West Bengal Wiki Community’s Participation in Wikipedia Loves Monuments Project

Wikipedia Loves Monuments 2016

Wikipedia Loves Monuments 2016 in West Bengal Community
Wikipedia Loves Monuments” one month long photography contest cum Photo drive has been organized by Wikipedia in the month of September 2016, internationally, to photograph those monuments world wide whose photos are not present in the Wiki repository. Like other countries, Wikipedia India Chapter also took part in this grand project. Wikipedian Santanu Chandra informed us about WLM project in a monthly meeting of Wikipedia WB community and unanimously agreed upon to participate in this grand event.

The main focus of the project was to photographed those monuments, whose photos are not present in the Wikipedia repository and also to encourage for creating new articles from captured photographs. In community meeting it has been decided, Sumit Surai would select the place and as well as prepare the list of monuments of that place to be photographed for WLM. In the process of selection, he would have to consider those monuments whose photos are not present in Wiki’s ‘List of Monuments of National Importance in West Bengal’ and as well in the ‘List of State Protected Monuments in West Bengal’. On the next Wikipedia meeting, he placed his proposal for the monuments of Burdwan and Ambika Kalna along with a detailed itinerary. Initially, we decided to visit there with a large group of Wikipedian photographers but unfortunately due to some internal technical issues we had to postponed the plan. Finally, a small group has been formed consists of five person including me and the date of journey was finalized as on 24th September 2016 for WLM.

Day 1
Just one day before the journey, I informed Sumit about my eye infection and told him that I might not join them. But he insisted and as usual I got convinced. On early morning of 24th I reached Howrah by 6:45am and Sumit joined me after few minutes. Both of us waiting for Santanu Da, Sujay and Kalyan and by that time I started photographing the surrounding areas of Howrah station. They reached Howrah in time and joined us. Although, I, Kalyan, Sumit, Santanu Da and Sujay finally boarded a local train at 8am for Ambika Kalna. We reached there around 10am and according to our plan we went to Raj Bari temple Complex at first. In the afternoon, a new Wikipedian from Burdwan Prithwish Jash joined us. During the day, rain and low light every so often spoiled some of our plans. Although, we managed to take photograph of almost all major temples in Kalna. It was also in our agenda to capture maximum number of Terracotta panels of every individual temple. Finally, we have succeeded to some extent to capture maximum number of Terracotta panels with limited resources and time. Here is the list of temples, we photographed on the first day.

Rameswar Temple
Rameswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Lalji Temple
Lalji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Krishna Chandraji Temple
Krishna Chandraji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Girigobordhon
Girigobordhon - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Pancharatna Temple
Pancharatna Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Rashmancha
Rashmancha - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Ratneswar Temple
Ratneswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Rupeswar Temple
Rupeswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Jaleswar Temple
Jaleswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Pratapeswar Siva Temple
Pratapeswar Siva Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Stretching Horizon – Wiki Outreach
I and Sumit, always keep in mind to do some offline work for Wikipedia that may not bring instant or immediate result but somehow will help in future. That’s why both of us were in search for information of lesser known heritages of the district Burdwan. Also, in search for new involvement or contributors from local scholars. In between, Sumit collected the phone number of a local Historian Sidheswar Achariyya. At the late evening of that day I called him for fixing up a meeting with him. Initially, he refused to meet us because he was suffering due to old age issues. Fortunately, I managed to convince him and fixed a meeting with him on the next day at 9am at his residence. He is working with the history of Burdwan district especially Kalna over a long period of time and also one of the founder member of Kalna Mahakuma Itihas O Puratattwa Charcha Kendra. He wrote many books on the history of Kalna. It was in my mind that he would be a helpful source for future for developing existing and creating new unique articles for Bengali Wikipedia.

Day 2
All woke by 6am and left the guest house early to photograph Nava-Kailasha Temple. We spend some time there and went to Gopalji Temple. We had fixed a meeting with Sidheswar Achariyya and accordingly went to his place after Gopalji Temple. In between, a small incident happened just after we left Gopalji Temple and on the way to Sidheswar Achariyya’s house. Basically, my presence is enough for …………. and disaster is inevitable. Quite naturally I made a disaster that day. We hired a Toto (Toto is a 3 wheeler battery operated vehicle) and suddenly, a wish was popup in my mind to drive the Toto. Initial 1 or 2 minutes of driving was okay but suddenly I loose control over the vehicle. Even the driver could not control the vehicle as well and we hit the wall of a house. This has broken the front wheel axle of the Toto and also damaged the main water supply pipeline of the house. Although, managed well and I had to pay an amount from my personal account for the sin. This incident made me serious for the time being. Now, I would love to tell, I am not really very sorry or ashamed what I have done that day because this incident made our tour memorable. Even I have named the incident as “Bordhomane Barabari” or “Kalnai Kelo”.

Glimpses of Meeting
WLM Team with Sidheswar Achariyya - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sidheswar Achariyya
Biswajit Gain - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Nava-Kailasha Temple
Nava-Kailasha Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Gopalji Temple
Gopalji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sidheswari Kalibari
Sidheswari Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

We reached at his residence in time and he gladly welcomed us. I started the discussion with a introduction of WLM project to him and also discussed about the heritages of the district. We learned some historical facts about Kalna from him that was really new to us. Here would like to mention, everybody attended the meeting except Kalyan. When we came out from his house, discovered Kalyan was taking a nap outside his house. Although, we purchased some of his books from him and he suggested us to meet Biswajit Gain, a local photographer and historian. Achariyya Ji fixed a meeting in between Biswajit Gain and us at the guest house where we stayed. The meeting was fruitful in perspective of outreach. We went back to our guest house to meet Biswajit Gain. Meeting with Biswajit Gain was also came out very fruitful as he showed interest to contribute and interested in workshop at Kalna.

Two Ancient Temples (joined together)
Two ancient temples (joined together) - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Baidyapur, West Bengal India
Panchratna Brick Temple
Panchratna brick temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Baidyapur, West Bengal India

After the small break for refreshment we went to Baidyapur to photograph one state and one National protected monuments. Baidyapur which is situated 16 Km away from Kalna. Other than these two there were many ancient temples which were not in our list. Still, covered most of the temples for creating future articles and for documentation purpose. Around 3Pm we closed the chapter of Baidyapur and reached to nearby bus stand to go to Burdwan via Bainchi. There were no frequent bus service for Bainchi and we had to wait there. After waiting for half an hour discovered a overcrowded bus and there were absolutely no place inside the bus. Four of us except Sumit, climb up the roof of the bus and settled ourselves. Sumit forcefully boarded inside the bus and we went to Bainchi. Then we had plan to go to Burdwan from Bainchi and other two places. But it was completely impractical matter to cover all those places in two days. It was drizzling when we reached to Bainchi station and condition of sun light was too poor. So, we took the decision to postponed our Burdwan Plan and end the WLM tour. Boarded a local train from Baichi for Kolkata.

Unforgettable Frames
Indrajit and Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Group Photo - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
WLM Team - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sumit and Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sujay and Santanu Da - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Contribution of Bengali Wikipedians from WB Community for WLM 2016
(Click on the Name to see the individual Contribution)

Indrajit Das
Sumit Surai
Sujay Chandra
Prithwish Jash
Santanu Chandra
Rangan Datta
Biswarup Ganguly
Amitava Sengupta
Arup Chowdhuri

Note – Please carry enough food otherwise it will be difficult for someone to locate a good place for eating. Also keep in mind there are only 3/4 hotels for accommodation.

Special Thanks
Wikipedia West Bengal Community for the trip.
Sumit, Santanu Da, Kalyan, Sujay and Prithwish for tolerate me.
Sidheswar Achariyya and Biswajit Gain.
Shibo Ramokrishna Lodge

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you can share this post subjects to the conditions that please give due credit to Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

If you found your photographs here and have issues with that please E-mail me with your requests, I will remove your photographs from public domain.

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Kashmir Diary: Tomb of the Mother of Akbar of Kashmir, Zain-Ul-Abidin

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

I faced so much of issues rather harassed during my Srinagar tour because I visited those places surrounded with so much of controversies. I didn’t face any such issues in this place, the way I harassed in Roza Bal or during the visit to Pathar Masjid and some other places in Kashmir. However, I went there twice. First time, I went there with a separate set of ideas about the place. My thought process and perspective about this place changed after the visit to the Temples of Awantipora. So, I went there one more time to clear some doubts. Soon after the second visit, I understood this place was also a controversial place. But fortunately, I didn’t face any resistance or harassed. Either locals had no idea about the controversy or I was fortunate enough.

I have visited a place called, Mazar-I-Salateen, a graveyard in Srinagar. The tomb of Empress Miran (Jonaraja’s Meradevi), the mother of Budshah Zain-Ul-Abidin is there, known to all as Budshah’s tomb, located in the fussy lanes of Shahr-e-Khaas near Old Zaina Kadal area of Srinagar. I have never seen such a magnificent tomb before and this monument looks more as a mosque instead of a tomb.

Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Mazaar-I-Salateen
The mausoleum is a bulbous brick masonry structure decorated with blue tiles, built in 15th century (1465 AD) by Zain-Ul-Abidin. The structure is influenced by Persian architecture, which is quite similar to the architecture found in Central Asia. I am no one to comment about the architecture, still, I found it very unusual in South Asian architecture. The main tomb chamber is domed shaped and flanked by four auxiliary domed rooms. There are two entrances for the graveyard, one is little far from this grand tomb and is a normal iron gate. The other one is just next to the tomb and interestingly the architecture is quite similar to the tomb. The boundary wall is also made of stone, similar, I have witnessed in Awantipora temples.

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

After my visit to Awantipora, couldn’t sleep that night and I spent the whole night with referring books and searching the net extensively. Next day early morning, I went to the cemetery for one more time. I noticed, (may be) the tomb was erected on the basement of an ancient Hindu temple. The layer of bricks and the basement made of stone has followed completely two different architectures. Even, the entrance attached to the tomb and the boundary wall were also a part (My interpretation, Not sure) of the ancient Hindu temple. Although, the temples architecture of Awantipora influenced by Gandhara School of art (The Gandhara School of art developed and patronized during the reign of Emperor Kanishka in the first century AD. This art was primarily Mahayana and influenced by Greco-Roman.) and same I have noticed on the basement of the tomb. The main gate of the tomb was closed during my visit. But on the second time, I peeped through the main door and saw an iron chain hangs in the central dome. What is the significance of the iron chain in an Islamic monument? Seriously, I have no idea. Similarities between the Awantipora temples and the basement of the tomb, boundary wall and the entrance of the cemetery, importantly the chain made me confused. Please don’t think that my intention is to provoke controversy.

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Here I would like to mention some historical facts. Zain-Ul-Abidin or Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin (1418–1419 and 1420–1470) ruled Kashmir for fifty years and before him Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan (1389 -1413 AD) was the ruler. Zain-Ul-Abidin, the eighth Sultan of Kashmir, was known for his liberal religious policy, promoted learning, interests in art, architecture and he promoted Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic languages in Kashmir. He withdraws all the orders issued by Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan. He appointed Hindus to high posts and also abolished Jizya. He was the first man who forbade cow slaughter in Kashmir. People of Kashmir still remember him as Akbar of Kashmir. But during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan, stone temples of Hindu in Kashmir suffered destruction, some were modified and some converted into mosques. On the other hand, wooden temples suffered natural decay or were converted into tombs or mosques. It is understandable, what was the situation of Hindus during his rule.

The tomb adjoins a small graveyard, containing royal graves, including Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin’s grave, and his wives and children. The grave of famous the Tartar invader Mirza Haidar Dughlat, the cousin of Babar is there. Many important persons were buried in this cemetery. But unfortunately, I couldn’t locate those graves as all tombstones were written, either in Persian or in Arabic languages.

Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

I want to share something with you all. I read books or some articles on the same but suddenly I noticed that nobody mentioned the name of Zain-Ul-Abidin’s mother in their Articles/Books. I thought, I have skipped her name and go through one more time, but no, no nobody mentioned her name. Again I started searching for her name and was completely frustrated. I searched in Wikipedia and found a step ahead information. They referred this tomb as a tomb of Budshah Zain-Ul-Abidin and even they didn’t mention her name. I intimated the same to Wiki with proper references and they rectified it. Searching for over two months, finally, I learned the name from a book written by P. Pal. One more thing, during my visit to this place, I was also in search for a house called “Bamzai” or “Bamjai”, it is said that Rabindranath Tagore stayed in this house during his visit to Kashmir in 1915. I have tried so much to locate the house but couldn’t.

References

  1. “Jammu and Kashmir Guide” by M. Saraf
  2. “Arts of Kashmir” by P. Pal
  3. “Archeological Monuments” by A. Iqbal.
  4. “Temple Architecture of the Kashmir”
  5. “The Shrines and Temples in Kashmir” by K. L Butt
  6. “Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Ancient Kashmir”

 

Copyright © BongBlogger you can share this post subject to the conditions that please give due credit to the Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

If you found your photographs here and have issues with that please E-mail me with your requests, I will remove your photographs from the public domain.

Kashmir Diary: Story of A Desecrate Mosque – Pathar Masjid

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar - Jammu & Kashmir, India

After so much of drama at Roza Bal, I was tensed but not scared. Also, I got an overall idea about the place and thereafter planned my trip accordingly. That day I reached the bank of Jhelum and standing on a small bridge on the River. On my left was Khanqah Shahi Hamadan and on the right was Pathar Masjid. I deeply felt as if I am Robert Kincaid but It was an another mistake. Robert went there in a beautiful place called Madison and I was standing in a beautiful but controversial place called Srinagar. A beautiful lady didn’t come out but a group of locals gathered behind me. Before I could understand anything they snatched my camera. My dream to be like Robert was shattered and I came into the reality. This was for the second time I got into trouble. Although, It was a separate episode.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Somehow I managed the situation and reached Pathar Masjid. But I couldn’t find the entrance of the mosque. The outer wall of the mosque was surrounded by shops and was closed during that time. The entire locality was also completely empty. I started loosing my confidence and felt lonely. The Old Zaina Kadal police station was just opposite side of the mosque and I went there to know the location of the entrance of the mosque. Basically, I was in search for some mental support. I found an Indian Military outpost in front of the police station. A tall and handsome Military came out from the bunker. We exchanged smiles and after that, I started gaining confidence. I asked him about the entrance and also the reason for the curfew-like situation. Then I learned from him that the situation of the valley is not well and he suggested me not to roam in the remote areas.

The mosque was not very impressive from the outside. But I was eager to see the mosque as because It was built by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan. Few months before the trip, I don’t know what happened to me I was so obsessed about Nur Jahan. By the way, this was not the only reason for the visit.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pathar Masjid – This mosque is locally known as Naev Masjid and built by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan the wife of Emperor Jahangir, in 1623 AD, constructed under the supervision of Mughal historian and architect Malik Hyder Chaudhary. Generally, mosques in the valley were built with wood while this mosque built with stone, as most of the Mughal edifices were built with Marble. Pathar masjid was built with locally available grey limestone and the style is practically the same as edifices found in Delhi and Agra. The grey limestone was generally used in Kashmir for face work and this stone is an excellent material for carving and for moldings. Also, high grade of polish is possible on this stone and same testified in the pavilion of Shalimar Bagh. The facade of Pathar Masjid, “The Stone Mosque” consists of nine arches including a large arched portico in the middle. The arched openings are enclosed in shallow decorative, cusped arches and horizontal construction of these arches is outstanding. If this mosque compared with the other Mughal architectures in India, certainly it is not as grand like other but it is really unique in Kashmir. The plinth of the mosque is very impressive, as lotus leaf coping on it and looks excellent. Also, this mosque does not have the traditional pyramidal roof that visually separates this mosque from other mosques in the valley.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The mosque is unique in many sense, especially for the atmosphere. Although, why this beautiful mosque never used as a place of prayer, there is a very interesting story. Once a Mullah questioned to Empress Nur Jahan regarding the costs of its construction and instead of a proper answer, she pointed to her bejeweled shoe and replied: “As much as that”. The mockery was reported to Mullahs and this remark reached to all highly respected religious leaders of Kashmir. They unanimously decreed by the sacrilegious pointing this mosque was unfit for any religious use. Henceforth, the mosque has never been used. It is a fact, comparison a religious place with a shoe was really unacceptable. I am really astonished, how a woman of seventeen century from Islamic clan passed such comment publicly.

There are other interesting stories behind this Masjid. (It is said), this was actually a site of an ancient Buddha Vihara. During the rule of Fateh Khan (1510-1517), a Sunni mosque was erected on (demolishing) the place of Buddha Vihara. It is said Shia Empress of India Nur Jahan rebuilt it as a Shia mosque. In around 1819, Akali Baba Phula Singh defeated Jabbar Khan and Ranjit Singh captured Kashmir. Phula Singh was the military general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. During this time Pathar Masjid was taken over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and used as a storehouse. The military of Maharaja installed a cannon on the roof of Pathar Masjid to blown up Khanaq Shahi Hamadan which is situated across the Jhilam. Pandit Birbal Dhar intervened into the matter and saved the shrine.

Entry – Free
Location – Zaina Kadal

How to reach
Mosque is situated 9Km away from Srinagar. There are several ways to reach the place.

By Road
Pathar Masjid is very well connected to Srinagar main town. You will get Rental Car/Bus from Srinagar. If you opt for rental car, in that case, you have to hire the car for a day trip and will cost you 1500 – 2000 (NonAC) approx. Bus will cost you only Rs 10 for one side or opt for shared car which is available from Dal Gate, cost you Rs 30.

By Air

The nearest airport is Srinagar International airport known as Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport. It is located at Aerodrome Road, Srinagar, approx 12Km from the city, Srinagar.

By Train
Nearest railway station is Srinagar.

 

Reference

  1. “Archeological Monuments” by A. Iqbal.
  2. “Jammu and Kashmir Guide” by M. Saraf
  3. “The Shrines and Temples in Kashmir” by K. L Butt

Copyright © BongBlogger you can share this post subject to the conditions that please give due credit to the Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

If you found your photographs here and have issues with that please E-mail me with your requests, I will remove your photographs from the public domain.

Your Next Weekend at Lonely Vanishing Beach Chandipur

Chandipur Beach in Balasore, Orrisa, India

It was 3:30 AM, my phone rang. It was a wake-up call for me from Debabrata. Working late night is okay with me but leaving the bed on early morning always a tough job. Never use an alarm, my wife work as an alarm for me. After so much of procrastination, finally, I managed to wake up at 4:30 AM. My breakfast was ready and served. My wife supports all kinds of wild madness of me. Unless she was there with me, instantaneous travel was impossible for me. Although, I had to catch up Dhauli Express from Howrah for Balasore.

I reached Howrah at 5:25 AM and managed to buy a local ticket after standing in a long queue. Almost I missed the train but got on in a running train. Debabrata was kept on checking my status. Around 6:40 AM I got a call from him and asked me to check my laptop. Switched on my laptop and internet as well to check mails. I called up and informed him about the status of my camera. He smiled and told me that he arranged everything for the trip. At 9:45 AM, I reached Balasore and found ever smiling Debu at the station. We sat at the station and finalized the plan of action for the work. We hired an auto from the station compound and reached DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) by 10:30 AM. It was a semi-official tour for me and I finished my job as quickly as possible. I was so eager to see the magical beach.

On the way to Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India BongBlogger Traveling in Lorry during Chandipur Tour, Balasore, Odisha India

His arrangement of everything was a completely false statement. After walking for a half an hour under the scorching sun, there were no traces of any vehicle. He stopped a lorry and asked for a lift. This was the first time I traveled in a lorry to reach a travel destination. The temperature inside the driver’s cabin was reached to the boiling point. It was pathetic but now I feel it was an experience. The driver dropped us at an unknown place and there was no trace of any sea beach. Crossing some narrow lanes and by lanes, we reached the beach but there were no traces of any sea. I asked a passer-by fisherman about the location of the sea and he said “Vanished”. He suggested us to wait for few more hours.

Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

We started walking on the beach to locate the sea but there was no trace of a single drop of water. I was completely frustrated. Suddenly I noticed red spots on the beach. Oh my God, there were thousands of thousands of red crabs. Earlier, I saw red crabs on Talsari beach but not in huge number. Few minutes of walking we reached the colonies of red crabs. I could wait for the sea to come back but could not resist myself to play with the red crabs. Crabs were smart and faster than us, they were also not camera friendly. So neither I grabbed a single one in my hand nor I captured them in my cam. Debu went there many times and he was quite acquainted with the place. He informed me that Chandipur is also popular for “Horse-Shoe” crabs. Please don’t think that he knows everything about the place. I had some knowledge of historical facts about the place and I showered the same on Debu.

Now it’s the time to shower the same on all of you. Popular Indian freedom fighter Jatin Chandra Mukherjee (Also known as Bagha Jatin) was shot twice by the British Army in Chandipur and he managed to escape from the spot. He swam across the river (Budhabalanga River) and reached to Barabati Village. Where a doctor operated on Bagha Jatin to take out the bullets from his body. There was a place called Chashakhanda village where freedom fighters used as a hideout and to store ammunition. After a while, he managed to reach that village but unable to find the door key of the house. Unfortunately, due to excessive bleeding, he fell unconscious and British Army arrested him from the spot. An episode of thoughts about the freedom fighters engrossed me for some moments.

Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

Let’s get back again to our trip. There were only two living souls on the beach and we felt so lonely. It was 3 PM and we were also hungry. Accordingly, we started searching for a good place for lunch. We had our lunch and went back again to the beach. Suddenly, I noticed waves which were far away from us. As time grows, I saw a full-fledged sea near me. I witnessed the moment, how a completely dried out beach transformed into a sea. Basically, everyday during ebb tide the sea water recedes approx 5 KM from the beach and advances to the shore during high tide. It is truly unique and fascinating sight. If you would be there during and after the tides, you can watch the sea vanishes right in front of your eyes and its return. We enjoyed thoroughly and played with the water. I wished to swim but couldn’t as there were no extra clothes with me. There was a Casuarina jungle alongside of the beach and we stroll there for sometime. Then we went to a nearby village called Balaramgadi and spent some time there. It was 8PM, there was no plan to stay there. I bid goodbye to Chandipur and boarded an overcrowded Howrah-bound train. I reached home around 4AM.

Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Sonarpur Chowk in Balasore, Odisha India Balasore Station at Night in Balasore, Odisha India

Activities in Chandipur

A) Balaramgadi Village
If you like fishing, must visit Balaramgadi Village. It is located near to the beach merely 2 KM, at the confluence of Budhabalanga River. There is a big fish market in the village and fresh sea fishes are available at cheap price. This place is popular among locals and tourists, especially for fishing and boating. Apart from enjoying fishing and boating, one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the village.

Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

B) Sonarpur Chowk
Sonarpur Chowk is a marketplace and situated at a distance of 1 KM from Chandipur Beach. If you want to buy local handicrafts or ornaments made of seashells at a cheap price this is the best place.

C) Beach Festival
Beach festival is organized in almost every beaches in Odisha and Chandipur sea beach is not the exception. The festival which showcases the heritages of the area held in an open area.There is no fixed time for this festival.


Places Near to Chandipur

A) Panchalingeswar

Panchalingeshwar temple enshrined five Shiva Lingas and it is situated on the top of a hillock near Nilagiri Hill. It is believed that Shiva Lingas have been enshrined by Sita (Wife of Lord Rama) during their banishment. A stream regularly washes Shiva Lingas as it flows over them. A lake is formed by Devkund waterfall, which is also a major attraction of the place. You can explore the Nilagiri (Not Nilgiri)
Forest on foot.
This place is 30 KM away from Chandipur beach. Autos and private cars are available from Balasore station/Chandipur beach. Cost you Rs/- 150 to 200 for Auto and 500-600 for the car. There are not many options for accommodation. So if you have the plan to stay there booked the hotel in advance.

B) Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary

Kuldiha forest is situated in the district of Balasore in the state of Odisha and around 80 KM from the Balasore station. The forests of the region cover the Nato hills and the Sukhupata hills linked with the Similipal National Park. This is one of the major wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. This forest is the home of wild animals like the elephant, tiger, and bison and also houses of birds. Prior permission is required for the visit.

Hotels in Chandipur
Chandipur is surrounded by Hotels and accommodations are easily available except any special occasions. All kinds of Hotels are available in Chandipur, from Cheap Hotels to Luxury hotels. If you are visiting in normal weekdays, must bargain for the rates.

How to reach

Location
Chandipur is a seaside beach situated on the northern coast of Odisha (Orissa) along the Bay of Bengal. Balasore is the nearest city and also an important city, having historical significance. The place was a part of Kalinga (An early kingdom in central-east India, comprised of maximum part of Odisha, some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh) and was invaded by the Mughals. In British-India it was developed as a port city. Balasore is situated 255 KM from Kolkata and 207 KM away from state capital Bhubaneswar.

By Road
Chandipur is well connected to Kolkata and there is several options are available like Luxury Bus/ Budget Bus/ Car rental service. It takes around 5-6 hours by bus and 4-5 hours by Car to reach Balasore from Kolkata.

By Airport
The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport located in Bhubaneswar (Capital of Odisha) is about 207 km away from Balasore (also known as Baleshwar).

By Train
The train is the best option for Chandipur and well connected to all major cities of India. Balasore is the nearest railway station, which is just 16 KM away from the Chandipur beach. If you are traveling from Kolkata, try for early morning trains, preferably, “Dhauli Express”.

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Special Thanks to Debabrata Sen for the trip.


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Kashmir Diary: Ruins of Ancient Temples of Awantipora

Awantiswami Temple in Awantipura, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Awantiswami Temple in Awantipura, Jammu and Kashmir, India

June this year, I went to Kashmir and this was my second visit. The first time, I went there along with my wife and this time I traveled solo. The experience I gathered altogether from both the trips is wondrous. But whenever I have been there, never felt like that I am touring in India. Maybe the reasons are situations of Kashmir over the few decades, ambience, people, culture and some other reasons can be there. Probably, I could not connect myself with the place, this can be another reason. However, the local people were so nice to me but sometimes the behavior of the Indian Army was disheartening. I discussed the same with my friends. According to them, I preoccupied with the thought that Hindus are a minority over there that can be the reason. Seriously, I could not come to any conclusion. It’s a fact, it is very difficult to travel solo like me in the entire region and as I have faced so many issues.

I went to Awantipora twice and for the first time, I felt connected with the place. On the first look, I was mesmerized watching those marvelous architectures. Still I regret, the situation was not in my favor during both the time of my visit. On my first visit, I went there with my tiny camera and that’s why I could not capture the place as I wished to. Second time, the situation of the place was under threat. The entire place was cordoned by the Army and they suggested me not to go in the surrounding area of the temples.

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Avantiswamin Temple
– This temple was built by King Avanti Varman before he ascended to the throne of Kashmir. The temple is small but more ornate and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was destroyed by the earthquake and reclaimed after removal of debris. This temple was neglected more than thousand years…………………………

Sculpture in Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India Sculpture in Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India

 

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Zion Via Lenz #2.4

Zion Via Lenz - Faces of Nepal, Earthquake

I was there few years back, beautiful people made it more beautiful. I was in Nepal in 2012 and met many people during the tour,  jumbled thoughts coming to mind like waves. I recall some faces even now because still I have their photographs with me. The Hotel in Pokhra, Nepal where I stayed during my visit, I just thought about the manager of the hotel. I have his number, even I tried to call him yesterday but I couldn’t. I really don’t know what happened to them, I pray that they are all safe by the grace of almighty.
I remember, I met a school girl in Kathmandu,Nepal, her name is Saraswati

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Zion Via Lenz #2.3

Zion Via Lenz

I think there should be a good balance between being a good student and being able to enjoy your high school life.    — Vanessa Minnillo

They will study but they should enjoy their student life too.  I don’t want get into, why poor children are enrolled in the municipal school or stay back without education. Where food or shelter is primary requirements for them rather than education.But on the other hand well-off children go to the expensive private school, where English,computers,Sports are given more importance. Even I don’t want to get into, increasing suicidal tendencies in students due to…..

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Zion Via Lenz #2.2

Zion Via Lenz

“Love your parents and treat them with love and care. For you will only know their value when you see their empty chair.”

I have taken the photograph during Wikipedia Takes Kolkata 3 Photowalk. Why I have taken the shot ? I really don’t know. Even I don’t know why old age home is so necessary for our society. Labrador Retrievers or dogs is much more luckier than our parents because Labrador plays a very important role in our life than parents. So accommodate parents at home is tough these days…….

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Zion Via Lenz #1.3

Zion Via Lenz

“Good friday, a day for some to remember our saviour who died on the cross for us.”

On Good Friday, this year I went to many churches to be part of it and mainly for to take photographs. I shoot GBs of photos but among all, I find these two photos are more relevant. In my opinion these two photographs speaks an entire episode that happened 2000 years ago.

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Zion Via Lenz #2.1

Zion Via Lenz

I have taken the photo during a photo shoot on National Highway in 2013. Actually I took the photo from very long distance, standing under a shade to prevent myself from Sun. It was  absolute summer and extremely Hot .  But the Iron lady was toiling continuously under

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Zion Via Lenz #1.2

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”
–Salvador Dali

My First Model

I think census don’t  bother to count her or any candidate from any political party don’t ask for vote from her. Still she is precious to me cause she was my first model. I have payed her rupees 50 to took her photographs.

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