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Posts Tagged ‘Calcutta Chinese Community’

Cross Cultural Communication with Kolkata Chinese

March 19, 2014 2 comments

Cross Culture Communication between Indian

photographer Rangan Datta and Kolkata Chinese

Travel Journal by Wendy Lu, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown

During the 21-day visit in Tangra, new China Town in Kolkata, a group of students (we) from Fu Jen University TW met two Indian Photographers. Asked why they took photos of Indian Chinese sweeping the tombs in the graveyard, Choong Ye Thong Cemetery, photographers Rangan Datta and Manjit Singh Hoonjan said they were very interested in the cross-cultural activities in Kolkata. “and Indian Chinese is the case.” said Rangan Datta.

L: Wendy Lu, in front of the poster in Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan; R: Poster

L: Wendy Lu, in front of the poster in Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan; R: Poster

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Chinese Moon Cake ~ Tiretta Bazar, Old Chinatown Calcutta

September 18, 2013 4 comments

Chinese Moon Cake

Tiretta Bazar, Old Chinatown, Calcutta

Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown

Its early Sunday morning and sun is yet to come out, but the stoves are already fired up and the morning silence is broken by the sound of the knife hitting the chopping plate.

Moon Cakes being sold at Tiretta Bazar (Old Chinatown) Calcutta (Kolkata)

Moon Cakes being sold at Tiretta Bazar (Old Chinatown) Calcutta (Kolkata)

Night owls crawl out of their late night parties and call centre night shifts to rejuvenate themselves with bowls of hot fish ball soups from the road side vendors. Hungry soles huddle around makeshift stall, jostling with each other to grab the day’s first meal.

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Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, Chinese All Souls’ Day

August 14, 2013 2 comments

Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival

Chinese Equivalent of the All Souls’ Day

Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown

The gates of Hell have opened and the ghost are out to dine on the exotic feast laid out in makeshift tables in front of their horse – shoe shaped graves. Its the the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, the Chinese version of the all souls’ day.

Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, Choong Ye Thong Cemetery, Tangra (New Chinatown), Calcutta (Kolkata)

Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, Choong Ye Thong Cemetery, Tangra (New Chinatown), Calcutta (Kolkata)

According to ancient Chinese tradition the seventh month of the Chinese calender is known as the Ghost Month. The gates of Hell are said to be open through out the month. Ghosts and spirits are said to roam the earth looking out for food and entertainment.

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Toong On Church, Rebirth of a Chinese Temple

April 24, 2013 10 comments

Toong On Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Rebirth of a Chinese Temple

Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown

Changing Story ~ Nanking Restaurant and Toong On Church (Top to bottom: March 2008, 10 Feb, 2011, 13 Oct, 2012, 20 Jan, 2013)

Changing Story ~ Nanking Restaurant and Toong On Church (Top to bottom: March 2008, 10 Feb, 2011, 13 Oct, 2012, 20 Jan, 2013)

March 2008: A beautiful two storied brick red building stood in the shadows of the multi storied office of Kolkata Telephones. The entrance was not easily approachable and the door perennially locked. Above the door in beautiful Chinese calligraphy was written Toong On Church.  The building once housed the Toong On Church at the first floor and the Nanking Restaurant on the ground floor. A decade long court case have kept the building under lock and key and the Toong On caligraphy was all that remained of the buildings glorious history.

Feb 10, 2011: I was out to explore the Chinese Temples of Tiretta Bazar, with fellow photographer Amitabha Gupta. We made our way past the garbage dump to the entrance of the beautiful two storied red coloured building only to find the Chinese calligraphy being replaced by a temporary banner of Nanking Restaurant.

Oct 13, 2012: It was the Calcutta edition of the Scott Kelby Photowalk 2012. I took a detour past the garbage dump and made my way to the entrance of the Nanking Restaurant. To my utter surprise I found the Nanking Restaurant banner replaced by the Toong On Church banner. Strangely the door was open and I made my way up to the first floor, straight in front was the alter housing the strange idol of the warrior God Kwan Ti. Sadly apart from the alter the room was totally empty and lacked the ambiance and glamor of the surrounding Chinese Temples.

Jan 20, 2013: It was the Footsteps Photowalk and again I made my way to the entrance of the Nanking Resturant and Toong On Church only to find that the temporary banner of Toong On Church have been replaced by a permanent beautiful bright red Chinese calligraphy.

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PHOTO PUBLICATION – V

PHOTO PUBLICATION – V

India in the World Economy

Tirthankar Roy

Cambridge University Press

India in World Economy: Cover

India in World Economy: Cover

Six of my photos have been published in the book titled “India in the World Economy” by Prof. Tirthankar Roy, reader in the Economic History Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The book have been published by the Cambridge University Press.

My photos covered a wide range of topics from terracotta temples to close up of terracotta panels, showing ocean going ships and European soldiers. From closed down Chinese restaurant and temples in Calcutta (Kolkata) to abandoned light house at the mouth of the Hooghly. Prof. Tirthankar Roy also provided me with an elaborate testimonial.

All my six photograph published comes with an elaborate narration which was also provided be me.

Prof. Thithankar Roy also mentioned my name in the preface of the book “India in the World Economy” thanking me for the photographs he has used in his book and also mentioning about my impressive collection of photographs on historical sites of West Bengal.

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Chinese New Year ~ Calcutta

December 31, 2011 1 comment

Chinese New Year Celebrations

~ Calcutta (Kolkata) ~

Join me on a Chinese New Year Tour on 10 Feb. For details mail at rangan_datta@yahoo.com

The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to to 1780s when a trader named Tong Achew set up his sugar factory near present day Budge-Budge. The place today is known as Achipur, after Tong Achew. The Chinese soon deserted Achipur and headed for Calcutta (Kolkata), where they are presently settled in Tangra & Tiretta Bazar regions.

Red Dragon down the road

Red Dragon down the road

The Calcutta Chinese community celebrates the Chinese New Year in traditional way complete with dragon & lion dances at Tangra & Tiretta Bazar. The celebration starts several days before the new years day with stage shows set up at both Tiretta Bazar & Tangra. On the day of the Chinese New Year dragon & lion dances are held on the streets of Tiretta Bazar & Tangra.

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CHINESE TEMPLES OF TIRETTA BAZAR

November 10, 2011 19 comments

Chinese Temple of Old Chinatown

~ Tiretta Bazar, Calcutta (Kolkata) ~

The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to the late 18th century when a Chinese trader, Tong Achew settled near present day Budge Budge.

The then Governor General of India Warren Hastings offered Achew land and he set up a sugar mill complete with a sugar plantation. Achew soon brought a band of Chinese workers for his sugar project. But Achew died soon after & his mill was soon abandoned. The Chinese also deserted the place, which later came to be known as Achipur, after Achew.

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Achipur ~ Birth Place of Calcutta Chinatown

July 27, 2011 4 comments

Achipur

~ Birth Place of Calcutta Chinatown ~

In the late 18th century a Chinese tea trader by the name of Tong Achew landed on the banks of Hooghly, somewhere near present day Budge – Budge, never to return again. The then Governor General Warren Hasting granted land to Achew to set up a sugar cane plantation and sugar factory.  According to records to British East India Company “Achew was granted 650 bighas of land about 6 miles south of Budge – Budge for an annual rent of Rs 45.”

Chinese Devotees light candles, Achipur Chinese Temple

After acquiring the land Achew set up a sugar – cane plantation along with a sugar mill. He brought in a band of Chinese workers to work in his plantation and factory and thus forming the first Chinese settlement in India. But Achew died soon after and his sugar factory was abandoned. His workers left for the city of Calcutta, where their descendents still continue to live.

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