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Jillian Haslam, under the stairs to Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker

December 29, 2016 Leave a comment

The story of Jillian Haslam

From living under the stairs to Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker

It was almost mid night of Christmas Eve and Santa Clause, accompanied by a Anglo Indian lady, was giving gifts to the street kids in Kolkata.

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Jillian Haslam and Santa Clause with a street kid in Kolkata

Nothing much unusual and Kolkata. The city has seen many such foreign charity. But there was a twist in this in this charity!!! The lady who accompanied the smartly dressed Santa Cause, has spent are childhood in Kolkata.

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Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Abode of Ahilya Bai

December 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Abode of Ahilya Bai

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Ahilya Bai is second to none in valour, sagacity and eminence. Nobody can equate her in these matters.

Nana Phadnavis

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

The massive Maheshwar Fort stands on hill overlooking the Narmada River on the south. The stupendous walls of the Maheshwar Fort rises straight out of the Narmada River to a height of more than 30 meters.

The Maheshwar Fort dates back to antiquity and there are no clear evidence of its first construction. The fort as we see today was conceived during the reign of Ahilya Bai Holkar (1767 – 95).

Ahilya Bai, was the daughter in law of Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of Hindu Maratha dynasty of Holkar, who ruled central India from Indore.

Ahilya Bai was born in 1725 in the village of Chondi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Her father was Mankoji Shinde, a village chief. Unusual for the time he tought her daughter to read and write.

According to legend one day Malhar Rao Holkar, while passing through the village of Chondi spotted the 8 year old Ahilya Bai.

Pleased with her beauty and personality he brought her home as a bride for her son Malhar Rao Holkar. They were married in 1733. Ahilya Bai become a widow in 1754, when her husband Malhar Rao Holkar, died during the siege of Kumbher.

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Fanush Making Workshop, revival of a lost art

December 16, 2016 2 comments

Fanush Making Workshop, revival of a lost art

Bholanath Dham, Beadon Street, Kolkata

Also see: My compilation on Fanush, paper made hot air balloons

In recent years Fanush (ফানুস, also spelt as Phanush or Phanus) has become an integral part of Kolkata’s Kali Puja celebrations. With the fast spreading concept of noise less Diwali, the fanush or the Chinese Lanterns have taken the night skies, of Kolkata, in large numbers.

Mentors and participants of the Fanush making workshop at Bholanath Dham

Mentors and participants of the Fanush making workshop at Bholanath Dham

In recent years several Fanush Festivals are organized in different parts of the city, where thousand of sky lanterns have taken the skies. Although the Chinese Lanterns are making a rapid progress in the skies of Kolkata, but Fanush have been an integral part of North Kolkata culture for over a century.

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Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

December 7, 2016 1 comment

Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

Birding Trip for a non Birder

Also see: Familirazation (FAM) tour of the Birding Trail of East Sikkim

It was a hot summer afternoon in a cafe in Salt Lake, Kolkata, I was having a discussion with Siddhartha of Wandervogel Adventures on my future blogging projects. As the discussion progressed Siddhartha briefed me about Wandervogel Adventure’s next trip to Sikkim a Birding Trip along the Silk Route of Sikkim. 

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

The briefing was soon complete and to my utter surprise Siddhartha invited me to join the Birding Trail of East Sikkim. Wild life tours and photography has never been cup of tea and joining a group on experienced birders on a birding trail is the last thing I imagined.

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Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

December 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

Hooghly, West Bengal

Triben generally refers to the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the illusive Saraswati near Allahabad. But the Hooghly district of West Bengal also houses another Tribeni, where the Bhagarati or Hooghly River disintegrates into three branches. The three branches are Hooghly, Sarswati and Jamuna (Kanchrapara Khal).

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Zafar Khan Gazi Masjid, Tribeni, Hooghly

So like the Prayag near Allabahad the Tribeni of Hooghly has also attracte pilgrims for centuries and is mentioned in ancient Bengali literature like the Mansamangal and Chandimangal.

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Remembrance Sunday, Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata

November 18, 2016 2 comments

Remembrance Sunday

Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata

Also see: Remembrance Sunday at St. John’s Church, Kolkata

In Remembering the terrible cost of the war, let us all work for peace and peaceful resolution of our difference.

Bruce Buckmell. British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata

Remembrance Sunday, Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata

Remembrance Sunday, Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata

The First World War (WWI), which was the known as the Great War of 1914 – 18, ended on 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year ie: 11:00 am of 11 Nov, 1918.

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Rewa Kund Group, Mandu, Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion

November 2, 2016 2 comments

Rewa Kund Group, Mandu

Baz Bahadur Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion

Eternal Love Story of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

The Rewa Kund Group, consisting of Rewa Kund, Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion is located at the southern end of the Citadel of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

L: Baz Bahadur and Roopmati enjoying a horse ride, C: Both riding in the moonlight, R: Attack of Mandu by Akbar's army (Source: Wikinedia Commons)

L: Baz Bahadur and Roopmati enjoying a horse ride, C: Both riding in the moonlight, R: Attack of Mandu by Akbar’s army (Source: Wikinedia Commons)

The most enchanting and romantic of the Mandu groups is the Rewa Kund Group. It stills speaks of the legend of Baz Bahadur and his consort Roopmati. The stories of the love affair of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati make up some of the most enchanting folk lores of Mandu.

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