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With more than 50 years of travelling about in India, one can share a good deal of information and experience about out-of-the-way places and roads less travelled. That can make visits all the more exciting and enjoyable.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Iran - some more views

Iran has attracted me for many years, on account of a sense of cultural proximity, some degree of linguistic affliation, and of course, historical interactions. But it was only in 2017 I was able to visit Iran with some friends but we had to get over the initial provblems of making out an itinerary, making foreign exchange remittance to make bookings, etc. Besides Tehran, we were able to visit the main cities like Shiraz, Isphahan, and lesser-known places - at least to the general tourist - of Yazd, Kashan and Qum.
These pictures (top two in Tehran) and bottom one in Shiraz) have been given to provide a glimpse about modern Iranian society and their interests and concerns: thety were as happy sitting in a garden or visiting a place of historical ietrest as any other.
The above pictre was taken at the Nisar-ul-Milk Mosque in Shiraz and shows an Iranian lady taking a photo of the stained glass window.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

The Bathing "Ghats" of Kolkata

The bathing "ghats" are part of the cultural tradition in Kolkata. Situated mostly on the eastern banks of the River Hooghly, itself a branch of the holy Ganges, the "ghats" or the steps leading to the river, at times with nice pavilions to shelter from the sun, go back nearly three hundred years. These sites are shown in several of the old maps. This one is from Upjohn's map of 1794, showing some of the "ghats" to the north of the present city.
The "ghats" are places where many people assemble for religious ceremonies on designated auspicious dates. A dip in the river is still considered to be part of a purification ritual. Many carry away a little bit of the river water to wash some part of their home or to use it for some household religious ritual.
Several of these "ghats" are linked up with the history of Kolkata, such as the Prinsep Ghat named after James Prisep, who first decoded the Brahmi script of Ashokan edicts, oe Babu Ghat, named after the husband of Rani Rashmoni, who in the mid 19th century had bested the British admnistration on several ccasions.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Dholavira - A Indus Valley Civilization site in India

The Indus Valley Civilization (or IVC for short) that grew up in the valley of the Indus River about five thousand years back, is well-known. Not so well-known is the fact that almost contemporaneously, sites similar to the well-known sites of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro also grew up in parts of Western India. One such site is Dholavira near the town of Bhuj in Gujarat. It is at some distnace of about 220 kilometres to the north of Bhuj and it takes about four hours to drive up each way.
The drive is quite pleasant especially in the morning in cold weather. The remarkable thing to be seen at Dholavira is the rain-water harvesting system with channels running down from the hillock down to the terraced water reservoirs at the bottom of the hillock, as may be seen in this picture. The Local museum of artefacts recovered during the archaeological excvations at Dholavira is also inetresting.

A look-in on Indian Wildlife and Tribal Life of Bastar

A couple of my artciles, one on wildife and the other on tribal life of Bastar have recently appeared. The first is in the e-magazine of Indian Wildlife Club, and the second in the site of MagikIndia. The respective links are provided belowfor those who wish to reead more -- https://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/ezine/view/details.aspx?aid=1244
Further notes on wildlife and Bastar have appeared in this Blog earlier.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Discovering Calcutta - A book now in Bengali

 There are many books on Calcutta in both English and Bengali. Some deal mostly with the history, some are about a few of the well-known families of the city, some are on the Bengali cuisine, etc.

There is now - thanks to Ananda Publishers - a book that takes the reader around in easy-paced walks to discover the city for oneself. 

This book, "Paye Paye Kolkata" (or, Walks in Calcutta) guides the reader along the main routes to see the city more fully, in its history, architecture, something of its social history, the eateries, and so many things. There are sections on old maps of Calcutta, the well-known sweet-meat shops, old paintings and lithographs, and so on.  The book is available at most retail outlets, or from the office of Messrs. Ananda Publishers.


Sunday, 25 October 2020

Would You Believe This?

 A chance search on Google showed this up. The good news is that this book, now considerably revised and enlarged, is now likely to be taken up for publication.  --  Prosenjit

Monday, 26 October 2020   https://www.telegraphindia.com/assets/images/blue_dot.png   E-paper

Home / West-bengal / Top 10 Books

Top 10 Books

Read more below

The Telegraph Online   |     |   Published 12.02.06, 12:00 AM

The Argumentative Indian (Amartya Sen)


10 Walks In Calcutta (Prosenjit Das Gupta)


The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma)


Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt)


Lonely Planet India (Sarina Singh)


Friday, 23 October 2020

Now's the time for Durga Puja and Dussehra

 The autumnal festivals of Durga Puja and Dussehra are widely celebrated in India. Durga Puja is held to mark the victory of the goddess Durga over the Mahishasura, or the buffalo demon. Durga is represented not only in highly decorated clay images, but also in stone sculptures in many temples throughout India. 

"Astabhuja" or eight-armed stone sculpture of Durga at Khiching, Odisha

Worship of goddess Durga in a West Bengal town

The autumnal festival is known and celebrated as Dussehra in most parts of North India. One of the most colourful Dussehra festivals is held in the Kulu region of Himachal Pradesh in India. Many of the local gods and goddesses worshiped in the villages are brought to Kulu on the occasion and there is a huge gathering of worshippers. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Orchids - Jewels of the Flower World

 Flowers of the orchid plants have some of the most interesting shapes and colours that one can find in the plant world. 

India has over 1200 orchid species growing in various parts of the country, out of which over 500 orchid species grow primarily in the Himalayan foothills at elevations of about 250 metres to about 2500 metres, and many of them in Northeastern India. Some of the best places to see orchids growing - some grow in autumn and many in spring and summer - is in in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal and in Sikkim, which is close by. 

Aerides odorata

Dendrobium nobile

Rhynchostylis retusa

Some of these, especially the Aerides species, or the well-known Vanda roxburghi or the Rhynchostylis retusa are able to tolerate a good deal of heat and can grow even in the plains of central India.  Many grow in Assam and in Arunachal Pradesh and other states of the Northeast.