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Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) Towers

January 20, 2021 7 comments

Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) Towers

A compilation of GTS Towers of West Bengal

The Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS), which surveyed the Indian sub continent from 1800 -1854, is often hailed as one of the most stupendous work in the history of science. The Great Arc (780 E Longitude) was the backbone of the survey and the 1600 miles of inch perfect survey was the longest measurement of earth surface ever to have been attempted.

Collage of GTS Towers

Collage of GTS Towers
Left – right: Paikpara, Akanpur, Bhalki, Bhola and Sukchar

Willam Lambton, an endearing genius, conceived the idea; George Everest, an impossible martinet, took it forward. The half a century long project involved equations more complex than any in the pre – computer age. It was also the most perilous project of its time, killing more men than any contemporary wars. Malaria wiped out whole survey parties, tiger and scorpions took their toll.

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Shwetambar Jain Temple, Gouribari, Kolkata

January 13, 2021 1 comment

Shwetambar Jain Temple

Gouribari, Kolkata

With the Battle of Plassey Calcutta transformed from a trading outpost of East India Company to the capital of British India. Soon the city transformed into the second city of the mighty British empire and become the hub of business activities in Asia.

Temple of Sitalnath, Shwetambar Jain Temple Complex, Gouribari

Temple of Sitalnath, Shwetambar Jain Temple Complex, Gouribari

As the city and its economy grew it started attracting prople from not only different parts of India but from the entire world. The Britishers were already there they were joined by the Jews, Armenians, Portuguese and Greeks.

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Birding from Salt Lake rooftop during Covid 19 lock, unlock and beyond

January 6, 2021 4 comments

Birding from rooftop during lock and unlock

Compilation of birds documented from my Salt Lake, Kolkata residence

Also see: Lockdown Memories (Part 1) and Lockdown Memories (Part 2)

Lock, unlock, lock… and the process goes on and on. It has been over nine 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.

Clockwise from top left: Red Vented Bulbul. Oriental Magpie Robin, Black Hooded Oriole, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Red Whiskered Bulbul and Coppersmith Barbet

Clockwise from top left: Red Vented Bulbul. Oriental Magpie Robin, Black Hooded Oriole, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Red Whiskered Bulbul and Coppersmith Barbet

My initial days was just restricted to observation only. With a little internet search I was able to identify and spot a few birds within a week. Next step was to photograph them but with no knowledge of birds and inappropriate equipment it was not an easy task, but I wanted to give it a try. My 11 year daughter Rupsha was my constant companion from the very beginning. She soon got the hang of it and started spoting birds with the help of a pair of binoculars.

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East Indians of West Coast of India

December 16, 2020 6 comments

East Indians of West Coast of India

Dongri, Pali, Uttan Gorai and other fishing villages of north Mumbai

East Indian Christians, or simply East Indians are an ethno-religious Indian Christian community. They trace their roots to those who converted to Christianity in the 16th century when Portugal took over Bombay. They are considered as the original inhabitants of the Mumbai, Thane and Raigad area.

Clockwise from top left: Fishing boats at Dongri, Chariots at Gorai, Fishing trawler at Pali, Dried fish at Pali, Sunrise at Dongri and cyclist at Gorai

Clockwise from top left: Fishing boats at Dongri, Chariots at Gorai, Fishing trawler at Pali, Dried fish at Pali, Sunrise at Dongri and cyclist at Gorai

On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King João IV of Portugal—made Mumbai (then Bombay) part of the British Empire, as part of marriage dowry.

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Historical Sites of Purulia District

November 25, 2020 5 comments

Historical sites of Purulia District

A compilation of historical sites of Purulia District

Puruila District, lying on the western end of West Bengal is known fro its breathtaking natural beauty, consisting of lush green rolling hills along with rock outcrops and majestic water falls and lakes.

Clockwise from top left: Banda, Deulghata, Pakbirra, Telkuoi, Suisa and Para

Clockwise from top left: Banda, Deulghata, Pakbirra, Telkupi, Suisa and Para

Historical records suggest that during the 10th – 13th century a Jain settlement flourished in the western part of West Bengal covering the present districts of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram. During this period they have built numerous brick and stone temples, following the Oriya Duel style architecture.

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Elephanta Caves, rock cut caves and amazing sculptures

October 7, 2020 13 comments

Elephanta Caves

Rock cut caves and amazing sculptures

Also see: Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island

The Elephanta Caves, an UNESCO Heritage Site is located on the Elephanta Island about 11 km north-west of Apollo Bunder Jetty located next to Gateway of India.

Entrance of Cave 1 of Elephanta Cave

Entrance of Cave 1 of Elephanta Cave

The island has been referred as Gharapuri (literally meaning village of caves) in ancient literature. The island covers an area of 1050 hectors. The island consists of two hill separated by a narrow valley. The higher of the two hills rises to a height of 173 m above sea level.

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Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island, approaching is half the fun

September 30, 2020 Leave a comment

Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island

Approaching the Elephanta Caves is half the fun

Also see: Elephanta Caves

The Elephant Island houses the Elephanta Caves, a series of rock cut caves with amazing sculptures. The island is located about 11 km north west of Apollo Bunder Jetty located next to Gateway of India.

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

The Elephant Caves are an UNESCO Heritage Site and attracts large number of tourists. Regular ferry service connects Mumbai to the Elephant Island at frequent intervals.

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

September 9, 2020 11 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 5 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 11 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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