Ramayana, Footprints in South Asian Culture & Heritage by Anita Bose

Ramayana, Footprints in South Asian Culture & Heritage

Anita Bose

Book Review

During her stay in Thailand Anita Bose was surprised to see that the Indian epic of Ramayana was an integral part of the Thai culture. A country with 95% Buddhist population studying of Ramayana is a compulsory part of school education in Thailand. The Buddhist King of Thailand still takes the title of Rama.

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Book Cover (Source: Bee Books)

During her five years stay in Bangkok, Thailand Anita volunteered as a guide at the National Museum of Bangkok, which housed a Ramayana gallery.

During her stint as a volunteer guide in the museum a month long Ramayana Festival in Bangkok changed Anita’s concept of Ramayana. The international festival had participants from eight countries, including India.

This was an eye opener for Anita and motivated her to travel to several other south Asian countries to retrace the Ramayana legacy.

Her travels and research resulted in the book titled Ramayana, Footprints in South Asian Culture and Heritage. The book covers extensive info on Ramayana practice in south east Asian countries of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Loas, Cambodia and Myanmar.

In Thailand Ramayana is known as Ramakein and is performed in the form of Khon Dance (Also see: Khon Dance Mask) or shadow puppetry. The inner walls of the Grand Palace in Bangkok depicts the entire Ramayana in 178 panels stretching over a mile. In Indonesia Ramayana is known as Kakawin and is performed by Muslim dancers, on full-moon nights, with the backdrop of the massive Prambanan Temple.

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Gateway of India, Icon of Mumbai

May 6, 2020 4 comments

Gateway of India

Icon of Mumbai

Gateway of India is Mumbai‘s most iconic landmark. It is located at the tip of the Apollo Bunder, the gateway overlooks the Mumbai harbour, bordered by the Arabian Sea in the Colaba district.

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Gateway of India, Icon of Mumbai

The arched gateway was erected to commemorate the landing of King – Emperor George V and Queen – Empress Mary in December 1911. This was the first ever India visit by the British Monarch.

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Gangani, a scaled down version of the Grand Canyon

April 29, 2020 3 comments

Gangani

A scaled down version of the Grand Canyon

See also: Kurumbera, Moghalmari, Gangani and Pathra, Weekend Family Tour

The wind and water have carved and chiselled the landscape for millions of years creating a unique landscape. The layers of colourful mud and rocks exposes a records of millions of years.

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Gangani Canyon

It is not the Grand Canyon but a scale down version of it is located just four hours drive from Kolkata. Gangani or Gongoni, located in the outskirts of the Garhbeta town in West Medinipur district of West Bengal, houses a canyon loving known as the Grand Canyon of West Bengal.

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A morning in Gorai Beach, north western Mumbai

April 22, 2020 1 comment

A morning in Gorai Beach

North western Mumbai

It was early morning and Adithya and I were at the Gorai Beach waiting for the sun to rise. Gorai Beach located in the north western suburbs of Mumbai is favourite weekend destination for Mumbaikars.

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Horse Chariots on Gorai Beach, Mumbai

Adithya and I were not Mumbaikars and we were not on a holiday either. Both of us were in Mumbai as part of a Wikipedia workshop known as Train The Trainer (TTT). TTT is a three day residential training workshop to groom leadership skills among the experienced wikipedians.

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Red Fort by Debasish Das

April 15, 2020 2 comments

Red Fort, remembering the magnificent Mughals

Debasish Das

Book Review

A fort is all about massive bastions and giant gateways coupled with massive military edifice and strategic defensive mechanism. But apart from being a defensive structure, forts have always served as independent cities complete with bazars, gardens crisscrossed with walkways and water channels.

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Book Cover (including back cover). Photo source: Debasish Das’ personal blog

Forts complete with royal courts have always been centre of royal decision making. Behind the court, but within the walls of the fort, royal family politics had a significant role. This internal politics not only shaped the history of the empire but also had a significant role in the history of the entire mankind.

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Round the Oval, heritage building around Oval Maidan, Mumbai

April 8, 2020 3 comments

Round the Oval

Heritage building around Oval Maidan, Mumbai

Oval Maidan is a large urban open space in the heart of Mumbai. It covers an area of 22 acres (8.9 ha) and is oval in shape and hence the name Oval Maidan. It is a a recreational ground with cricket and football being the most popular sports. The ground is also used by joggers, morning and evening walkers.

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Map of Oval Maidan, Mumbai

The Oval along with Cooperage Maidan, Cross Maidan and Azad Maidan once from the Esplanade, an open area that lay beyond the ramparts of the fort. After the demolition of the fort, several streets were constructed across the Esplanade, fragmenting it into several separate patches of green.

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Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

April 1, 2020 6 comments

Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo, Shaar Harahamim, Shaare Rason, Megan David, Magen Hassidim and Tiphearth Isreal

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.

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Synagogues of Mumbai. 1st Left: Magen David, 2nd Left: Keneseth Eliyahoo, 3rd Left Top: Tiphearth Israel, 3rd Left Bottom: Magen Hassidim, Right Top: Shaare Rason and Right Bottom: Shaar Harahamim

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) always had the large Jewish population and during the 1940s it reached its peak with a figure of almost 30,000. Today the Mumbai Jews number about 3,500 and the houses a total of 9 synagogues. Out of the nine, six are in the down town Mumbai area while the remaining three are in the outskirts of the city.

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Kurumbera, Moghalmari, Gangani and Pathra, Weekend Family Tour

March 25, 2020 6 comments

Kurumbera, Moghalmari, Gangani and Pathra

Weekend Family Tour from Salboni, West Midnapore

Also see: Weekend Family tour of West Midnapore

A fortified temple complex, an excavated Buddhist Vihar, a canyon not as grand as the Grand Canyon and finally a village of brick built temples and all this in a single weekend tour from Kolkata

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Weekend tour of West Midnapore. Clockwise from top left: Kurumbera (fortified temple complex), Moghalmari (an excavated Buddhist Vihar), Gangani (canyon) and Pathra (temple village)

Dol and Holi 9 March (Monday) and 10 March (Tuesday) 2020 provided a extended weekend and an excellent opportunity for a weekend tour to explore the hidden natural and historical treasures of West Midnapore.

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Panoramic Tour of Mumbai

March 18, 2020 Leave a comment

Panoramic Tour of Mumbai

Compilation of photos from Colaba and Elephanta Caves

Also see: My collection of Panorama Compilation

Panoramic photography is a technique of photography, using specialized equipment or software, that captures images with elongated fields of view. It is sometimes known as wide format photography. Panorama photos are normally shot by stitching series of photos with sightly overlapping fields to create a panoramic image.

This blog contains photos from the Colaba Region (covering Gateway of India, Afghan Church, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Kala Ghoda and Flora Fountain)and Elephanta Caves of Mumbai.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) formerly known as Victoria Terminus (VT) is an historic train terminal station of Mumbai and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The terminal station was designed by Frederick William Stevens.

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Panoramic view of the southern faced of Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) previously known as Victoria Terminus (VT), Mumbai

Construction of the building started in 1878 and was completed in 1887, which concided with the 50 years of Queen Victoria’s reign and hence the name Victoria Terminus. In 1996 the station was renamed as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and in 2017 it was further renamed as Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).

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Bhukailash Temple, Khidirpur

February 19, 2020 6 comments

Bhukailash Temple

Khidirpur

Khidirpur or Kidderpore located south part of the city is home to India’s oldest river port. Apart from the still functioning port the area also houses athe Fancy Market, known for cheap electronic goods and not to mention the amazing Mughlai Food.

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A panoramic view of the Bhukailash Temple Complex, Khidirpur, Kolkata

But unknown to many Khidirpur also houses one of the oldest temple of the city with giant shiva linga. The huge temple complexes also houses a huge rajbari. The Bhukaliash Temple Complex housing two huge temples have remained unknown to most of the citizens of Kolkata.

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