Rangan Datta, Freelance Travel Writer & Photographer
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Frazerganj, Bakkhali & Henry's Island Frazerganj, Bakkhali & Henry's Island
On the Western edge of Sundarban lies the three Beach Resort of Frazerganj, Bakkhali & Henry's Island. Located about 140 km from Calcutta (Kolkata) Frazerganj, Bakkhali & Henry's Island are favourite weekend destination for Calcuttans.

The history of Frazerganj dates back a century ago when Andrew Frazer the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal (1903 - 1908) fell in love with a small stretch of beach at the Western edge of Sundarban, at the village of Narayanitala. He built a bunglow, complete with coconut grove, which became a talking point of English men in Calcutta. But sadly Frazer's dream of turning Narayanitala into a beach resort was never fulfilled. His bunglow was soon abandoned and has long been swallowed up by the sea. So apart from the Anglican name nothing remains of Frazerganj's colonial past.

Bakkhali located 4 km from Frazerganj is a ideal place to spent the night as it has several hotels. But no trip to Bakkhili is complete with out a visit to Frazerganj Harbour & Henry's Island.

Henry's Island is the latest addition to the Bakkhali tourist map. West Bengal Fisheries Development Corporation runs two Resort, Mangrove & Sundari, at Henry's Island. The Kiran Beach of Henry's Island is spectacular and provides an interesting mix of beach & mangrove.
Ronald Ross' Memorial, Calcutta (Kolkata) Ronald Ross' Memorial, Calcutta (Kolkata)
“It’s strange,” she said. “I’ve changed buses here hundreds of times. I can’t even begin to count how often I’ve walked past this wall. But I’ve never noticed that inscription up there.” this words are said by Urmila one of the major character of Amitava Ghosh's novel The Calcutta Chorosome.

Urmila, who happens to be a journalist, in Ghosh's best selling novel was not aware of the Ross Memorial. But Ghosh's Urmila is no exception great many of the Calcuttans are not aware of the memorial dedicated to Ronald Ross, Calcutta's first Nobel Laureate.

Located on the Western wall of the Presidency General (PG) Hospital, lies a arch shaped memorial dedicated to Ronald Ross, Nobel Prize winner of Medicine in 1902.

Ronald Ross (1857 - 1932) studied malaria from 1881 to 1899. Finally on 1899 Ross, working at the PG hospital discovered that malaria was caused by anopheles mosquito.

Sadly the culturally active Calcuttans have forgotten Ross and his memorial lies in utter neglect.
St. John's Church, Calcutta (Kolkata) St. John's Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Located at the North - Western corner of the Governor House (Raj Bhavan) lies the St. John's Church. Built in 1787 St. John's Church is the third oldest church in Calcutta (Kolkata) only next to the Armenian and the Old Mission Church. St. John's Church served as the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta (Kolkata) till 1847 when it was transferred to St. Paul's Cathedral.

Built by architect James Agh the St. John's church is built with a combination of brick and stone and was commonly known as the "Pathure Girja" (Stone Church).

The St. John's Church contains beautiful marble bass relief work. wood curving, stain glass and paintings including Joffani's famous Last Supper.

The St. John's Church compound also contains several other monuments including Job Charnock's Tomb, The controversial Black Hole Monument,Rohila War Memorial and several graves including that of Lady Canning.
Kumortuli Kumortuli
Kumartuli (or Kumortuli) literally meaning Potters' Quarter (Kumor = Potter, Tuli = Quarter) is located at the northern end of the city of Calcutta (Kolkata). Kumartuli (Kumortuli) is older than Calcutta (Kolkata)and consist of amazing maze of lanes & by lanes some less than 2 feet across.

Kumartuli (Kumortuli) specialises in clay idol making and from the month of August Kumartuli (Kumortuli) starts gearing up the Bengali's greatest festival the Durga Pujo, which is normally held in mid October.

A visit to Kumartuli (Kumortuli) during the period of August - October can provide amazing activity, with the artist working round the clock on images of Durga and her children.
Mosaic Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral. Small pieces, normally roughly cubic, of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae, (diminutive tessellae), are used to create a pattern or picture.

The earliest example of Mosaic dating back to the 3rd millennium BC was found in Mesopotamia. It later spread to the regions around the Mediterranean. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mainly an Islamic & Christian form of art. Mosaics cover the floors, walls and even the ceilings of Churches & Mosques. Other religions are quick to adopt the art, and Mosaic can be found in abundance in other religious structures.

The Photos in the album are from:
Jain Temple, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Red Fort, Delhi
St. John's Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Bandel Bandel
Today Bandel, is a busy industrial town, connected by rail from Howrah (39 km) and Sealdah (46km). Bandel is an old Portuguese settlement and houses the oldest church in Bengal. Built in 1599 the church has gone through several extension & renovation and nothing much remains of its past.

A little away from the Bandel lies the Hooghly Imambara. Imambara literally means the residence of the Imam, but In the Indian subcontinent, the word stands for a house or an assembly hall built by the Shiites for observing Muharram. Build in the memory of the great philanthropist Hazi Muhammad Mohsin, the imposing structure was took 20 years to build and was completed in 1861.
Guptipara Guptipara
Located 75 km from Howrah on the Bandel – Katwa rail line Guptipara is an interesting mixture of history and culture.

Guptipara is the home of Bengal's first community Durga Pujo and the first branded Bengali sweet (Gupo Sandesh). Guptipara is birth – place of legendary folk singer Bhola Moira and last but not least a fantastic Terracotta Temple.

The temple complex at Guptipara houses four Vaishnava Temples, namely Chaitanya, Brindabanchandra, Ramchandra and Krishnachandra. Out of which Ramchandra Temples contain some fantastic terracotta works.

Guptipara was a citadel of Vaishnavite culture. Even today, residents observe Ras, Dol and Rath with great enthusiasm. Rath – jatra is Guptipara’s greatest festival. The Guptipara rath, one of the tallest in West Bengal, is said to cover the second longest distance (Only next to Puri). On the day before the Ultorath a festival known as Bhandarloot is observed in Guptipara.
Sukharia Sukharia
Sukharia, a non – descriptive village between the railway stations of Balagarh & Somra Bazar on the Bandel - Katwa line. Sukharia has the distinction of housing some of the finest temple architecture of Bengal.

Sadly most of the temples are in an utter state of neglect and are on the verge of collapsing. A few have been rebuilt into modern structure, which neither represents the grace or beauty of their historic counterparts.

But in spite of all odds Sukharia can provide an interesting insight into the diversified aspect of Bengal’s temple architecture.

The 25 pinnacled Ananda Bhairabi Temple is the prime attraction of Sukharia. Hara Sundari Mandir,Siddeshwari Kali Tempe and Nistarini Temple are the other main temples of Sukharia.

Apart from the temples Sukahria is the lunching pad for the popular picnic spot of Sabuj Deep (Green Island). Boats are available from Sukharia for Sabuj Deep, a river island located at the middle of the Hooghly River.
Dasghara Dasghara
Dasghara is a non - descriptive village 12 km north of Tarakeshwar in the Hooghly District of West Bengal.

The history of Dasghara dates back to the 18th century. It was during this time the Biswas family of Dasghara constructed several temples including Rashmancha & Dolmancha and last but not the least a huge mansion.

The oldest of these temples is the Gopinath Temple. Built by Sadnada Biswas the Gopinath temple has the distinction of housing some of most preserved terracotta panels in whole of West Bengal.

The architectural wonder of Dasghara is not complete with out contribution of Bipinkrishna Roy, the stevedore of Calcutta Port.

His huge mansion with its towering clock tower, Raj Bhavan styled arched gateway and European style landscape garden with marble statues stands (although in ruins)to this day reminding one of the glourious days of Dasghara.
Bowali Bowali
Bowali is a non - descript village near the industrial town of Budge - Budge in 24 Parganas (South), West Bengal. Today Bowali is well connected from Amtala on The Diamond Harbour Road.

From the late 18th century to the mid of 19th century several temples were constructed by the Mondal's of Bowali turning the non descriptive village into a temple town. Apart from the massive temples the Mondals of Bowali also constructed several mansions in European style turning the village into an interesting architectural mix.

Sadly most of the temples of Bowali didn't survive the test of time. Human neglect and forces of nature have reduced most of this age old temple to dust. A few which have miraculously survived the test of time are on the verge of collapse.

Even today the Naba Ratna (nine - spired) Gopinath Temple still stands and so does the Jal Tungi (water folly), a strange octagonal structure located at a centre of a pond, where the Mondals once enjoyed the cool breeze.
Durga Pujo Durga Pujo
Durga Pujo, also referred to as Durgotsab, is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the five days observed as Shashthi , Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and Bijoya Dashami.

Durga Pujo is widely celebrated in Eastern India and especially in the state of West Bengal. Not only it is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but it is also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society.

Durga Puja also includes the worships of Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartikeya. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals, and artistically depicted idols of Durga, exchange of Bijoya Greetings and publication of Puja Annuals. (Source: Wikipedia)
Selective Colouring Selective Colouring
Selective Colouring is a post processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color. This is usually achieved by using layers and masks in photo editing software like Photoshop.
(Source: Wikipedia)
Lightning Lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms.The bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s (130,000 mph), and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F).

How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate. Ice inside a cloud is thought to be a key element in lightning development, and may cause a forcible separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud, thus assisting in the formation of lightning.

The study or science of lightning is called fulminology, and someone who studies lightning is referred to as a fulminologist. (Source: Wikipedia)

The photos of these albums are taken during the Nor wester in Calcutta (Kolkata).

Eid Nawaz, Red Road, Calcutta (Kolkata) Eid Nawaz, Red Road, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Eid ul - Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Typically, Muslims wake up relatively late in the morning—always after sunrise and have a small breakfast (as a sign of not being on a fast on that day) of preferably date fruit, before attending a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes (new if possible) for the occasion. Common greetings during this holiday is the Arabic greeting of "Id Mmubarak." (Source: Wikipedia)

"Islam has always been an urban faith, ..... its civilizations has always flourished most successfully in the labyrinths of the ancient bazar towns of the East. Certainly there can be no doubt that Islam looks at its most impressive in a great cathedral mosque, especially on the occasion of Id (or Eid)." (Source: City of Djinns by William Dalrymple.)

Sadly in Calcutta (Kolkata) the Eid Prayer (or Namaz) are not held at the cathedral mosque of Nakhoda Masjid. The Eid Nawaz is held at the Red Road, and its no less a spectacle.
All Souls' Day All Souls' Day
All Souls' Day is a day when Christian remember their friends & relatives, who have passed away. This comes from an ancient belief that the souls of the dead will return, on this particular day, to have a meal with their family & friends. Candles are lit to guide the souls to their home for the meal.

These photos were taken in the Bhawnipur Cemetery, Calcutta (Kolkata) on All Soul's Day on 2nd November 2008 and 09.
Chinese New Year, Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinese New Year, Calcutta (Kolkata)
The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to to 1780s when a trader named Tong Achew set up his sugar factory near present day Budge-Budge. The place today is known as Achipur, after Tong Achew.

The Chinese soon deserted Achipur and are presently settled in Tangra & Territi Bazar regions of Calcutta.

The Calcutta Chinese community celebrates the Chinese New Year in traditional way complete with dragon & lion dances at Tangra & Territi Bazar.

Celebrations are held at Achipur on the two Sundays after the Chinese New Year, with the entire Chinese community of Calcutta merging at Achipur.

Candles are lit in the Chinese Temple housing the deity of Khuda & Khudi. All sorts of things such as fruits, wine and whole roasted pigs are offered as offering.

Also candles are light at the horse - shoe shaped grave of Achew, which overlooks the Hooghly.
Calcutta Architecture Calcutta Architecture
On August 24, 1690 an ambitious trader, Job Charnock, of the British East India Company landed in the village of Sutanuti (present day North Calcutta) never to return. Although Charnock died two years later, but he combined the three villages of Sutanuti, Govindopur & Kolikata to form the city of Calcutta.

Within a hundred years Calcutta came to be known as the "City of Palaces" and later on went on to become the second city of the mighty British Empire.

Although many of the palaces didn't survive the test of time but many still remains remainding one of the glourious days of the city.

Even today one can walk walk past long flight of stairs, under projected portico and through arched gateways in the shadows of towering spires & clock towers.

In this album I have tried to bring forward the Colonial heritage of our very own Calcutta (Kolkata).

Portrait Photography Portrait Photography
Portrait photography or portraiture is the capture (by means of photography) of the likeness of a person, in which the face and expression is predominant. The objective is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is the person's face, although the entire body and the background may be included. A portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the camera.

Unlike many other photography styles, the subjects of portrait photography are often non-professional models. Family portraits commemorating special occasions, such as graduations or weddings, may be professionally produced or may be vernacular and are most often intended for private viewing rather than for public exhibition.

However, many portraits are created for public display ranging from fine art portraiture, to commercial portraiture such as might be used to illustrate a company's annual report, to promotional portraiture such a might be found on a book jacket showing the author of the book. (Source: Wikipedia)

In this album I have tried to capture the portraiture of non - professional models. especially during festival times and tried to capture the festive mood from the facial expression.
Everest Base Camp Trek Everest Base Camp Trek
Known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Chomolungma in Tibet, but to the rest of the world it is Mt. Everest and the mountain needs no introduction. Standing at the foot of the mightiest mountain of the world is the ultimate pilgrimage for a trekker. Don’t worry you need not climb a mountains to reach the base of Everest; a sturdy pair of legs and the spirit of adventure are enough to take you up there.

The nine day (one way) trek from Lukla to the Everest Base Camp takes one through one of the most spectacular landscapes of the world.

The treks offers an interesting mix of lush green forest & rolling meadows, swift flowing rivers & slow moving glaciers and all these under the eternal snow peaks of the Himalayas.
Jammu & Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir
Kashmir is famous for its four distinctive seasons, each with its own peculiar character and charm.

Spring sees a million blossoms turning the ground into a riot of colours.

In summer the entire valley turns into a mosaic of varying shades of green.

In autumn the green turns into gold and finally to rustic red.

In winter the landscape turns bare only to be covered with the white mantle of the first snowfall.

I reached Srinagar when the snow was yet to come. The skies were overcast and the bare ground below was waiting for the first snowfall.

Gulmarg possessed a different picture. The entire region was covered with snow with icicle hanging from the roof tops.

Patnitop had a similar sight with its rolling meadows with only patches of snow.
Terracotta Wonders Terracotta Wonders
If you "Google" Terracotta the first few pages will fill up with entries of the "Chinese Terracotta Warriors."

But Bengal (Bangladesh & The Indian state of West Bengal) houses a unique art of terracotta carvings. Most of the Bnegal temples built during the early 18th to mid 19th century contains beautiful terracotta panels on the outer surface.
In some case every square inch of frontal surface of temples are covered with intricate terracotta carvings.

And each of these panels do tell a tale. They contains stories of love & war, trade & commerce, royal procession & courts, epics & mythology and last but not the least scenes of day to day life.

But sadly this century old work of art is hardly known to the rest of the world.
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Although archeologist claim that the settlement around Delhi dates back far beyond the days of Christ but it was only during the Medieval era that Delhi begins to take on shades of a city.

Over the centuries Delhi several rulers have developed their very own citadel in different parts of Delhi, which together give rise to the modern day city of Delhi, or rather New Delhi. Seven such citadels can be traced. The seven cities of Delhi are:

First City: Lal Kot (Qila Rai Pithora) by Prithviraj Chauhan.

Second City: Siri by Alauddin Khalji.

Third City: Tughluqabad by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq.

Fourth City: Jahanpanah by Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Fifth City: Firozabad by Firoz Shah Tughluq.

Sixth City: Dinpanah / Purana Qila by Sher Shah / Humayun.

Seventh City: Shahjahanabad by Shah Jahan.

Delhi remained the axis of Mughal empire until the revolt of 1857 and became the capital of British India in 1911. Today it is the capital of modern India and is an interesting mix of old & new architecture.
 
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Boronti Konark Ballal Dhipi Annapura Base Camp