent reformists in the Indian Independence Movement. The building that is known as Netaji Bhavan today was once the residence of the reformist. Managed by the Netaji Research Bureau, the old bungalow-style structure houses a museum and the bureau’s archives and library. The museum is divided into various rooms, each detailing certain phases in the leader’s life. The top-most floor has photographs and documents from the life and works of Subhash Chandra Bose, arranged in chronological order. The library and archives include comprehensive collections detailing the Indian Independence Movement. Netaji Bhavan also has an auditorium called the Sarat Bose Hall which is used for events like lectures and seminars. Located on Elgin Road, opposite, Forum Mall this is the place to visit if you’re interested in learning about India’s Freedom Struggle.

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Few of my clicks

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For more clicks you can find in my Kolkata album in Photography menu