Calcutta Bungalow – Heritage Bed & Breakfast, an initiative of Calcutta Walks

May 10, 2018 2 comments

Calcutta Bungalow – Heritage Bed & Breakfast

An initiative of Calcutta Walks

It was probably in 2007 I met Iftekhar Ahsan (Ifte) for the first time. He had just launched Calcutta Walks, a walking tour company aimed at exploring the city. Calcutta was not new to walking tours and I was personally introduced to the concept of walking tour almost a decade before the meet.

Calcutta Bungalow 1

Welcome to Calcutta Bungalow, Heritage Bed & Breakfast (the logo has been superimposed by photo editing software)

It was in 1999 when renowned conservation architects Debasis Nayak and Akhil Ranjan Sarkar first introduced me to the world of walking tours. At that time I was doing my Masters of Business Management (MBM) from Calcutta University and thoroughly enjoyed the early morning training session through the lanes and by-lanes of Sovabazar area of north Calcutta.

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Purana Qila, The 6th City of Delhi

Purana Qila

The 6th City of Delhi

Delhi has remained the pivot of north India over a thousand years. The stretch of land bounded by the Aravalli Hills and the Yamuna River enjoyed a strategic advantage linking the north – western mountains to the to the fertile flood plains of the Ganges.

Purana Qila Sher Mandal 2

Sher Mandal (Left) Dominates the Purana Qila complex, Delhi

The earliest literary references identify the city with the mythical Indraprastha, the grand capital of the Pandavas, the heroes of the ancient epic Mahabharata. Interestingly in 1911 when the Purana Qila (literally meaning the Old Fort) was being cleared of squatters, officials stumbled upon a village called Indrapat within the fort complex, was it the legendary capital of the Pandavas?

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Deuli, Harup and Suisa, Crumbling Temples, Scattered Statues and Single Room Museum, Purulia District

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Deuli, Harup and Suisa

Crumbling Temples, Scattered Statues and Museum, Purulia District

Historical records suggest that during the 10th – 13th century a flourishing Jain settlement flourished in the western part of West Bengal covering the present districts of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram. During this period they have built numerous brick and stone temples, following the Oriya Duel style architecture.

Panoramic view of the three Jain Temples of Deuli, Purulia District

Panoramic view of the three Jain Temples of Deuli, Purulia District

Purulia had the largest concentration of these Jain Temples although many of them have crumbled to dust but a hand full have survived the test of time and still towers above the rural landscape of Purulia district. These towering temples, built of both brick and stone, can still be seen in the villages of Para, Pakbira, Deulghata, Deuli and Banda.

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Banda Deul, Most Preserved Stone Temple of Purulia District

April 19, 2018 1 comment

Banda Deul

Most Preserved Stone Temple of Purulia District

Historical records suggest that during the 10th – 13th century a flourishing Jain settlement flourished in the western part of West Bengal covering the present districts of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram. During this period they have built numerous brick and stone temples, following the Oriya Duel style architecture.

Banda Deul, Purulia District, West Bengal

Banda Deul, Purulia District, West Bengal

Purulia had the largest concentration of these Jain Temples although many of them have crumbled to dust but a hand full have survived the test of time and still towers above the rural landscape of Purulia district. These towering temples, built of both brick and stone, can still be seen in the villages of Para, Pakbira, Deulghata, Deuli and Banda.

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Cycle Polo, Poor Man’s version of the Royal Game

April 11, 2018 Leave a comment

Cycle Polo

Poor Man’s version of the Royal Game

Polo reminds one of galloping horses and the sound of the wooden mallet hitting the bamboo ball. Polo, often termed as the “Sport of the Kings,” is played on horse back on a large rectangular field.

Chasing the ball, Cycle Polo, CC&FC, Kolkata

Chasing the ball, Cycle Polo, CC&FC, Kolkata

Each team consists of four players and the object is to score goals  by driving a small hard white ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled wooden mallet. The team with the more goals wins.

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Mausoleum of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq, A Fortified Tomb, Delhi

April 4, 2018 1 comment

Mausoleum of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq

A Fortified Tomb, Delhi

Like a miniature expression of the whole, the tomb is defended on all sides by its own set of machicolated walls, built to keep the Angles of Death at bay; they represent perhaps the most elaborate set of defenses ever raised to protect a corpse.

William Dalrymple, City of Djinns

Ghiyas ud - Din Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

The massive fortified Tomb of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq lies in the shadows of the massive Tughlaqabad Fort, also a creation of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq. Like an umbilical cord, a causeway once linked the mother fort with the miniature fort like tomb of the emperor.

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Coronation Park, Delhi, Site of three Delhi Durbars

March 28, 2018 4 comments

Coronation Park, Delhi

Site of three Delhi Durbars

Delhi Durbar meaning the court of Delhi, was an Indian imperial style mass assembly organised by the British at Coronation Park, Delhi, India, to mark the succession of an Emperor ad Empress of India. Also known as the Imperial Durbar, it was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911.

The towering commemorative Obelisk of the third Delhi Durbar, Coronation Park, Delhi

The towering commemorative Obelisk of the third Delhi Durbar, Coronation Park, Delhi

First Durbar (1877): The first durbar, also known as the proclamation durbar, was held in Jan 1, 1877 to proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress of India. It was an initiative of Viceroy of India Lord Lytton (1876 – 80). The Durbar was an extravaganza of pomp and ceremony including a parade on a decorated elephant by Lord and Lady Lytton in the presence of nearly 70,000 people. The imperial gathering consisted of royalty from all the provinces of India and the most senior British dignitaries.

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