Monday, August 03, 2009

Bengal

Gorgeous looking girls, delicious Shingoras (samosas), kurthas and the Ganga just about manage to obfuscate a state/people in a time-wrap.

The first time, I got a glimpse of the city proper, coming out of the M G Road metro station, I was like "you've got to be kidding me. this must be some 18th century movie set!". Probably in that disbelief, I forgot to take pictures of the streets. The other places I went also disallow photography. So not much to flaunt.





The temples above stand on the places where Vivekananda, Sarada Devi, Brahmananda and Ramakrisha were cremated.


Itinerary:

Friday: Flew into Kolkata. Took the metro and got down at M G Road. Walked all the way to Howrah savoring all sorts of street food. Went to a friend's wedding.

Saturday: Took the Ganadevata Express to Bolpur, some 140 kms away. Roamed all day in Shantiniketan.

Sunday: Spent the morning in the Ramakrishna Mutt. Took a ferry across the Ganga to Dakshineshwar and back. Went to the Indian Museum in the afternoon.

Notes:

1. Ate some citric fruit which only one of my Bengali friends has been able to identify, though not by name. Apparently his mother once scolded him for eating such junglee fruit!

2. Bengali Brahmins eating fish is a myth. They eat all animals!

3. Humans and auto-mobiles live in perfect smoky harmony. While men maintain the puff levels in buses, temples, ferries and trains, commies apparently have never heard of such things as emission control.

4. Its very depressing to see people smugly sit in a man-peddled cycle rickshaw without any apparent struggle of conscience. Thankfully I didn't come across a man-pulled rickshaw.

5. The Indian Museum has an amazing collection. Nearly all Indian schools of architecture have items on display. The 2nd century BC Sunga dynasty stone archway (brought from Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh in 1878) is awesome until you realize what is it doing here instead of being returned to Bharhut.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You did not go to La martiniere Hmmm
S

altered egos said...

Ah calcutta!! glad u made that trip. but i must say u missed the most vital part of calcutta balaji.. the place where the durga idols are made.. on the banks of the ganges. u have to see it to believe it. it is lovely to say the least. ppl in calcutta call it kumartuli (a caravan of potters!) and I call it home!

Balaji said...

yeah, I didn't see much of Kolkata. But Ganga, Shantiniketan and Belur top my list of Bengal and I'm glad I covered them.

i did see some pottery though. At Sriniketan, they train students in pottery, paper making, wood work etc.

Arun said...

Ah, just when I thot u stopped blogging...

Somehow Calcutta seems to have lost the charm/significance when cities are being talked about.

Refreshing to see amabassadors :) yellow sucks though..