PHOTO PUBLICATION – V
India in the World Economy
Cambridge University Press
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.
Recently the West Bengal Government is taken of the initiative of turning Kulpi into a port, but the history of Kulpi and the Hooghly River trade dates back several centuries. Abandoned light houses and forgotten graves reminds one of the glourious days of the Hooghly river trade.
Kulpi is located about 10 km south of the popular tourist spot of Diamond Harbour. Diamond Harbour is well connected from Calcutta (Kolkata) by rail & road. Kulpi can also be reached directly by bus heading for Namkhana or Kakdip.
Get down at Shyam Bose Chlak at Kulpi, cross the road and take a brick paved road heading towards the river Hooghly. The road meanders through agricultural fields and village huts towards the river Hooghly. Locally called the Milatary Road, probably named, because it lead to a small fort by the river. The Fort has long been swallowed by the river Hooghly but the name “Milatery Road” has some how survived the test of time.
Soon two tower like structures appear in the horizon. There elegant structure and shape distinguishes them from the numerous brick kiln chimneys that dot the Hooghly River bank.
One on the right of the road (pic right) dates back to the days of East India Company. Towering to a height of 25 feet it is probably less than half its original height. Measuring 10 feet in circumference, it probably acted as a lighthouse guiding ships along the Hooghly.
A little away on the left hand side of the road lies another tower like structure. Probably built just before independence this structure does not have much historical value. Much slender than its older counterpart but measuring lesser in circumference, the tower still contains few metal hooks on its outside, probably used for climbing to the top.
Head south along the Hooghly but sadly the river is out of view as the bank is lined with brick kilns. Cross a narrow canal, with several anchored boats. leading to the Hooghly. Just after the canal the path leads to the village of Durganagar, housing a strange baro – chal (12 sloped roofs) structure. Baro – chala is an extremely rare form of Bengal temple structure, where the standard aat – chala (4 sloped roofs) is toped with anothe smaller char – chal (4 sloped roofs) structure.
Strangely this structure is not a Hindu temple but a grave of a converted Christian lady. Sagar Chattapodhay in his book “Dakhin 24 Pargan r Purakirti” describes it as the “Manna Bibi r Gore,” the grave of Manna Bibi, a grave of local lady who married a Portuguese sailor or soldier.
The structure have no European or Portuguese influence. Although historical records suggest the finding of a terracotta idol (7 inches in length) of a Portuguese soldier from near the structure. Sadly the idol have long been missing. Trees have almost covered the entire upper part of the structure making it difficult to understand the unique details.
Locals are totally unaware of the historical significance of the structure, and believe it to be an abandoned Hindu temple, which later on functioned as a lighthouse for the ships on Hooghly. Although there are historical evidences of the structure serving as a lighthouse but there are no evidences of being a Hindu Temple. A little bit of interaction with the locals will lead to strange stories of hidden treasures buried deep inside the structure!!!!!
Sadly the strange temple like structure housing the remains of an unknown lady, lies in utter neglect. The roots of the trees have made their entry deep in the structure brining it on the verge of collapse, its a miracle that the structure still stands.
- Dakshin Chabis Pargana Jelar Purakirti by Sagar Chattopadhyay
From Prof. Tirthankar Roy,
Economic History Dept.
THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS
AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (LSE)
Six of my photos were selected for publication by Prof. Tirthankar Roy of the Economic History Dept. of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for his book titled “India in the World Economy” published by the Cambridge University Press.
Below is a testimonial from Prof. Roy
Here is the list of the selected six photos:
- Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)
- Panel of European soldiers from Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)
- Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawata
- Panel of Ship from Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawata
- Nanking Restaurant & Tong On Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)
- Abandoned Light House, Kulpi
PHOTOS OF AATPUR (ANTPUR)
Built in 1786 Krishnaram Mitra, the Dewan of Maharaja of Burdwan, constructed the huge Radhagobinda Temple. The towering aat – chala temple has a triple arched entrance and the entire front face is covered with the finest terracotta. The temple was constructed during an important transition period of Bengal history. This period marked the end of Muslim rule and the beginning of European era. The terracotta panels reflect this transition. Apart from traditional panels showing images of Gods & Goddesses, scenes from Ramayana & Krishnalila it also houses a vast number of panels showing European lifestyles. European soldiers with bayonet mounted guns and hunting scenes with dogs are abundant on the walls of the temple.
PHOTOS OF DARHAWTA
The Rajrajeshwar Temple of Darhawta was constructed in 1728 by Apurbamohan Singaroy. The base of the aat – chala (eight sloped roof) temple measures 24 feet by 21 feet and has a triple arched entrance. The entire front surface have intricate terracotta, but sadly most of these panels have been heavily damaged. The base panels consists of images of boats and ships.
PHOTO OF ABANDONED LIGHT – HOUSE, KULPI
The abandoned light house at Kalitala village is approached from the Sam Bose bus stop in Kulpi (near Diamond Harbour) by the Military road. The unpaved road, of about 3 km, is called locally as the Military Road but their are no concrete historical evidences of the origin of the name. Today the abandoned light house is reduced to half its original height and is located at the edge of the agricultural field. The light house is located quiet a distance from the Hooghly River and is separated from the river by a series of brick kiln.
With a circumference of about 10 feet the light house today towers to a height of about 25 feet and is built with bricks measuring 10.2 X 4.7 X 2.3 cubic inch. The structure lies in utter neglect and is totally overgrown with vegetation. The roots of the vegetation have embedded them deep in the structure and resulted in deep cracks stretching the entire length of the structure, it is a mystery that the structure still stands.
PHOTO OF NANKING RESTAURANT
At the Chattawalla Guli of of Tiretta Bazar of Central Calcutta (Kolkata) lies a elegant two storied building. The ground floor once housed the Nanking Restaurant. Opened in 1924 the Nanking Restaurant is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Calcutta (Kolkata) and also in India. The first floor housed the Tong On Chinese Temple.
A property dispute in 1980s closed both the restaurant and the temple and they remain closed to this day, denying the Calcuttans of their authentic Chinese food. The Tong On Church operates from a nearby house in Bow Street in Bou Bazar.
- Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya
- Next weekend you can be at … Antpur by Somen Sengupta, The Telegraph
- Links from my website Aatpur Travelogue
- Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya
- Dakshin 24 Pargana Jelar Purakirti by Sagar Chattopadhyay
- Jaywalkers Guide Calcutta by Soumitra Das
- Links from my website Chinese Temple of Old China Town, Calcutta (Kolkata)