Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jadavpur, Kolkata, wears a deserted look on Nationwide Strike/ Bandh day

Jadavpur, Kolkata
The only plus side of stikes that I can think of, is the quiet roads.It was actually nice to find the roads quiet and empty for a change, it is difficult to move with so much of traffic on these roads on a normal day!

Not only us, I am quite sure the animals had a great day crossing the roads without praying for their lives!

It was the horse's day out! This horse and its owner certainly made the most of this bandh day, they could easily move around without having to navigate through traffic!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ugrasen ki Baoli, A stepwell in Delhi

Ugrasen ki Baoli
Baolis, also known as stepwells, were constructed in ancient times, to store water. Stepwells were actually built for travelers and local people who would come here for water, to take shelter, and rest and restore themselves.

Stepwells were the ideal refuge during the hot scorching summers! Just like a well that goes almost 3-4 floors below the ground. This baoli is just like that, from the top level, there are four floors, till you reach the water level. Baolis are of course much more decorative and extensive than wells. There must have some amount of decorative work on the walls when this baoli was at its element, not much of that remains now.

ASI information board
Entrance to the Baoli, Stepwell

Ugrasen ki Baoli is on Hailey Road near Connaught Place, Who would guess that right in the heart of the busiest part of the city, such a historic monument resides!

The ASI information board tells us that it was constructed by Raja Ugrasen, the forefather of the Agarwal community. The architectural features of the Baoli are similar to that of the late Tughlaq period.

Almost dwarfed by the sky scrapers around it, it stands out in stark contrast to the now modern structures around it. You can almost miss it. You come upon it suddenly, and you are like, wow!

Ariel view of the

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sufi music festival, Kolkata, February 2013

December, January, and February are the most happening months in Kolkata. The city is on a high, with music festivals, book fair, and a whole lot of other activities. After all, at Kolkata we only get to enjoy three months of winter and that is when the weather is at its best behaviour. Come summer almost everything wilts under the heat and humidity, and the city pretty much reaches its lowest low as far as festivals and fairs are concerned...I don't want to think of summers just now; even though winter is almost gone, I am still hanging on to it. I wish winter would stretch for six months at least.

Kolkata and music go hand in hand. I think a huge percentage of Kolkatans enjoy good music. I wonder why we don't have more bands playing in Kolkata.

Just like Baul music there is something deeply spiritual about Sufi music. A group of performers,who performed at the festival, are known as Manganiyars, and they are from Rajasthan. Some of the top Sufi performers performed at this festival.

The Dervishes who whirl round and round almost in a meditative trance, the spiritually uplifting music, combined with other folk songs, are indeed a treat for any music lover.

I fell in love with the song “Khwaja mere Khwaja” of Jodhaa Akbar. It does have Sufi influence and is such a wonderful song. I started exploring and getting to know about Sufi music after that.Thanks to A. R Rahman.

Here is a short video clip, taken by my husband, of one of the performances at the Sufi music festival.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's house in Howrah district, West Bengal

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's house
Around 1 and a half hour’s drive from Kolkata (50 kms), is Deulti in Howrah district of Kolkata. It is a quiet place, and a perfect getaway for a picnic or a day's outing.

Deulti is well-known for Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's house which is in a nearby village Samtaber.
Just across the house, a short distance away, flows Rupnarayan river.

I fell in love with the beautiful house, not only because it was where Sarat Chandra spent a lot of his time, but also because of the history of the place, and the serene and peaceful surroundings.

Some of his famous works, among many, are -
  • Parinita
  • Devdas
  • Srikanto
  • Choritrohin
  • Bordidi
  • Mej Didi

Entrance to the house
View from the house

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's house
Interiors of the house

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's
house interiors
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's
house interiors

A room to store

View of the house from
the courtyard
A spacious
veranda surrounds the house

Rupnarayan river
Rupnarayan river, Howrah
West Bengal

Green surroundings next
to Sarat Chndra Chattopadhyay's
A side view of the