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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi

Keeping with my promise to post more scenes of 'Indurbanity', here's

Amar Sonar Kolkata -- "Our Golden Kolkata"

..from photos I've collected over the last several months. I initially feared overexposure of the subject (Suncity beat me to a Kolkata thread :D), but I realized that this Kolkata is rarely covered outside a hackneyed Mother Teresa-esque dickensen streotype of the city. Also, Suncity's thread is a great introduction and orientation to the city whereas I'm going for the goal of capturing the city's character and life. Be sure to check his brilliant thread out, first.

Anyway, introductions first. Kolkata (English name formerly Calcutta), is the capital of West Bengal state in India. Originally founded by the British, it was the intellectual and the political capital of India before New Delhi. Even today, Kolkata is the focal point of modern Indian art, literature and independant media. Bookstores, small as a street vendor's cart or large as a warehouse, are on every block. The permiating intellectual nature of the city is so that even the most uneducated taxi driver can hold you in deep theological discourse as he drives you to the touristy.


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Some Kolkata Aerials


^ Looking towards the river over old Kolkata


^ Over the many bungalows that make up the city. I like this pic because you can actually see the Monsoon rain creep toward the foreground.


^ The aftermath of such a downpour. Kolkata is not far from Cherrapunji, the wettest place on this planet, and torrential rain is as much a fact of life as Kolkata's communists or books.


^ The city is situated in the delta of the confluence of the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, and many of its tributaries (ex: the Hoogley) run through the city


^ Kolkata, like all Indian cities, is experiencing a construction boom of new towers. Not only are tall apartment and s&g buildings becoming the new norm, but the many magnificent older buildings Kolkata are slowly being restored to their glory


^ Part of the skyline of the city, viewed from the Strand.


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Kolkata Bridges


^ The rivers of Kolkata are spanned by a large number of bridges. Here is the Vidyasagar Setu bridge.


^ The venerable Howrah Bridge, a national monument.


^ Vivekananda Setu Bridge, named after one of Kolkata's numerous luminant personalities and freedom fighters, Swami Vivekananda.


^ Many barges and ferries also are used to connect the bustling city.


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Kolkata landmarks


^ The General Post Office ("G.P.O.") was built in 1864 on the old British fort. You can see its famous dome, clock and its beautiful pillars.


^ The Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, constructed in 1855, is a magnificent example of late Bengali temple architecture. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali, much venerated in Bengal. Bengal's famous saint Ramakrishna used to meditate here.


^ Science City Museum is a large Children's science museum and gardens. It's a field trip must for schoolchildren of the city. Here you see the auditorium.


^ Science City's Evolution Theater, where, I assume, scientific-related drama is held.


^ Another view, showing some of the gardens. I've heard that some of the vines and plants in this garden can grow up to a foot a day.


^ The Science Museum's Space Theatre.


^ The recently restored, and aptly named, Writer's Building orignally housed some of the vast armies of Indian clerks and bureaucrats that managed the day-to-day workings of the British Indian Empire. Constructed in 1780, it is a prime example of Indian-Gothic fusion architecture, and currently preserves all records and important documents of the Government of West Bengal from 1834 onwards.


^ Kolkata's Indian Museum, founded in 1814 in the Asiatic Society, is one of the preeminant history museums of in the world. It boasts a matchless collection of ancient artifacts and relics going back to Harappan times.


^ A collection of official-looking government office buildings on the banks of the Ganga. I'm not sure what the exact names are.


^ The Ultadanga Jain Temple somehow gleams, though made of stone brick


^ The awesome Victoria Memorial Museum is the focal point of Kolkata city. Built of solid marble between 1906 and 1921, it is one of the finest examples of monumental Raj architecture in India.


^ The monument, surrounded by beautiful gardens, is among the finest example of Indo-Saracenic (Indo-British fusion) archiecture in the world as well. It is now a museum, containing a priceless collection of paintings, manuscripts, and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery


^ The Maiden, located adjenct to the Victoria Memorial, is a large park in the cultural center of the city, next to the Birla Planetarium, the St. Paul's Cathedral, Academy of Fine Arts, the Rabindra Sadan with its superb auditorium and fountains, Nandan Complex stand, etc.... Originally intended as a ground to test-fire the guns of the Fort William, it is now a popular haven of tranquility and respite from the busy city.


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Continued Below
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
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Continued From Above
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Kolkata Suburbs


^ Kolkata is surrounded by lush suburbs


^ Here you see a historic village center around a central pond


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Kolkata Street Scenes


^ Kolkata is a bustling city with a unique character all its own. Older colonial buildings make up so much of this city that it is said to be the largest singe collection of victorian architecture in the world.


^ The buildings have languished for years, monsoon rains pounding their facades to crumble. The sheer force of the dounpours washes the paint away, even after expensive yearly re-paintings, so that after time their vexed landlords and occupants hardly bothered to repaint them any more, giving them a famous run-down look not accurately depicting the otherwise decent state of these buildings.

The monsoon also plays havoc with the tar roads of the city. Here you can see some of the original brick streets exposed, older technology seemingly able to better weather the elements.


^ Thanfully, modern technology (paints that latch on to the old material) is having success as well, and greater civic awareness are contributing to the restoration of these structures. Re-beautifying this gorgeous city once again.


^ An impromptu rangoli (colored dye) display outside someone's home on Indian Independance Day. Kolkata was the center of the Indian Independance Movement.


^ Indians, and especially Kolkatans, are derilously obsessed with cricket. From young playing in the street...


^ ...to old, here at Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium, the largest in the world.


^ New Market (red building), though you couldn't have guessed from the outside view, is one of Kolkata's best shopping centers. The original building, opened in 1874, was known as the Hogg Market, after the commissioner, Sir Stuart Hogg. It holds over 2,000 stalls, arrainged by type of goods. Plans will soon be undertaken to restore the buildings of this district.


^ This bustling city is busy 24/7/365. Though often a title claimed by every other city and sunder, Kolkata remains one of the few truely 24 hour cities in the world, with a vigorous pedestrian bustle on downtown streets at 3am that other cities would kill to have at their peak shopping hours.


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Kolkata at Night


^ Some more night scenes. Here is Shakespeare Sarani road. Fitting in with the obsessively literary nature of the city and its inhabitants, many of its roads are named after famous Indian and world authors.


^ Many downtown Kolkata streets have a unique street and building lighting decoration.


^ It's fast becoming popular in the ever widening bubble of the rennovated and rejuvinated city.


^ Kolkata's ubiquitous Ambassador taxicab can find business at all times of night


I'll leave all you with two shots of this never sleeping golden city:





Hope you liked
Cheers,
Jai :cheers1:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys :)

Hopefully this more REALISITC and representative capture of India will go against some of the borderline trolling threads posted in this forum.
 

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Jai said:
Thanks guys :)

Hopefully this more REALISITC and representative capture of India will go against some of the borderline trolling threads posted in this forum.
Very nice collection Jai!
 
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Very good pics , Jai
Hopefully people will realise this is REAL India . Neither are they hiding the face with only morphed high quality pics of the riches & affluent pockets of India nor does it capture pictures of slums which seems to be few people's obsession .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think the guy was trying to show all of British India, which the Independance movemennt and Indian National Army's leader, Kolkata's own Subash Chandra Bose, shown in the painting against the pole, fought for. The artist also included unpatitioned Bangladesh and most of Pakistan. IIRC SL got its independance a year or so after the rest of British India. Pakistan/Bangla and India got their independance at virtually the same time.
 

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Kolkata is supposedly the center for the most interllectual people in India. I hear lot of artists, writers and philosphers live there, and lots of cafes full of intellectuals discussing profound issues. Also the biggest book market exist here too. I did not get to stay there for too long, but I would love to visit it again.
 

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Jai said:
I think the guy was trying to show all of British India, which the Independance movemennt and Indian National Army's leader, Kolkata's own Subash Chandra Bose, shown in the painting against the pole, fought for. The artist also included unpatitioned Bangladesh and most of Pakistan. IIRC SL got its independance a year or so after the rest of British India. Pakistan/Bangla and India got their independance at virtually the same time.
That's a celebration of Netaji's Birthday - 23rd Jan - 3 days before 26th Jan (Republic day). The map probably shows the INA version (pre independence). The best answer can be given by the original person.
 

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soulkorea said:
Kolkata is supposedly the center for the most interllectual people in India. I hear lot of artists, writers and philosphers live there, and lots of cafes full of intellectuals discussing profound issues. Also the biggest book market exist here too. I did not get to stay there for too long, but I would love to visit it again.
It's considered the cultural centre of India. Some of India's best movies are made in Kolkata. A poor city but a city with a heart. 4 Nobel prize winners, 1 Oscar winner, a Grammy winner, an olympic medal winner - quite an achievement for a city that has suffered so much from famines, wars, riots and millions of refugee influx. But it seems to have shed the tragedies and is on its way to turn to corner!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's a testament to the Kolkatans' innate artistry that they managed to be India's cultural leaders even in such a stifiling political enviroment.
 

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Excellent pics Jai! :D

Actually I never knew Kolkata was still the literary and cultural centre of India, I always thought it was a historical thing. Yet now that I think back a lot of India's cultural elite were and still are from Kolkata or Bengal.

I really must visit Kolkata sometime soon. There's so much I still don't know about my own country. :)
 
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