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Rasbari Garden House, Belur, A unique combination of Homestay and Pilgrimage

January 16, 2019 3 comments

Rasbari Garden House, Belur

A unique combination of Homestay and Pilgrimage

Heritage hotels and homestays are an integral part of Indian tourism industry. Although late, West Bengal has also joined the trend. In the last couple of years The Rajbari BawaliBaithakkhana Amadpur Balakhana, Calcutta Bungalow and Itachuna Rajbari have come up with some amazing heritage properties.

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The three Shiva Temples, Rasbari Garden House, Belur

The latest addition in the, fast growing, list is the Rasbari Garden House in Belur, Howrah. But it is different it is not just a heritagehomestay but a entire temple complex overlooking the might Hooghly River. It also doubles up as a picnic spot and a day out gateway for Kolkatans.

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

May 10, 2018 18 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.

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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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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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Wreck of Sir John Lawrence, the advent of Kolkata – Puri rail link

March 7, 2018 5 comments

Wreck of Sir John Lawrence

The advent of Kolkata – Puri rail link

The Mullick Ghat Flower Market and the adjoining ghats has always been a hunting ground for photographers. The top view of the chaotic flower market or wrestlers posing in front of the iconic Howrah Bridge are some of the most prized photos.

But hidden from the photographers is an almost invisible marble plaque telling a sad but interesting tale. Located on the wall on the right of the stairs leading down to Chotulal Ghat (also called Mullick Ghat) is a bilingual (Bengali and English) dedicated to the memory of ship wreck victims.

The Bengali version reads as

ইং ১৮৮৭ সালের ২৫ এ মে তারিখের ঝটিকাবত্ত সার জন লারেন্স বাস্পীয় জাহাজের সহিত যে সকল তীর্থযাত্রি (আধিকাংশ স্ত্রীলোক) জলমগ্ন হইয়াছেন তাহাদিগের স্মরণার্থ কয়েকটি ইংরাজ রমণী কর্ত্তক এই প্রস্তর ফলক খানি উৎসীগৃত হইল।

The English version reads as

The stone is dedicated by a few English women to the memory of those pilgrims, mostly women, who perished with the Sir John Lawrence in the cyclone of 25th May 1887.

Cyclones and ship wrecks were nothing uncommon in the Hooghly River but this wreck was important and it lead to a significant change in the history of Indian transport and paved the way for Kolkata – Puri rail link!

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Restoration of Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

January 5, 2018 4 comments

Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

Kolkata Jews retrace their ancestor’s graves

Also See: Kolkata (Calcutta ) Jews

Rosemary Cohen has come all the way from Australia, with a inverted family tree. A few of the branches of the family tree stressed back to five generation. She, accompanied by her husband, was looking for the graves of her ancestors in the newly renovated Jewish Cemetery of Kolkata.

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Looking for their ancestor’s grave, Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

As we made our way through the thickly packed maze of, freshly painted, white graves of the Jewish Cemetery, Rosemary narrated her fond memories of Kolkata, the city of her birth.

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Beth El and Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata, Re-dedication & Celebration of Restoration

December 29, 2017 2 comments

Beth El and Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata

Re-dedication & Celebration of Restoration

Also See: Kolkata (Calcutta ) Jews

As the Muslim boys of Elias Meyer School (popularly known as Jewish Boys School) sang Hebrew song of peace Oseh Shalom at the Magen David Synagogue in Kolkata Ezra Moses could no longer hold his tears.

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Re-dedication and Celebration of Restoration of the Beth El Synagogue, Kolkata

A emotional Ezra Moses, presently a resident of Miami, USA, murmured “this is where my parents got married, long time back, probably in 1943. This is the city of my birth.”

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Unveiling of Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata

November 29, 2017 6 comments

Unveiling of Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial

Balu Ghat (Suriname Jetty), Garden Reach, Kolkata

Also see: Suriname Memorial

“My ancestors must have stood here for the last time before leaving India forever. The men carried two dhotis and two kurtas each. The women carried two saris each. Apart from this, some carried religious books like the Ramayana, Mahabharata or Quran,”

Aashna Kanhai Ambassador of Suriname

Unveiling of the Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata. L - R: Dave C Prasad (High Commissioner Trinidad & Tobago, Aashna Kanhai (Ambassador of Suriname), M J Akbar (Union Minister of state for External Affairs), Alphonsus Stoelinga (Ambasador of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Vinit Kumar (Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust) and Kajari Biswas (Branch Secretary, Kolkata, Ministry of External affairs)

Unveiling of the Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata. L – R: Dave C Prasad (High Commissioner Trinidad & Tobago, Aashna Kanhai (Ambassador of Suriname), M J Akbar (Union Minister of state for External Affairs), Alphonsus Stoelinga (Ambasador of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Vinit Kumar (Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust) and Kajari Biswas (Branch Secretary, Kolkata, Ministry of External affairs)

Suriname Memorial, a small non – descriptive memorial, on the banks of Hooghly River in Metiabruz and Garden Reach area was unveiled, on 7 Oct. 2015, by the Union External Minister Sushma Swaraj, in the presence of  Aashna Kanhai, Ambassador of Suriname.

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