Calcutta -The city of Joy

Oh! Calcutta is not dying. It is a City of Joy

At the fag end of April 2008 I visited Calcutta on my way to Silchar and took some photos of the magnificent Victoria Memorial Hall. This is at the end of the beautiful and vast Calcutta Maidan which is known as the Lung of Calcutta. People stroll at the Maidan to get the fresh air. Victoria memorial was built by the British thinking that they can build a better monument than Taj Mahal.

Victoria Memorial Kolkata
Victoria Memorial Hall

It is a fine monument made of white Marble with vast greenery and ponds around where young lovers feel they can have a cosy leisurely time on the bank of the ponds or under the shade of trees.

Another shot of Victoria

Nearby there is another Beautiful spot: The Promenade between the Banks of River Hooghly and the Famous Fort William. In the Evening People frequent this place to observe the Glorious sunset and get the cool breeze from Hooghly.

Sunset at Hooghly

Here you can see the two Howrah Bridges at a distance. One can hire a country boat to go into the river and get a boat ride along

Old Howrah Bridge


New Howrah Bridge

Here I saw a bird sitting on a bush and on the spur of the moment I captured it in my camera and it flew away in a split second.

Just in time

Hints on History of Calcutta
• 1690 August, Job Charnok, an agent of East India Company settles in the village of Sutanutee.
• 1698 East India Co. bought three villages (Sutanuti, Kolkata, and Gobindapur) from local landlord Sabarna Chowdhury.
• 1772 Calcutta became the capital of British India when the first Governor General, Warren Hastings, transferred all important offices to the city from Mushimabad.
• 1828 Sahid Minar (Octorloney Monument) was built.
• 1873 First Tram car (horse drawn) in the city was launched.
• 1911 British moved the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi
• 1921 King Edward VIII inaugurated the Victoria Memorial building.

The Eden Garden (not Garden of Eden) is nearby. In the past when I was working in Calcutta, there were innumerable Statues of British Kings and Viceroys and British officers seen all around. They are now taken off and put in some godowns as remnants of History.

There were too much traffic problems. Now there is the Underground Metro which is a great boon. Instead of one Howrah Bridge there are two now with many flyovers. Truly Calcutta is not dying. It is really a city of Joy!

12 Comments

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Philip. I hope you enjoy your stay at ghumakkar.

    This is the first story about Kolkata on ghumakkar and what lovely pics.

  • Kshitija says:

    I last went to Calcutta as a kid in my early teens and your article brought back some pleasant memories.Very Beautiful Photographs!!!

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Beautiful pics!

  • Philip Mathai says:

    Thank you Nandan for the remarkabale help given to me ( a Newcomer) in uploading my photos and story and also for the valuable comments.

    Thank you Kshitija for your apreciating coments for my Photos.

    Philip

  • Wilkim Lee says:

    It is really nice of you to write about Kolkata as it was a really nice recap of the similar experiences I had.
    If your are planning to visit Victoria Memorial and if you are an ardent lover of history then be ready to spend you whooole day. The love graph has indeed spurred up and you can see lovers all around the “City of Joy”.
    For the first time I saw lots and lots of Chinese and it was really a pleasant surprise to see them in huge numbers.
    Underground metros…hmmmm was not too comfortable if we are comparing it to mertos in Delhi.
    I would like to visit Kolkata once again next year in Feb or March.

  • Wilkim Lee says:

    Nice photogarphs and hope to see more of it in your next venure.

  • Philip Mathai says:

    Thank you Patrick Jones and Wilkim Lee for the apreciation.

    In fact I Like Chinese food and used to frequent the Chinese Restaurents. I can prepare some Chinese Food like Chicken fried rice myself. May not be as good as the real chinese food. Calcutta is much Cheaper in this respect.

    Philip

  • Rahul says:

    This brings back memories of the boat ride from Kali ghat to Belur Math over the vast expanse of the Hooghly with Howrah Bridge in view. Our boat-man was actually singing ‘O rey maajhi’ in a v filmy style.
    Victoria Memorial is quite grand and one of my favourite British Raj buildings in India.

  • manish khamesra says:

    Philip,

    Your photographs are a treat for the eyes and writing very lucid. I have been to Calcutta in 1990 and my own impression of the city is not that grand. I find it a dirty city, full of poverty and with lots of people all around.

    I think there is something spiritual in that place too. That is why you can see Mother Teresa, RamaKrishna Paramhansa or may be the poverty around keeps one aware that what he is doing is still not enough.

    When I was in class X, XII they introduced an excerpt from Mahatma Gandhi at the beginning of the book, in which Gandhiji responded that how he keep the proud far away from himself. And he shared that whenever he feel proud about what he has done, he simply think about the poorest face he has met and then he think that has he been able to make any change in their life and that thinking was enough for him to propel himself for the next days of his karma, without feeling anything GREAT about himself.

    I find “City of Joy” a very sad book, but this is also true that the poverty or richness life keeps on moving and there are joys and sorrows in everyone’s life.

  • Cuckoo says:

    Never been to Kolkata, always heard about it being a dirty city.. people spitting everywhere with paan juice etc, extreme poverty is another issue but I guess each city has its plus & minuses.

    Hooghly & trams always keep inviting me and now your photos have given it a new dimension. I am waiting for the opportunity to visit this place.

  • Alaat? Otel says:

    I liked your article.

  • Akshita Jain says:

    the beauty of Calcutta is admirable. All the photographs are very beautiful.

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