Posts Tagged ‘Travelogue’

Jatar Deul and finally the Horse Race

May 3, 2017 6 comments

Horse Race at Jatar Deul

Kankandighi, Raidighi, 24 Parganas (South)

Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race

It was the second day of the Bengali new year 1420 (16 April 2011), my friend Amitabha Gupta and I headed for the Jatar Deul to witness the horse race. After a 4 + hour journey via train, auto and motor van we finally made it to Jatar Deul only to be informed that the horse race has been postponed to 25 Baikash (9 May) because of Elections.

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Amitabha and I decided to retrace out steps back to Jatar Deul for the illusive horse race. On 9thMay we repeated our 5 hours long journey only to be informed that the race was called off due to unofficial reasons. (Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race)

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Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

February 15, 2017 12 comments

Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck

Goodricke’s Margaret Hope Tea Estate, Kurseong

See also: Maragaret’s Deck FAM

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are exxcited, it will calm you.

William Gladstone, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom

My first stint with Tea Tasting happened at the Goodricke office in Kolkata. I remember tasting several version and trying to distinguish between the different tastes and flavoures.

 Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

But I always wanted to have a tea tasting experience at the heart of chai country. The opportunity again came from Goodricke, with MSL Group as the public relation partner.

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Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls, Bhedaghat, Jabalpur, MP

May 27, 2015 16 comments

Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls

Bhedaghat, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

“The eye never wearies of about the ……… effect produced by the broken and reflected sunlight, now glancing from a pinnacle of snow-white marble reared against the deep blue of the sky as from a point of silver, touching here and there and with bright lights the prominences of the middle height; and again loosing itself in the soft bluish greys of their recesses.”

Captain J. Forsyth, Highlands of Central India

Marble Rocks Panorama, Bhedaghat, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Marble Rocks Panorama, Bhedaghat, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

The Narmada River, often considered as the “life line of Madhya Pradesh,” flows between the Satpura and Vindhya Range.

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A Year of Blogging ~ My Blog’s First Birthday

June 17, 2012 6 comments

A Year of Blogging

My Blog’s First Birthday

Also see: My Blog’s Birthdays

I still remember the wet morning of 17th June 2011 my friend, colleague and fellow photo enthusiast Akash Mondal introduced me to the world of Blogging. Although I have been writing travelogues for more than a decade and maintained a personal website, I have never been much of a computer friendly person. Strangely I soon got the hang of Blogging and started posting articles regularly.

Soon words of inspiration and likes from friend followed, inspiring me to work hard on my blog. I set up an action plan of “Mid Week Update” updating an article every Wednesday. In a short span of time likes and comments extended beyond my friend circle with eminent scholars and best selling authors commenting on my blog. Comments and likes also followed from fellow bloggers, travel & photographic enthusiasts.

I have always been know as a “Travel Writer & Photographer” due to my numerous travelogues published in the leading dailies of the country. My website tag also reads “Freelance Travel Writer & Photographer” and so does my Blog title, but blogging has given me the advantage to think beyond travel writing. Although for the first year my blog has been restricted to travelogues mainly but I am seriously considering other areas of non fiction writing.

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JOYPUR ~ Terracotta beyond Bishnupur

February 29, 2012 2 comments

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. This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The terracotta art reached its pinnacle under the patronage of the Malla Kings of Bishnupur during the seventeenth century. The temples are still there turning Bishnupur into one of the most favored tourist spot in West Bengal.

Located just 15 km east of Bishnupur the non – descriptive village of Joypur houses some of the finest specimen of terracotta art. It was during the 18 – 19th century few families of the village took advantage of the cloth trade with the British and made a fortune. They acquired land and became zamindars and built fantastic temples. De and Dutta family were two such families and they still have a temple standing in the courtyard of their decapitated family mansion.

Both the temples are built in naba ratna (nine pinnacles) style and are approached by a triple arched entrance from the Northern and Eastern side. Sadly the temples are in bad shape and are in desperate need of professional restoration.

Triple Arch Panel, Damodar Temple, Duttapara, Joypur

Triple Arch Panel, Damodar Temple, Duttapara, Joypur

The Damodar Temple of Dutta family has elaborate terracotta on the Eastern arch panel. The central arch panels have scenes from Krishnalila while those on the left and right contain battle scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana. The uniqueness of the Joypur terracotta is its deep relief giving an almost three dimensional effect to most of the figure. The set of musicians on the cornice are in full three dimension. The temple also contains panels of das avatar, Vishnu in anantasaya and Bishma in sarasaya (bed of arrows).

Terracotta Panels from Vishnu Temple, Depara, Joypur

Terracotta Panels from Vishnu Temple, Depara, Joypur

Located a short distance away is the Vishnu Temple belonging to the De family and follows the same pattern of Naba Ratna architecture. The arch panel shows a series of boats some with armed guards and other with noble men and ladies, including a scene where a noble man smokes a hookah carried by an attendant in different boat.

Another arch panel shows two fantastic jumping lions embedded on a floral motif complete with birds and flowers. Just above the lions is a fantastic panel showing Ram and Sita enthroned attended my monkeys and musicians. A little away from the De family temple is a spectacular octagonal Rash Manch crowned with nine onion shaped pinnacles.

So next time when you are in Bishnupur to enjoy do take a couple of hours break to visit the spectacular temples of Joypur, but don’t be late because centuries of neglect can soon turn the temples to dust.


Related links from my Personal Website:

  • Travel article on Joypur (Link not yet ready)

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal

Bawali ~ Temples & Mansions

January 11, 2012 2 comments


~ Temples and Mansions ~

Bawali, a nondescript village just off the Diamond Harbour Road (DH rd) from Amtala, is home to towering temples and palatial mansions.

Nabaratna styled Gopinath Temple, Bawali

Nabaratna styled Gopinath Temple, Bawali

History books tell us that the Mondals of Bawali were originally Roys. Shovaram, the grandson of Basudev Roy (who lived between the end of 16th century and the early 17th century), was awarded the title Mondal. Shovaram’s grandson Rajaram was the senapati of the Raja of Hijli. Moved by his bravery, the raja offered him the ownership of 50 villages, which included Bowali and Budge Budge.

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Bali Dewanganj ~ Terracotta at its best

November 16, 2011 6 comments

The Bengal temple architecture is classified under two broad heads namely ~ Chala (sloped roof) and Ratna (Pinnacle) style. Rarely the two styles combine in a single temple forming a mixed form of architecture. The Durga Temple of Bali – Dewanganj is probably the best example of such mixed temple architecture in the whole of West Bengal.

Left: Jora Bangla, Centre: Naba Ratna, Right: Jora Bangla + Naba Ratna

Left: Jora Bangla, Centre: Naba Ratna, Right: Jora Bangla + Naba Ratna

The lower part of Durga Temple follows the Chala style, in the form of Jora – Bangla style, consisting of two adjoining thatched roof structures. In the middle of the two thatched roof structures stand a Naba – Ratna (nine pinnacled) structure, thus combining the two forms of Bengal temple architecture.

Ruined Temples of Bali Dewanganj

Ruined Temples of Bali Dewanganj

Bali – Dewanganj is a non – descriptive village in the Arambagh sub – division of the Hooghly district. It is well connected by road from both Arambagh and Tarakeshwar. For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the morning Tarakeshwar Local followed by a bus to Bali – Dewangunj. Get down at Haldar Para, from where a winding dirt roads leads to Rout Para, housing the Durga Temple along with a host of other temples.

Durga Temple, Bali Dewangan

Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Rout Para houses five temples out of which three are in crumbling stage. Large portions of these temples have already collapsed and all that remains are on the verge of collapsing. Mangal Chandi Temple which lies on the left hand side of the road is said to contain thirteen pinnacles but none of them have survived the test of time. Only one of the stories of this three storied structure stands to this day. Nothing much is known about the structural details of the other two ruined temples, but somehow a pinnacle of each of the two temples stands to this day. The fourth temple in the complex is a small Shiv temple, probably constructed at a much later date and cannot be considered as a historical structure.

But the star attraction of the temple complex is the Durga Mandir, which has remained remarkably intact for over 200 years. Maintained by the West Bengal State Archeology Department, the temple is approached by a three arched entrance way and with elaborate terracotta carvings on its front face. Above the arches, in the centre, lies the huge terracotta panel of Durga. This is probably the largest terracotta panel in the whole of West Bengal. It is flanked on the left by slightly smaller panels of Laxshmi & Ganesh and on the right by Sarswati & Kartik. Stucco work, in the form of temple, surrounds each of the five panels giving them a unique look. There are several other smaller terracotta panels all over the front surface of the temple.

Durga Panel, Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Durga Panel, Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Bidding good bye to the temples, retrace your steps back to the main road, where an octagonal Rashmancha greets you. Sadly the century old structure has been totally reconstructed into a modern structure resembling neither the beauty nor the grace of its former counterpart.

Shiv Kuthir, Bali Dewanganj

Shiv Kuthir, Bali Dewanganj

If you are still hungry for more you can walk along the main road towards Arambagh. You will soon come across the crumbling remains of a Rashmancha. Further 10 minutes down the road will bring you to the remains of a dilapidated temple on the right hand side of the road. Totally overgrown with trees the temple still contains a few intricately carved terracotta panels. A few minutes further down the road will bring you to a spectacular mansion with arched gateways and slender columns. Known as the Shiv Kuthir, the spectacular building has long been abandoned and roofs have caved in. The inside is overgrown with trees and totally inaccessible.

The crumbling temples and mansions of Bali – Dewanganj will definitely make you sad. But in spite of all odds the Durga Temple with its unique architecture and rich terracotta carvings are spectacular enough to turn Bali – Dewanganj into your next Sunday outing spot.


  • Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya

Links from my personal website:

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal