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Headquarters of South Eastern Railway (SER), Garden Reach, formerly Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR)

September 9, 2020 7 comments

South Eastern Railway (SER) Headquarters, Garden Reach

formerly Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR)

The opening of the Mumbai-Thane line in 1853 marked the beginning of railways in India. The Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) was formed in 1887 for the purpose of upgrading the Nagpur Chhattisgarh Line and then extending it via Bilaspur to Asansol, in order to develop a shorter Howrah-Mumbai route than the one via Allahabad.

Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) Office, Headquarters of the South Eastern Railway (SER), Garden Reach

Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) Office, Headquarters of the South Eastern Railway (SER), Garden Reach

The BNR main line from Nagpur to Asansol was opened for goods traffic on 1 February 1891. It was only after Kharagpur was linked from the west and the south that it was connected to Howrah in 1900.

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Moghalmari, Buddhist Archaeological Site, West Midnapore

August 19, 2020 2 comments

Moghalmari, Buddhist Archaeological Site

West Midnapore

Also see: Weekend Family tour of West Midnapore

Moghalmari is located on the left bank of Subarnarekha River in the district of West Medinipur, 3.2 miles north of Dantan. Since the turn of the millennium an extensive excavation have reveled the remains of an ancient Budhhist Monastery.

Mughalmari 1

Moghalmari excavation site

The name Moghalmari probably originated from a pitch battle of 16th century between the Mughal and the local king. Although the Mughal army emerged victorious but a large number of Mughal soldiers were killed and hence the name.

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Lockdown Memories Continues, Wildlife Photography from Rooftop

July 29, 2020 8 comments

Lockdown Memories Continues

Wildlife Photography from Rooftop (Part 2)

Also see: Lockdown Memories (Part 1)

Lock, unlock, lock… and the process goes on and on. It has been over four months since the lockdown started on mid-March 2020 and things are yet to come to normal. We have got adjusted to our modified routines. I still spend a couple of hours in the evening spotting and photographing birds and other wildlife from my residence terrace in Salt Lake, Kolkata.

Bird 3c

Oriental magpie Robin

I uploaded my first blog post in mid-June and the list of wildlife spotted was as follows:

  1. Chestnut Tailed Starling or Grey Headed Myna (কাঠ শালিক) (Sturnia malabarica)
  2. Red Vented Bulbul (বাংলা বুলবুল) (Pycnonotus cafer)
  3. Oriental Magpie Robin (দোয়েল পাখি) (Copsychus saularis)
  4. Purple Sunbird (দুর্গা টুনটুনি) (Cinnyris asiaticus)
  5. Black Hooded Oriole (কালোমাথা বেনেবউ) (Oriolus xanthornus)

The second phase continued with the spotting of more birds and other wildlife, this new list includes:

  1. Coppersmith Barbet (ছোট বসন্ত বৌরি) (Psilopogon haemacephalus)
  2. Blue Throated Barbet (বড় বসন্ত বৌরি) (Psilopogon asiaticus)
  3. Rose Ringed Parakeet (সবুজ টিয়া) (Psittacula krameri)
  4. Indian Flying Fox (বড় বাদুর) (Pteropus medius)

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Rohtasgarh Fort, mighty citadel near Sasaram, Bihar

July 15, 2020 6 comments

Rohtasgarh Fort

Mighty citadel near Sasaram, Bihar

Also see: Sher Shah’s Tomb and other monuments of Sasaram and Sasaram Street Food

Rohtasgarh or Rohtas Fort is a mighty citadel on the banks of River Son. The fort located on a plateau of height of about 1500 feet and provides an bird eye view not only of the surrounding but also of advancing armies.

Rothasgarh Fort 43

Palace complex Rohtasgarh Fort

The fort is located on an outlying spur of Kaimur Hills and has a circumference of 45 km. It stretches 6.5 km on east – west direction and the distance in north – south is about 8 km.

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Pathra, rebirth of the temple town

July 8, 2020 3 comments

Pathra

Rebirth of the temple town

Also see: Weekend Family tour of West Midnapore

West Bengal is nothing unknown to temple villages and towns. Towns like Bishnupur and Ambika Kalna are well known temple towns in the state. Pathra, a nondescript village near Midnapore town, is another temple village of the state.

Pathra 10

Kalachand Temple Complex

But Pathra is different and what makes Pathra unique is the conservation effort of a single man named Yashin Pathan. Yashin Pathan, now aged almost 70 is a Muslim resident of the Pathra. He took up the mammoth task of protecting the 18th century temples way back in 1970.

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Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, the Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Also see: Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue 1

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of MumbaiThe Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is the grandest of Mumbai Synagogues. Located at the heart of Mumbai it stands just behind the Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) statue and is one of the six synagogues of down town Mumbai (Also see: Synagogues of Downtown Mumbai).

Located at the cultural hub of Mumbai the iconic blue synagogue is surrounded by art galleries, a museum, warmly-lit cafes and street art.

The synagogue with its blue exterior would always stand out against adjacent structures. It blue colour will make it merge with the sky above.

The synagogue is no longer blue today it is painted with a sparkling shade of white with bright indigo boarders. This was a result of a restoration process which lasted almost two years.

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue recently restored. The restoration  process was carried out by the Jindal South West (JSW) Group under the patronage of Sangita and Sajjan Jindal with the assistance of Solomon Sopher (president of Baghdadi Jewish community in Mumbai), Kala Ghoda Association and World Monument Fund.

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Lockdown Memories, Wildlife Photography from my rooftop

June 17, 2020 7 comments

Lockdown Memories

Wildlife Photography from my rooftop

Covid 19 has changed the way we lived, with the lockdown being implemented from 16 March 2020, there was nothing much to do. Stuck at home I started editing the Wikipedia.

Bird 1

Chestnut Tailed Starling or Grey Headed Myana

Although I have been attached with the Wikipedia Movement for almost a decade but my activity was more off line. The Covid 19 Lockdown first provided me to edit wikipedia on a regular basis.

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St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Zero Point of Mumbai

St. Thomas’ Cathedral

Zero Point of Mumbai

Churchgate Station is one of the prime entry points to Mumbai (once Bombay) and the name refers to the St. Thomas’ Church. Once the southern portion of the island city of Bombay was surrounded by a high wall and was referred to as the Fort Area.

St Thomas Cathedral 2

St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Mumbai

The wall had three gates and the one near the present day location of the Flora Fountain. Because of its proximity to the St. Thomas’ Church it came to be known as the Churchgate.

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Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai

May 27, 2020 2 comments

Magen David Synagogue

Byculla, Mumbai

Also see: Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

The history of the Jews in India dates back to the ancient times. Judaism was the probably the first foreign religion to reach India. Jews always have been a extreme minority and they have lived in peace with the local population for centuries.

Magen David Synagogue 1

Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai

The first group of Jews arrived in the Cochin region of Kerala long before the birth of Christ and came to be known as the Cochin Jews.

Next came the Bene Israel (literally meaning the Children of Israel) Jews, who were considered as descended of the lost tribes of Israel. They arrived  more than three centuries ago and settled along the west cost of India.

At the end of the 19th century came the Baghdadi Jews, as the name suggests, are of Iraqi origin. They were a flourishing business community and settled in business centres like Calcutta (Also see: Kolkata Jews) and Bombay.

In Bombay they flourished under the leadership of David Sassoon, a prominent Baghdadi Jew, who settled in Bomaby in 1832.

The Baghdadi Jews, while retaining their Iraqi Jewish culture, also went on to establish themselves as wealthy businessmen and philanthropists in Mumbai.

Soon their business flourished and the Bagdadi Jews of Mumbai started settling in the posh Byculla area of south Mumbai.

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Kurumbera, A fortified Temple Complex

May 20, 2020 5 comments

Kurumbera

A fortified Temple Complex

Also see: Weekend Family tour of West Midnapore

The  fortified temple complex of Kurumbera lies in the village of Gaganeshwar, which is 4 km from Keshiari and 30 km from Kharagpur. The structure resembles the medieval architecture of Odisha, while also incorporating elements of later Mughal architecture.

Kurumbera 6

Fortified complex of Kurumbera, West Midnapore

Kurumbera means stone wall (kurum = stone, bera = fence) and refers to the 12 feet high wall enclosing the complex. The wall complex measured 253 feet by 173 feet and has a gateway on the northern side.

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