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Chalamthang and Yuksam, A family tour of South and West Sikkim

June 12, 2019 2 comments

Chalamthang and Yuksam

A family tour of South and West Sikkim

A family vacation to the Himalayas was long due. In fact our last Himalayan vacation was our honeymoon a decade and half ago. Although I have been in the Himalayas quiet a few times during this period but could never manage a trip to the Himalayas with my family. This was also the first Himalayan holiday for my nine year old daughter.

Rimbi Falls 1

Family pic at Rimbi Falls (Pic courtesy: Shyamal)

It was a six day seven night tour (including journey) and included a three night stop at Chalamthang (South Sikkim) and two night stop at Yuksam (West Sikkim).

The itinerary was as follows:

Day 1 (May 26): Transfer from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Station to Chalamthang. Night halt at Chalamthang Homestay.

Day 2 (May 27): Day trip from Chalamthang covering Temi Tea Garden and Buddha Park, Ravangla.

Day 3 (May 28): Day trip from Chalamthang covering Tarey Bhir and Sandruptse (Char Dham in Namchi had to be dropped due to a political rally).

Day 4 (May 29): Transfer from Chalamthang to Yuksam. Night halt at Yak Hotel.

Day 5 (May 30): Day trip from Yuksum covering Rimbi Falls, Sky Walk and Chenrezig statue, Sanga Choeling Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdentse Ruins and Khechiperi Lake.

Day 6 (May 31): Trek to the Dubdi Monastery and visit to the Throne of Norbugang. Transfer from Yuksam to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Station. Night train back to Kolkata.

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Jora Deul, Baidyapur, Kalna, Bardhaman

April 24, 2019 4 comments

Jora Deul, Baidyapur

Kalna, Bardhaman

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone.

Baydapur Joradeul 1

Jore Deul (or two adjacent temple), Baidyapur

This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. Terracotta literally means baked earth in Italian but West Bengal has the distinction of housing some of the finest terracotta art in the world.

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Sat Deul, Towering Brick Temple, Memari, Burdwan District, West Bengal

April 4, 2019 2 comments

Sat Deul, Towering Brick Temple

Memari, Burdwan District, West Bengal

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone.

Sat Deul 5

Sat Deul, near Memari, Burdwan District

This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. Terracotta literally means baked earth in Italian but West Bengal has the distinction of housing some of the finest terracotta art in the world.

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Ban Bang Phalp, Community Tourism, Samut Songkhram

March 27, 2019 2 comments

Ban Bang Phalp, Community Tourism

Samut Songkhram

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

Thailand is not just about beautiful beaches, exotic sea food and exciting night life but the country has something more to offer.

Asif 1

Bicycling tour of Ban Bang Phalp, Samut Songkharm (Photo courtesy: Aso Lori)

Taking in the rural landscape on a bicycle, walking through coconut groves and watching local people go about their business is one of the best ways of experiencing rural Thailand.

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Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok

March 21, 2019 2 comments

Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Rattanakosin, Bangkok

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

Wat Pho (also spelled Wat Po) is a large temple complex in Rattanakosin Island (Also see: Heritage walk of Rattanakosin Island) of Bangkok. It is located just south of the Grand Palace.

Wat Pho 1

Reclining Buddha, Wat Pao, Ratanakosin Island, Bangkok

Wat Pho is popular, or rather wrongly, known as the Temple of Reclining Buddha. Apart from the shrine of Reclining Buddah the complex houses several other shrines including prayers hall, giant chedis (stupas) and galleries housing 1000+ Buddha statues, more than any other temple in Thailand.

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Omkareswar, Narmada River Boating

March 10, 2019 1 comment

Omkareswar

Narmada River Boating

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

Omkareshwar is a river island located in the middle of the Narmada River roughly at the mid point of its source in Amarkantak and its sea mouth in Baruch. The island measures 4 km in length and 2 km in breadth and houses two lofty hills.

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Boating in Narmada River, with Omkereshwar Island in the Background, Omkereshwar, Madhya Pradesh

When viewed from the top it appears to form the sacred Hindu symbol of Om and hence the name Omkareshwar. A sacred Hindu pilgrimage it houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and plays an important role in Narmada Parikrama, a pilgrimage consisting of a arduous trek along the bank of the Narmada River.

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Patachitra of Odisha and Jagannath Culture by Anita Bose, Book Review

Patachitra of Odisha and Jagannath Culture by Anita Bose

Book Review

In every corner of India there exists numerous indigenous art forms hidden under sands of time. Search for them as desperately as a mother would be looking for her lost child. Don’t stop until you find them and showcase them for the world to see.

Swami Vivekananda to Sister Nivedita

Patachitra

Patachitra of Odisha and Jagannath Culture by Anita Bose

The heritage village of Raghurajpur, located near the pilgrimage of Puri, is one such numerous art centres of the country. Raghurajpur is famous for the ancient art of Patachitra.

The book Patachitra of Odisha and Jagannath Culture by Anita Bose explores the story behind the patachitras of Raghurajpur. The book is the culmination of Anita’s two decades of nurturing her creative pursuits.

Anita’s book not only deals with the details of patachitra but also provides the details of its connection with the Jagannath Culture.

The book starts with the origin of the name of heritage village of Raghurajpur and then moves on to the representation of Jagannath Culture through different forms of patachitras.

The book elaborates the chitrakar (artist) community of Raghurajpur providing the details of the artist hierarchy, which is solely based on the skill of the artist. The author goes into further details providing a correlation between the surname and the type of art work done by them. The details of the patachitra painting, which replaces the deities of the Puri Jaganath Temple for the 15 day sabbatical break every year, have been expressed in every possible details.

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