Photo Publicatiom – XI
My photo feature on Heritage Buildings of Kolkata, titled “Glimpses of Kolkata” was published in the April 2014 issue of Spice Route (In flight magazine of Spice Jet).
The six page photo feature consisted of a total of 11 photos, including a two page spread black and white title photo of the Metropolitan Building.
Toong On Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Rebirth of a Chinese Temple
Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown
March 2008: A beautiful two storied brick red building stood in the shadows of the multi storied office of Kolkata Telephones. The entrance was not easily approachable and the door perennially locked. Above the door in beautiful Chinese calligraphy was written Toong On Church. The building once housed the Toong On Church at the first floor and the Nanking Restaurant on the ground floor. A decade long court case have kept the building under lock and key and the Toong On caligraphy was all that remained of the buildings glorious history.
Feb 10, 2011: I was out to explore the Chinese Temples of Tiretta Bazar, with fellow photographer Amitabha Gupta. We made our way past the garbage dump to the entrance of the beautiful two storied red coloured building only to find the Chinese calligraphy being replaced by a temporary banner of Nanking Restaurant.
Oct 13, 2012: It was the Calcutta edition of the Scott Kelby Photowalk 2012. I took a detour past the garbage dump and made my way to the entrance of the Nanking Restaurant. To my utter surprise I found the Nanking Restaurant banner replaced by the Toong On Church banner. Strangely the door was open and I made my way up to the first floor, straight in front was the alter housing the strange idol of the warrior God Kwan Ti. Sadly apart from the alter the room was totally empty and lacked the ambiance and glamor of the surrounding Chinese Temples.
Jan 20, 2013: It was the Footsteps Photowalk and again I made my way to the entrance of the Nanking Resturant and Toong On Church only to find that the temporary banner of Toong On Church have been replaced by a permanent beautiful bright red Chinese calligraphy.
PHOTO PUBLICATION – V
India in the World Economy
Cambridge University Press
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.
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
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)
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
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
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
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.
- Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya
- Next weekend you can be at … Antpur by Somen Sengupta, The Telegraph
- Links from my website Aatpur Travelogue
- Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya
- Dakshin 24 Pargana Jelar Purakirti by Sagar Chattopadhyay
- Jaywalkers Guide Calcutta by Soumitra Das
- Links from my website Chinese Temple of Old China Town, Calcutta (Kolkata)