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Its all Dutch with Bauke Van Der Pol

February 12, 2014 5 comments

In Search of Dutch Legacy with Bauke Van Der Pol

Falta, Aatput (Antpur) and Chinsurah (Chuchura)

From sunken ship to lost cannons and from dilapidated mansions to ruined forts, it was a out of the world experience accompanying Dutch anthropologist and writer Bauke Van Der Pol on his explorations along the banks of the Hooghly.

With Dutch anthropologist and historian Bauke Van Der Pol

With Dutch anthropologist and historian Bauke Van Der Pol

I had the pleasure of accompanying Van Der Pol on three ocassion covering the places of Falta, Aatpur (Antpur) and Chinsurah (Chuchura).

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Mahisasuramardini on Bengal Terracotta

October 3, 2012 8 comments

Mahisasuramardini on Bengal Terracotta

~ A compilation on Mahisasuramardani panels on Bengal Terracotta Temples ~

See also: Mahabharata on Bengal Terracotta

Mythology presents goddess Durga as the genius of destruction springing into existence on occasion to fight out destroy the evil forces jeopardising the values and virtues of the earth and also posing threats to god’s creation.

Mahisasurmardini, one of the most popular form of goddesses Durga, is described as a slayer of the bull – shaped monster Mahisasur, who challenged the ocean and the Himalayas. Mahishasur is said to be like a roaring cloud and regarded as a Danava and Asura. Mahishasur was like a storm capable of defeating the in battle, till such time goddess caused his slain.

The most popular form of Durga appearing on on Bengal Terracotta Temple is the episode of slaying the buffalo demon (Mahishasur). Durga riding her vehicle, lion is mostly accompanied by her daughters and sons, namely Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh.

The Mahisasuramardini motif is common on many of the late medieval brick temples of Bengal, irrespective of the worshiped deity to which the temple belongs.

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PHOTO PUBLICATION – V

PHOTO PUBLICATION – V

India in the World Economy

Tirthankar Roy

Cambridge University Press

India in World Economy: Cover

India in World Economy: Cover

Six of my photos have been published in the book titled “India in the World Economy” by Prof. Tirthankar Roy, reader in the Economic History Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The book have been published by the Cambridge University Press.

My photos covered a wide range of topics from terracotta temples to close up of terracotta panels, showing ocean going ships and European soldiers. From closed down Chinese restaurant and temples in Calcutta (Kolkata) to abandoned light house at the mouth of the Hooghly. Prof. Tirthankar Roy also provided me with an elaborate testimonial.

All my six photograph published comes with an elaborate narration which was also provided be me.

Prof. Thithankar Roy also mentioned my name in the preface of the book “India in the World Economy” thanking me for the photographs he has used in his book and also mentioning about my impressive collection of photographs on historical sites of West Bengal.

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TESTIMONIAL – I

August 10, 2011 1 comment

Testimonial

From Prof. Tirthankar Roy,

Economic History Dept.

THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (LSE)

 

Six of my photos were selected for publication by Prof. Tirthankar Roy of the Economic History Dept. of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for his book titled “India in the World Economy” published by the Cambridge University Press.

Below is a testimonial from Prof. Roy

Testimonial from Prof. Tirthankar Roy, Economic History Dept., London School of Economics and Political Science

Here is the list of the selected six photos:

  • Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)
  • Panel of European soldiers from Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)
  • Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawata
  • Panel of Ship from Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawata
  • Nanking Restaurant & Tong On Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)
  • Abandoned Light House, Kulpi

PHOTOS OF AATPUR (ANTPUR)

Left: Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur). Right: Panel of European Soldiers

Left: Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur). Right: Panel of European Soldiers

Built in 1786 Krishnaram Mitra, the Dewan of Maharaja of Burdwan, constructed the huge Radhagobinda Temple. The towering aat – chala temple has a triple arched entrance and the entire front face is covered with the finest terracotta. The temple was constructed during an important transition period of Bengal history. This period marked the end of Muslim rule and the beginning of European era. The terracotta panels reflect this transition. Apart from traditional panels showing images of Gods & Goddesses, scenes from Ramayana & Krishnalila it also houses a vast number of panels showing European lifestyles. European soldiers with bayonet mounted guns and hunting scenes with dogs are abundant on the walls of the temple.

PHOTOS OF DARHAWTA

Left: Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawta. Right: Panel of ship

Left: Rajrajeshwar Temple, Darhawta. Right: Panel of ship

The Rajrajeshwar Temple of Darhawta was constructed in 1728 by Apurbamohan Singaroy. The base of the aat – chala (eight sloped roof) temple measures 24 feet by 21 feet and has a triple arched entrance. The entire front surface have intricate terracotta, but sadly most of these panels have been heavily damaged. The base panels consists of images of boats and ships.

PHOTO OF ABANDONED LIGHT – HOUSE, KULPI

Abandoned Light House, Kalitala, Kulpi

Abandoned Light House, Kalitala, Kulpi

The abandoned  light house at Kalitala village is approached from the Sam Bose bus stop in Kulpi (near Diamond Harbour) by the Military road. The unpaved road, of about 3 km, is called locally as the Military Road but their are no concrete historical evidences of the origin of the name. Today the abandoned light house is reduced to half its original height and is located at the edge of the agricultural field. The light house is located quiet a distance from the Hooghly River and is separated from the river by a series of brick kiln.

With a circumference of about 10 feet the light house today towers to a height of about 25 feet and is built with bricks measuring 10.2  X 4.7 X 2.3 cubic inch. The structure lies in utter neglect and is totally overgrown with vegetation. The roots of the vegetation have embedded them deep in the structure and resulted in deep cracks stretching the entire length of the structure, it is a mystery that the structure still stands.

PHOTO OF NANKING RESTAURANT

Nanking Restaurant & Tong On Chinese Temple

Nanking Restaurant & Tong On Chinese Temple

At the Chattawalla Guli of of Tiretta Bazar of Central Calcutta (Kolkata) lies a elegant two storied building.  The ground floor once housed the Nanking Restaurant. Opened in 1924 the Nanking Restaurant is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Calcutta (Kolkata) and also in India.  The first floor housed the Tong On Chinese Temple.

A property dispute in 1980s closed both the restaurant and the temple and they remain closed to this day, denying the Calcuttans of their authentic Chinese food. The Tong On Church operates from a nearby house in Bow Street in Bou Bazar.

References:

Aatpur:

Darhawta:
  • Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya
Abandoned Light – House, Kulpi:
  • Dakshin 24 Pargana Jelar Purakirti by Sagar Chattopadhyay
Nanking Restaurant & Tong On Church:

AATPUR ~ A Poem in Terracotta

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

On 24th December 1886 at Aatpur nine disciples, including Swami Vivkanada, of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa took the oath of leaving their families and dedicating their lives for the welfare of mankind. Today the place is marked by a memorial and every year on 24th December devotees from far & wide come here to celebrate the historic occasion.

Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)

Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)

But the history of Aatpur dates far behind the days of Ramkrishna. Exactly a hundred years before the historic event Krishnaram Mitra, the Dewan of Maharaja of Burdwan, constructed the huge Radhagobinda Temple. The towering aat – chala temple has a triple arched entrance and the entire front face is covered with the finest terracotta.

There are interesting stories about the origin of the name Aatpur. According to some Aatpur was named after the jamindar Atar Khan while other believe the Aatpur is a combination of eight villages of Bhuri Shreshtha kingdom and hence the name Aatpur (or Antpur).

Terracotta Panels from Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)

Terracotta Panels from Radhagobinda Temple, Aatpur (Antpur)

Located about 50 km from Calcutta Aatpur probably has the distinction of housing Calcutta’s nearest terracotta temples.

Chandi Mandap

Chandi Mandap

Although Aatpur is well connected by road and busses are available from Esplanade & Howrah, but for the most comfortable journey it is best to take the morning Tarakeshwar Local. Haripal is the nearest railhead and a short but crowded trekker ride takes you to Aatpur.

The temple was constructed during an important transition period of Bengal history. This period marked the end of Muslim rule and the beginning of European era. The terracotta panels reflect this transition. Apart from traditional panels showing images of Gods & Goddesses, scenes from Ramayana & Krishnalila it also houses a vast number of panels showing European lifestyles. European soldiers with bayonet mounted guns and hunting scenes with dogs are abundant on the walls of the temple.

Rash Mancha (left) & Dol Manch (right)

Rash Mancha (left) & Dol Manch (right)

An elaborate Durga panel complete with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik & Ganesh on the central pillar is the prime attraction of the temple. A panel of royal procession complete with horse drawn chariots, elephants, soldiers and musicians are bound to attract the visitors attention.

The temple complex also houses five Shiva Temples. Built in the late 18thcentury these temples are smaller in size and lack the grace of towering Radhagobinda Temple. Three out of the five temples have only traces of terracotta. The complex also houses an octagonal Rashmancha and a square Dolmancha. Another attraction of the complex is the hay thatched wooden Chandimandap. Built by Krishnaram Mitra the mandap has intricate wood curving on its pillars and ceiling beams.

Entrance of Ramkrishna Math, Aatpur (Antpur)

Entrance of Ramkrishna Math, Aatpur (Antpur)

Ramkrishna Moth is worth a visit. Apart from the Dhuni Mandap, the place where the historic oath taking took place, the math has several other shrines dedicated to Ramkrishna, Sarada Ma and Vivekananda. Aatpur also happens to be the home of Baburam Ghosh (later Swami Premananda), one of the nine disciples of Ramkrishna, who took the holy oath.  Several relics from the Ghosh family are also on the display. Sadly photography is strictly banned inside the Ramkrishna Moth, however photography is allowed from ouside the gate.

Reference:

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal

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