Basilica of the Holy Rosary : Bandel , West Bengal

The advent of Portuguese merchants was significant in cultural mingling of east and west for the first time in Indian soil. It was 15th century when Portuguese ships under the leadership of Vasco da Gama reached the Malabar coast, thus landing in an unknown soil with an uncertain dream of positioning in Eastern markets. Soon they spread in to other coastal regions of India and oriented themselves strongly in Indian trade markets.

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Portuguese merchants arrived in Bengal when Mughal emperor Akbar was ruling Northern & Eastern India. Mughals granted a small village on the bank of river Hooghly for setting up of their trade & commerce hub in order to foster the dilapidated economy of Eastern India with rest of the world. Along with trading practices, the portuguese brought with them the flavour of cosmopolitan culture and the influence of Catholicism. The Indians living in the eastern part of the country were soon subjected to conversion to catholic christians.

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After years of formal petitions, captain Pedro Tavares & portuguese priests were granted the permission to build the basilica of holy rosary in the year 1599 by the Mughal dynasty. However, the first catholic church of eastern India were dismantled by the Muslim invaders from western India in 1632 and turned into mere ruins. The ruins can be still found in the eastern corner of the church campus. A new version of the church were built after several years in 1660 by the then viceroy, Gomez de soto.

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There are tales of many supernatural activities that are associated with this majestic 16th century structure. Once a merchant ship were miraculously rescued from the Bay of Bengal during a sea storm and it was quoted that the captain’s prayers while remembering the basilica acted as an incantation for rejuvenation of the drowning ship.

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One of the most interesting anecdote of this basilica is of the “Statue of our lady of happy voyage”. When the portuguese were attacked by the Muslims this statue was saved by a merchant named Tiago from the spice factory. But before he could have succeeded in restoring the statue in the village of Sutanuti on the other side of the river Hooghly, he was arrowed down in the middle of the river. After many years when the captured merchants were returning to Hooghly from prison, they recouped this statue at night in the river and came accross the revenance of the merchant Tiago, who asked them to reinstate the statue after building the ramshackled church.

Bandel church is one the most beautiful place to visit in the vicinity of Kolkata. It is located around 1 hour away from the Howrah station. The most easy way to reach here is by boarding the Howrah-Bandel local train from Howrah station and arriving at the Bandel station. After reaching the station, one has to take a three wheeler Auto-ricksaw to visit the church.

 

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Purana Qila : Gateway to Ancient Architecture

The mysterious boulevard of Purana Qila spreading over 300 acres of land with an archaic aura and manifold alleys clutches the ancient and medieval legacy of all the major Kingdoms of Indian sub-continent as well as mythical Indraprastha (capital city of Pandavas) dating back to 1500 B.C in a nutshell. It is been said that Purana Qila was the first ground that seeded the art of civilization in Delhi. Chronologically from the mighty Mauryans to majestic Mughals and in between imperious kingdoms of Guptas, Kushans, Slaves, Rajputs and Afghan Surs all had their citadels rooted in the arena, thus flagging the atavism of the land.

 

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Coming to the present scenario, the lasting fort inside the area was built by Sher Shah Suri, the greatest Afghan ruler of India who founded the invincible Sur empire in 15th century. Soon after his death the citadel and the adjacent erections were constructed by his successor, Islam Shah.

Before Sur empire, the area formed an important part of Din Pannah, the vibrant town founded by Mughal Emperor Humayun. After 1540, when Emperor Humayun was defeated and forced to exile, Sher Shah renamed the area to Shergarh.

 

dsc_0083                                                                       Bada Darwaza

 

MODERN HISTORY

After British India was split into India and Pakistan as a political ramification of Independence, many families were dislocated and sought shelter in Purana Qila and Humayun’s tomb which housed approx 120000 Muslim immigrants for 10 months till 1948 who were willing to move to new Islamic republic of Pakistan. In the late 20th century many renowned Indian theater schools like NSD , RV Media House started shooting historical short films inside the area.

 

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ARCHITECTURE

The most striking feature of the fort is the wall which encloses the entire area, wrapping it away from the modern spectrum of civilization. It has a height of 18 meters and a length of 1.5 km. There are three ingress gateways on different side of the wall namely – Bara Darwaza , Humayun’s Gate (South) Talaqi Gate (Forbidden gate). The wall is made up of red stone with a cubic finish like a brick , the gates are multi storeyed with huge towers on either side of the apex, designed with blue tiles and marbles.The balconies and pillars are resemblances of Rajput edifices of Jaipur.

 

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Below are the few forts that are still standing tall inside the antique premises :

QILA-I-KUHNA MOSQUE

This mosque was built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541 and it is an epitome of pre mughal architecture which is an almost extinct exemplar on North Indian soil. It was designed as a Jumma Masjid (for the purpose of friday prayers). The mosque has a single large prayer hall measuring 51 m x 15 m which multiple minarets and five arched prayer alcove on the inner craved wall. The four sides of the wall are filled with marble calligraphic inscriptions of different color signifying different times of the day. The second storey cater for the needs of female worshipers who used to pray on every friday and religious days. On the left side of the wall , a narrow passage leads to a small hall which was reserved for Sher Shah’s courtiers and members of royal family.

 

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dsc_0096                                                      Inside of Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque

 

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SHER MANDAL 

This is another example of stupendous Mughal architecture, which is of turkish origin. The construction was started during Babur’s reign but after his death and abrupt exile of Humayun, it remained incomplete until in late 16th century when Humayun again took over Delhi from Sur Empire. It is a multi storeyed octagonal tower of red sandstone built for the purpose of Humayun’s private library and observatory. The book selves inside the hall was of stone and marble finish decorated by Arabic inscriptions. This is the same place where Humayun’s fell off the stairs and died of internal injury.

 

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HOW TO REACH

Purana Qila is situated on Mathura road, just south of Pragati Maidan and beside the Delhi Zoo. One can take the metro rail up to Pragati Maidan or Khan Market. Auto ricksaw service is available from either of the metro stations. Ticket charges are Rs 5/- for Indians and an additional Rs 5/- for archaeological museum while tourists from different country are charged Rs 100 /-.

 

dsc_0104                                                                        Talaqi Darwaza

 

dsc_0103                                                                         Ruined baoli

 

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The city environed by hills : Ranchi

Ranchi – The city despite of being one of the most significant playground during Indian freedom struggle, popular educational destination and a embellish spot for nature lovers, never really caught words of encomium among the populace, may that be due to its occluded location in the east surrounded by Naxal infested areas or the malevolent administrative reputation that the state of Bihar (now Jharkhand) had earned during the later half of 20th century.

 

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Infiltrated by rocky terrains along the line of outskirts, inequitable distribution of natural vegetation and concrete labyrinth made the architecture of this city an unique one, typical of an urban hill station. One will be amazed to find out the crowded streets of the city center buzzing with chaotic bargains and quotidian gossips, yet few yards away those streets running into placid boulevard with barren plains on both side and sometimes interrupted by dwarf hills. The main mode of public transport in Ranchi is Auto-Ricksaw which runs from one part of the city to another covering almost every lanes and by lanes. Street food culture of Ranchi is delectable as in every street corner one will find stalls and box shops of typical North Indian snacks like Samosha , Litti , Kachaudi and Jalebi. While you are in Ranchi don’t miss to treat your tongue with taste of those cuisines.

Ranchi is blessed with plethora of tourist spots in and around its vicinity but the only downside is the location of those spots from the main city center and connectivity problem between each spot. Hence, I will recommend you to hire a private car once you are in Ranchi to take you around all the major destinations and don’t forget to bargain your best for the sake of your budget. Nevertheless, I have jot down the most important attractions of Ranchi in this post :

1) ROCK GARDEN 

The garden is built over Kanke dam in memory of the famous tribal revolutionist Birsa Munda and one will find the statuette of him in the ingress of the area. The excavation and architecture of the garden is similar to that of Emperor Jai Singh’s Rock Garden of Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is a classic imposition of artificial creativity on nature’s own freshness.

 

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dsc_0080                                               Statue of Birsa Munda at the entrance

 

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2) PAHARI MANDIR

Apart from having spiritual and mythical importance among the locals, it has revolutionary and political importance as well since raj era. The large tree beside the temple has seen demise of many Indian martyrs who were hanged by English officials as result of uprisings and plotting against the colonialism.

 

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The temple has 400 stairs with numbering on up to the main temple room which is located at an altitude of 2140 feet, one can see the entire Ranchi from the top most railings of the temple.

 

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It is dedicated to Lord Shankar Mahadeva and it attracts followers of shaivism from all over the country as well as women from all over the city visits the temple during Mahashivaratri , offering milk and flowers to the Shiv Lingam.

 

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Taking patriotism into consideration, Pahari Mandir had the largest Indian flag hoisted on this mother Earth. The flag weighed 60 kg with dimensions of 66 by 99 feet, the pole height was 293 feet. It was inaugurated by our Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar on 23rd January, 2016 (Birthday of Subhash Chandra Bose). However, it was brought down due to frequent maintenance and replacement problem.

 

3) JAGANNATH MANDIR 

Located 10 km away from the main city, the temple is beautifully built on a small hill encompassed by a windy and serene ambience, almost keeping itself away from the hustle of crowds. It was built by king of Barkagarh Jagannathpur in 1691. The temple is built of Dravidian architecture similar to famous Jagannath temple of Puri. The entrance of the temple is well shaded by a large tree to provide a small halt of repose to people coming from a long distance to visit the temple during auspicious Ratha Yatra festival.

 

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dsc_0124                     Ranchi cricket stadium view from the top of Jagannath temple

 

4) DEWRI MANDIR

This beautiful mythical edifice is not exactly located in Ranchi, it is almost 50 km away from the city in a small town called Tamar on NH 33. The Idol which is worshiped here is Goddess Durga made up of stone and uniquely featuring 16 hands instead of 8. Apart of Goddess Durga, the two acres religious premises also features stone idol of Lord Shiva. There are lots of incorporeal stories attached to the temple which are believed by the locals in a metaphysical state of mind. This is the only temple other than Khajuraho temple located in Madhya Pradesh, that tribal priests known as Pahans practices rituals along with Hindu Brahmins pandits.

 

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5) JONHA FALLS

Mellifluous raga of nature along with tribal carnivals makes this place a paradise where one might end up in a state of oblivion. This amazing fall is located in the outskirts of Ranchi with 40 km away from the main city, one may reach this place via train which runs locally from Ranchi junction to Jonha station and also via Ranchi – Purulia road.

 

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The simultaneous juxtaposition and break away of Gangu and Raru river resulted in the formation of Jonha falls which drifts through the orifice of Ranchi plateau. There are 722 steps which leads to the main view of the area. It is said that on his way to enlightenment, Gautama Buddha took rest near this very same falls with prior dedication to that event there is a temple and ashram dedicated to Lord Buddha built by Birlas. One can also enjoy the tribal fair which is organized on every full moon day.

 

6) HUNDRU FALLS

Having a similar build up course as that of Jonha Falls, it is yet another amazing tourist spot of Ranchi having a comfy pool and picnic spot as an addendum. It is the 34th highest waterfall of India with an altitude of 98 meters and circumference of 36 meters. It is an epitome of river rejuvenation, on the stream of Subarnarekha river. It is 45 km from Ranchi, located around 21 km from Ranchi – Purulia road.

 

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7) BIRSA ZOOLOGICAL PARK 

Though I am not a big fan of zoological gardens where animals are abducted from their natural livings and put inside a cage for amusement of people but this park is more like a wildlife asylum than a regular zoo where animals are allowed to move around freely within barricade. It is built on a huge area covering 100 of acres in a circular pathway and most importantly without violating the natural inhabitation of flora which adds a flavor of jungle. The narrow lanes running down in an inconsistent manner, calls for a perfect adventurous hangout.

 

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OTHER IMPORTANT MENTIONS:

  1. Tagore Hill
  2. Dassam Falls
  3. Deer Park
  4. Nakshatra Van
  5. Hirni Falls
  6. Kanke Dam

 

RENOWNED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES

  1. IIM Ranchi
  2. XISS
  3. BIT Mesra
  4. St. Xaviers College

 

So I hope you are ready now to pack your bag to spend some time in this city of rocky terrains and give your valuable feedback in the comment section below 🙂

 

 

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Durga Puja in “Bonedi” families of Kolkata : Photowalk

Behind all lustrous club pujas of Kolkata that attracts hoppers from all over India , there are still some family pujas that holds the orthodox Bengali culture firmly barricading the ever growing multicultural lust of Bengalis. These pujas don’t come up with social themes or captivating lightings yet the strong sense of emotional devotion among the members, the antique “thakur dalan” and vanity of royalty will mesmerize you and leave you with many question unanswered of lost glory. Lets take you to a trip of such Durga Pujas of Kolkata.

SOVABAZAR RAJBARI

It is considered as the most famous royal family puja of Kolkata dating back to 1757 when British empire was on the edge of establishing Bengal presidency. Raja Nabakrishna Deb was one of the table turner during Battle of Plassey  after which the complexion of Bengal changed forever and capital was shifted from Murshidabad to Kolkata. There are two Rajbari at 33 and 36 Raja Nabakrishna street each one of them was gifted to two sons of Raja Nabakrishna Deb.

 

dsc_0101                                                                     Sovabajar Rajbari

 

dsc_0017                                                                                                      Picture Courtesy – Oendrila Bhowmick

 

How to reach – The famous mansion is located very close to Sovabazar Sutanuti metro station. Just walk towards the Red Kali bari behind the gate number 1 of metro and take the first right turn.

 

CHATUBABU LATUBABUR THAKUR BARI

This 18th century mansion was once the play ground of trade relation between British India and America, which was then standing on the verge of gaining Independence from British and European Empire. The founder of this puja was Ramdulal Dey Sarkar and after that the tradition shifted to the hands of his two son Ashutosh Deb (Chatu babu) and Pramatha Nath Deb (Latu Babu). Currently, the historic pujas and other traditions are conducted by Ananth Nath Deb Trust.

 

dsc_0077                                                     Chatubabu Latubabu’s thakur bari

 

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How to reach – This 18th century palace is located in the street opposite of gate number 4 of Girish Park Metro connecting Nimtala ghat street.

 

MITRA BARIR PUJA (DARJIPARA)

It is very easy to walk pass this magnificent palace as the narrow ingress is overwhelmed by the contemporary concrete mess and political banners, layering the antique framework. Founder of this tradition is Durgacharan Mitra who was an entrepreneur and jeweler in Mughal court. After many years of family incongruity and financial instability , the tradition was reestablished by Radhakrishna Mitra after his successful business collaboration with the Dutches in early 19th century.

 

dsc_0091                                               Mitra Barir Pujo (Nilmoni Mitra Street)

 

dsc_0089                                                               Durga Idol of Mitra Bari

 

How to reach – It is located in Nilmani Mitra Street , very close to Beadon street. You have to take a right turn from Chatubabu Latubabu’s Thakur Bari and walk straight until you see the green board with “Nilmani Mitra street” . The mansion is located after 4 houses on the right.

 

MADAN MOHAN DUTTA BARIR PUJA

With ancestral roots in Andul, Howrah district , the family came to Kolkata during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign. Family were given a land in present day Fort Williams after Govindasharan Dutta became the most dependable person of Mughal Diwan , Todar Mal. However, they shifted from Fort Williams after British bought those lands to built some unfinished edifice of their East India Company.

 

dsc_0102                                                      Madan Mohan Dutta Barir Puja

 

dsc_0103                                                  Idol at Madan Mohan Dutta Barir Puja

 

How to reach – You can reach here from central avenue as well as from strand road. From central avenue, you have take the left turn towards Nimtala Ghat Street and reach a mosque located on the right side of the road , the lane passing by the mosque is Duttapara Lane which houses the Madan Mohan Dutta Bari. From Strand road you have take the immediate right turn just opposite of Nimtala ferri ghat.

 

HATHKHOLA DUTTA BARIR PUJA

This fortified puja was started by Jagataram Dutta in 1786 . Dutta family was very close to the British officials and the forefathers were employed in East India Company in various respective positions. They were very open hearted to the poor people of Kolkata in 18th century and hence derived the name “Hathkhola”.

 

dsc_0108                                                   Hathkhola Dutta Bari Thakur Dalan

 

dsc_0107                                                  Idol at Hathkhola Dutta Barir pujo

 

How to reach – Hathkhola Dutta Bari is located very close to the Madan Mohan Dutta bari , just 5 minutes driving straight towards Rabindra Sarani from Nimtala Ghat Street. The house will lie on the left side.

 

DURGA PUJA AT KHELAT GHOSH BHAWAN (PATHURIAGHATA)

Khelat Chandra Ghosh was a Diwan in the Imperial house of East India Company and apart from being the most loyal and trusted official of British Empire , he was one of such personalities of Calcutta who dared to take part in entrepreneurship despite of facing sturdy competition from European settlers of Calcutta. Khelat Bhawan is personally my favorite Bengali palatial edifice because of its stupendous European architecture with long corridors, antique pendant lamps along the ingress way, 6 feet high thakur dalan and lastly the soothing combination of green and white walls will put you through a lane of serenity and appease your eyes, away from the city cacophony.

 

dsc_0110                                                Entrance corridor of Khelat Bhawan

 

dsc_0111                                                    Khelat Bhawan Thakur Dalan

 

dsc_0119                                                            Idol at Khelat Ghosh Bari

 

How to reach – It is located near to the famous Paancher pally pujo of Rabindra sarani. The small yet historical street is called “Pathuriaghata street”.

 

BEHALA SABARNA ROYCHOUDHARY BARIR PUJA

There was a time when Majumdar family were the owner of Kalikata as per Jagirdari by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in early 17th century. After that, Laxmikanta Majumdar started the first organized and famous Durga Puja of South Bengal. British East India Company, took the lease of the 3 villages from Mughal Empire thus persuading the Roychoudhary family to abdicate the legal right on the city Kolkata. The title “Roychoudhary” was given to them by Sawai Man Singh of Amer who were one of those Rajput clans who had strong alliance with the Mughals.

 

sabarna_roy_chowdhury_durga_puja_dalan                                        Entrance of the Sabarna Roychoudhary’s puja

 

How to Reach – The place is far away from the main city of Kolkata. One has to reach Barisha, Sakherbajar (Behala) then hire a paddle ricksaw and him to drop you at the exact location of the puja. This is the very same place where I live 😀 .

 

DURGA PUJA AT JORASHANKO DAWN HOUSE

It was started by Gokul Krishna Dawn, a famous coal & metal entrepreneur of Calcutta in the year 1840. After that his son Shibkrishna Dawn and later his descendants continued the tradition. The idol is heavily decorated with jewelery and emerald stones which were imported from Europe in 19th century. Just few yards away there is another Dawn house which is called “choto bari” which was the segment of family from Narshimha Dawn.

 

gallery_photo-3d721915-25f6-46ce-8686-106ae22bec13                                                             Dawn house at Jorashanko

 

How to Reach – It is located on Rabindra Sarani , on the street called Kali Krishna Tagore street . From Kali Krishna Tagore street take a right turn towards a narrow lane called Shib Krishna Dawn Lane.

 

OTHER FAMOUS BONEDI PUJAS OF KOLKATA 

  1. Baishnab Das Mallick Barir Puja
  2. Bholanath Dutta Family Puja
  3. Bagbazar Halder Family Puja
  4. Rani Rashmoni’s Family Puja
  5. Nilmoni Sen’s Family Puja.

 

 

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Wayfaring souls of South park street cemetery

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“Life hurts a lot more than death”, if that is true then this place is an epitome of nirvana for bestowing peace upon human souls of bygone era. Located on the busy junction of Mother Teresa Sarani and AJC Bose Road, this huge cemetery containing 1600 graves is currently overshadowed by modern schools , office buildings and other governmental structures. Thus one has to enter the premises to experience the mesmerizing 18th century Indo-European architecture which was once the pattern of almost all the edifices of Calcutta.

 

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While India moved along with the pride of nationalism and vanity of its quest of development under a new sun, it left behind few glorious architectural remains of its politically infamous past which still serves as a speckle of the mingled modern history with European community and South Park Street Cemetery is one of those specimen which stills hoots the raj era of 200 centuries.

 

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Lets walk into the lane of flashback when Kolkata was Calcutta and Mother Teresa Sarani was Burial Ground Road.

It was the time when European merchants from England , France , Netherlands and Denmark were arriving in the new British presidency to advance their business links in South Asian soil as the demand of Asian goods in the West was at its apex. Slowly, Calcutta was getting embellished with the growing multiculturalism and concoction of east and the west. However, the living condition was still severe with a poor life expectancy due to widespread recurrent epidemics like cholera , malaria and small pox which were haunting the European people along with the Indians. The death rate began to increase at a massive rate which led the Governor of Bengal to build the South Park Street Cemetery in 1767 to reduce the pressure on the former Burial Ground in the city. Again, after few years another Burial ground was opened on the south east of the Lower Circular road just few yards away from the former two cemeteries and hence the road came to be known as Burial Ground Road.

 

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The cemetery was ceased to use in the early 19th century though the memorial tile at the entrance reads “Opened – 1767, Closed – 1790”. Many renowned Indian Christians like Henry Louis Vivian Derozio whose social reforms and poems indoctrinated Indian youths of 18th century to think pragmatically by abdicating prejudices and social bigotry.

 

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Founder of Calcutta , Job Charnock’s grave was in this very place until the ASI moved it to St. John’s Church after receiving recommendation letter from Asian Christian Academy.

Elijah Impey, the first chief justice of India who had his seat in the Imperial capital was entombed here in the year 1809. He was involved in the the most controversial trial of Maharaja Nandakumar which alienated him in the royal club.

 

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South Park Street Cemetery also contains the sepulchre of Sir William Jones , the founder of Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784 , a scholar of ancient India and he who proposed the relationship the theory of Indo-European languages. He started the famous anthropology journal “Asiatic Researches”.

 

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Some notable tombs that are worth mentioning :

  • Augustus Cleveland ( Diplomat of royal house)
  • Edward Cooke ( Captian of Royal Navy)
  • Robert Kyd ( one of the founder of Botanical garden)
  • Charles Stuart ( Also famously known as Hindoo stuart)

Some mysterious monuments

  • Dennison Monument , also known as the bleeding tomb because it is allegedly said that many security guards have noticed it to bleed at specific times of the year.
  • Spiritual tomb of the very beautiful lady , Rose Aylmer who died young of cholera.
  • The largest tomb in the premises is that of Elizabeth Barwell.
  • A grave with epitaph reads “A virtuous mother” and strangely not containing any details of the person.

 

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Architecture 

The architecture of this cemetery can be classified as Indo-Saracenic style with a touch gothic finish while the minarets and domes are of dravidian soapstone designed. The mixture of two different architectural work resemblance the enthusiasm of European merchants to settle in the Asian soil and cherish the preexisting culture of the new found land.

 

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How to reach 

It is Located at the junction of AJC Bose Road and Mother Teresa Sarani. If you are traveling by metro then take a straight long walk from Park street metro station towards the Park Hotel, after walking 10-15 minutes you will reach Assembly of God Church school (previously North Park Street Cemetery) which lies just vertically opposite of the Cemetery.

Tourists are allowed to take camera inside the premises but Indian people have to take prior permission from Christian Burial Board before photographing the premises.

 

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Don’t forget to visit this beautiful colonial mark while you are here in Kolkata.

 

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Gali Paranthe Wali : A lane made for Gourmets

DSC_0108                          This narrow lane in Old Delhi is called Gali Paranthe Wali

 

Gali Paranthe Wali” (Parantha lane) , a narrow lane running down in the busy streets of Chandni Chowk , so easy to overlook and walk into the never ending street dissonance of the area. Popularly known for its mouth watering Paranthas ( Indian stuffed bread) , Lassi (An Indian drink made of yogurt) and other typical North Indian street cuisines, it has climbed up in the ranking of top ten tourist places of Delhi over the few decades. But it is quite a task to trace down the epoch when this very crowded alley tethered itself with the pandemonium rhythm of Chandi Chowk and glory of Old Delhi.

Chandni Chowk was planned by the Mughal princess Jahanara begum , daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648. It is located towards the east of Red Fort, forming the main axis of Shajahanabad (Old Delhi). The Chowk previously was designed with alternate canals filled with waters of river Yamuna, sparkling like a silver ornament in moonlight. The canals are now closed but still it holds the top spot for most colorful shopping bazaar which includes almost everything that is required by people either to satisfy daily requirements or for the sake of flamboyant desires.

 

DSC_0112                                 This is where I had my lunch in Paranthe wali gali 😀

 

SO WHAT IS PARANTHA ?

Parantha is a form of bread which is served after been fried in ghee or cooking oil. It can be stuffed with different vegetables, meats or sweets as an addendum to give it a more appetizing finish. The name of the parantha changes in accordance with the stuffed ingredients inside it , for example :

  • Aloo Parantha (stuffed with boiled potato , fried onion and chili )
  • Gobi Parantha (stuffed with cabbage )
  • Paneer Parantha (stuffed with Paneer )
  • Sattu Parantha (stuffed with mashed pulses and cereals )

 

1f4ad20be09ae43203da93d8c326793f                              A typical Thali of Parantha with curries , pickles and starters

 

A Parantha can be eaten with pickles or thick Indian curries of vegetables or meat.It is generally more famous in North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, etc. It is considered as superior to Rotis as the former is usually prepared for guests.

PAST AND PRESENT OF THIS EPIC STREET

Parantha shops moved into this street in the decade of 1870s with the first shop of Pandit Gaya Prasad Paranthewala in 1872 but lackadaisical of present generation can be blamed for the shut down of the shop in 1970s. Pandit Dev Dayal’s shop which was established in 1889 still stands firmly , serving more than 20 varieties of Paranthas with most unique being the Rabri Parantha and Khoya Parantha for sweet tooths.

 

DSC_0104                                    Currently the owner is Pandit Babu Ram Devi Dayal

 

There were as many as 26 Parantha shops in 1960s while today there are only 4-6 left, though the exact reason of the exodus is uncertain but some valid reasons as pointed by a local Tea stall owner , Mushtaq Ali were :

  • It was a very prolific business back in early 20th century as the lane were crowded by British officials and their wives who used to love the Indian cuisines with thick curries and sweets. As a result many owners got rich and sent their kids for higher studies in the west from where they never came back to run their ancestral shop.
  • Because of the tight competition, many shops ran out of business with only the chosen ones kept ruling the lane.
  • In 1984 Sikh – Hindu riot, many shops were burnt down by the agitated mob as Old Delhi was the poll pit of antagonism which later proved out to be an assail to the egalitarian feature of India.

 

DSC_0114                             This is Kanhaiyalal Durga Prasad Dixit’s Parantha shop

 

Some major and famous Parantha shops which still runs today are :

  • Pandit Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit (estd 1886)
  • Pandit Dayanand Shivcharan (estd 1882)
  • Pandit Baburam Devi Dayal Paranthewala (estd 1889)

Apart from Paranthas , this lane is famous for its Lassi , which are served in beautiful medieval style earthen pots called Kulhars, Aloo ka lachha (spicy fried potatoes) and sweets like Barfi and Jalebis.

DSC_0111                                     Pandit Dayanand Shivcharan’s Parantha shop

 

After the Independence of India, then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru , Vijay Laxmi Pandit and Indira Gandhi were regular guests of this lane. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar used to live in the area many years back. The food is strictly vegetarian as the owners are Brahmins and their regular customers include Jain community some unique and exotic fillings used in making the Paranthas are Kaju , Badam , Malai , Gobhi , Matar , Khoya , Paneer , Dahi , Rabri , Mirchi , Mixed , etc.

 

DSC_0115 This is my share of Gobhi Parantha , Pickles , Aloo dum , Mixed Sabzi and Dhaniya chatni

 

DSC_0116                                                                 Lassi served in Kulhars

 

Need not worry if you are hardcore Non-vegetarian , just few yards away there is Karim’s hotel just opposite of Jama Masjid which serves Mughal dishes till date , the recipes came to India from Turkey and Central Asia along with the dynasty . Some of their special menus are Mutton Burra , mutton Raan , Sheekh Kebabs , Shammi Kebabs , Chicken Tikka , Keema Parantha , Tandoori Bakra , Badam Pasanda , etc. It was established in 1913 and currently it has branches all over Delhi.

 

So are you ready to become a Glutton before visiting Delhi ? 😉

 

 

Thank you for visiting Serial Globetrotter , keep following for more posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medieval Delhi in a Nutshell : Jama Masjid

DSC_0043                                                                 Front view of Jama Masjid

 

The very first time I saw this captivating mosque of medieval period was in the bollywood movie “Delhi 6”. The song “Arziyan” covertly juxtaposed the spirituality and divine fidelity of common people living under the overwhelming shadow of Jama Masjid. Apart from serving as holy place for Muslims for nearly five centuries , it is the demographical yardstick  of Delhi with majority of elite Muslim families lives around the area of Chawri Bazar and Chandni chowk of Old Delhi. Though it Stands tall in the chaotic streets of Chawri Bazar with disturbing cacophony of human activities yet it is well protected from echoes of outside world, bestowing upon the visitors a shade of contentment and ample space for prayers and concentration.

DSC_0036                                                                Entrance of Jama Masjid

 

History 

Jama Masjid was built by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1644 AD after he shifted his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad. It took 5000 workers and almost 10 years to built this mosque under supervision of then Wazir of Mughal sultanate , Saadullah Khan. The mosque was inaugurated by Imam Bukhari from Uzbekistan in 1656 AD. Total cost incurred to built the mosque was 1 million during that time.  Being the largest mosque in India , the prayer hall can accommodate more than 25000 people at a time. It attracts more than 50,000 people from all over the world during Eid-ul-Fitr every year. The name “Jama” comes from “Jumma” which means Friday in Arabic.

 

DSC_0034                                       Main entrance of Jama Masjid built in Turkish style

 

Architecture 

The entrance to the mosque is served though three gates in different direction – North , South and East. The northern gate , southern gate and eastern gate has 39 , 33 and 35 steps respectively . It has 4 towers and two minarets of 40 m height built of luscious red sandstone and white marbles imported from Persia. Tourists are allowed to enter through the southern gate on weekdays while the eastern gate which was used by the Emperors remain closed.

 

DSC_0040                                      Large corridors surrounding the main prayer hall

 

There are large corridors around the cornered premises of the mosque which on normal day serves as the resting place for visitors , fakirs and tourists coming from different countries , however during holy festivals the corridors are used to accommodate large number of people visiting for prayers. There is a large dome centered within the two minaret consisting of 130 steps and 5 storeys . The first 3 storeys are built of red sandstone while the rest 2 is built of white marbles. The inner arches , halls and surrounding monuments are filled with persian and arabic scripts and calligraphy.

 

DSC_0061                                                              Inner arches of Jama Masjid

 

The floor design of the mosque is made up of Black and White ornamented marbles with a black boundary running on all the sides of the square pattern. There was a Madrasa in the southern side which was destroyed by British soldiers after capturing Bahadur Shah II during 1857 revolt. Dimension of the mosque is 261 x 90 feet while the prayer hall is 61 x 27.5 meter. On the northern gate there are various quotes from Quran written on deer skin.

 

DSC_0063                                                               Inscription on northern wall

 

Facts of Jama Masjid

  • British Army confiscated the mosque after wining the 1857 revolt and threatened to destroy the edifice as a ramification of revolting against them but due to various protests the destruction order was withdrawn.
  • In 2006 , there were two huge explosion in the mosque premises after the friday prayer in which 8 people were injured . In 2010 again two gun men shot at few Taiwanese tourists outside the mosque.
  • Few years back , Saudi Arabian King Abdullah wanted to donate money for repairing northern side of the edifice.

 

How to Reach 

The direct metro station for jama masjid is still under construction on the violet line. You have to take the yellow line and reach Chawri Bazar station, outside the station there are numerous Auto ricksaw going to Jama Masjid directly at Rs 5 / 10 on sharing basis.

 

DSC_0039

 

 

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