Murshidabd from Bari Kothi, exploring history with lunch on country boat

November 13, 2019 2 comments

Murshidabd from Bari Kothi

Exploring history with lunch on country boat

Also see: FAM Tour of Bari Kothi, Azimganj

A decade after the death of the last great Mughal Aurangzeb, Murshid Quli Khan in 1727 declared himself the independent nawab of Bengal Province. A province which consisted of present day Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

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Panoramic view of the Hazarduari Complex, Murshidabad

As the Murshid Quli Khan took up his charge, the trade and commerce flourished and historical records even suggested that Murshidabad contributed about 20% of the Indian economy and a staggering 5% of the world GDP.

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Bari Kothi, Azimganj, a boutique heritage hotel

November 7, 2019 6 comments

Bari Kothi, Azimganj

A Boutique Heritage Hotel

Also see: FAM Tour of Bari Kothi, Azimganj

After a tiring train journey and at the very dead of the night the light up facade of the Bari Kothi was enough to ignite your spirits. The doric and corinthian columns, the lit up pediments, the black and white chequered floor and the chandelier lined corridors welcomed us into the lap of luxury.

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Bari Kothi at night, Azimganj

Located in Azimganj, near Murshidabad, Bari Kothi, which means house of the elder brother, is a two hundred and fifty year old mansion of the Dudhoria family. Recently it has been restored and renovated into a boutique heritage hotel.

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Temple of Dakshin Rai, Dhapdhapi

October 16, 2019 5 comments

Temple of Dakshin Rai

Dhapdhapi, 24 Parganas (South)

Dakshin Rai or Dakshin Ray, literally meaning the King of the South, is the local deity of Sundarban and rules over beast and daemons. He is worshiped by all those who enter the Sunderban forest, for subsistence, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.

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Idol of Dakshin Rai, Dakshineswar Temple, Dhapdhapi

There are lot of controversies regarding Dakshin Rai, although considered and worshiped as god by many but many other considered him as a demon with a uncanny curving for human flesh.

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Durga Idol Immersion and flight of Nilkantha Bird

October 9, 2019 7 comments

Durga Idol Immersion and Flight of Nilkantha Bird

A new twist to an age old custom

Also see: My compilation on Fanush

যাও উড়ে নীলকণ্ঠ পাখি, যাও সেই কৈলাসে,
দাও গো সংবাদ তুমি, উমা বুঝি ঐ আসে।

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The symbolic Neelkantha Bird, in the form of Fanush. heads for the heavens

Doshomi, marks the end of of the Durga Puja and on this day Maa Durga along with her children makes her journey back home to her heavenly abode in Kailash.

According to legend the arrival of the goddess back to her home is informed, to her  husband Lord Shiva, by a Neelkantha Bird. The Bengali poem at the beginning of the blog post mentions the journey of the Neelkantha Bird.

For centuries the traditional households (bonedi bari) of Kolkata have been following the tradition of releasing the Neelkantha Bird on the afternoon of Doshomi.

Two birds were released. The first one was released in front of  the house when the goddess made her way out of the house. The second was released when the goddess was immersed in water.

Neelkantha, literally meaning the blue throat, represents Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is also known by the same name due to his blue coloured throat.

According to legend a huge amount of poison was ejected during the charming of the ocean. In order to save the mankind from the poison Lord Shiva drank it. It resulted into his blue throat and hence the name Neelkantha.

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Theatre Museum, Salt Lake, Kolkata

September 12, 2019 6 comments

Theatre Museum

Salt Lake, Kolkata

Recently Kolkata witnessed an opening of a large number of theme based museums. Included among them is Ami Kolkata, a museum dedicated to the city itself and Reserve bank of India (RBI) Museum.

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Portion of the modern theatre gallery, Theatre Museum, Kolkata

But the city has never been new to theme based museums. Birla Industrial & Technology Museum, Nehru Children Museum, Kolkata Police Museum, Postal Museum, Boat Museum, etc are integral part of Kolkata’s heritage.

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Reserve Bank of India Museum, Kolkata

August 14, 2019 2 comments

Reserve Bank of India Museum

Kolkata

Do you know, long before the introduction of money food grains, salt, replicas of tools, cowries and even giant donut shaped stones served as a medium of exchange? The newly opened Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Museum provides an extensive insight into the history of money and banking.

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An installation showing the evolution of money, RBI Museum, Kolkata

Opened on 11 March 2019 this is the second RBI museum in the country. It came 21 years after the inaugural one opened its gates at the Mumbai headquarters.

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Jadu Ghosh er Rath (Chariot of Jadu Ghosh), Chandannagar

July 17, 2019 5 comments

Jadu Ghosh er Rath (Chariot of Jadu Ghosh)

Chandannagar

See also: Rath Yatras of West Bengal

When it comes to Rath (or Ratha) Yatra (Chariot Festival) the first thing that comes into mind is Puri, Orissa (Odissa). The towering raths (chariots) of Puri have almost become synonymous with Ratha Yatra.

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Jadu Ghosh er Rath (Chariot of Jadu Ghosh), Chandannagar

But West Bengal, the neighbouring state of Orissa, also houses several Rath Yatra festivals, complete with towering raths. Some of this rath yatras dates back a couple of centuries and attracts devotees from far and wide.

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