Saturday, July 16, 2016

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH ... where History lies in every corner !!

The objective of my blog is to 'know the unknown' but is it always necessarily be an unknown structure or a place, couldn't it be a well-known monument with little-known or unknown history? That sounds a bit contradictory, right? If it's well-known then how come the history is unknown? Well, it could be ...

These days the heritage structures of the City are used to get a lot of attention due to variety of reasons. The Raj era edifices are regularly featured in print and visual media through the works of bloggers, photographers, journalists, film makers and tour operators. One such popular destination is St. John's Church, situated in the office-para, BBD Bag. Though much have already been written about the Church, a lot are yet to be covered.


WANDERLUST presents before you the St. John's Church, with many never-before-read detail, through its most elaborate post till date ...

P.S. St. John's Church also holds a secret for a long time. A hidden tomb of a significant person, which you will encounter, for the first time, through this post. Read till the end to unearth the secret ... 

Monday, March 7, 2016

DURGESWAR - RAMESWAR - BANESWAR ... The SHIVA TRILOGY !!

The title might sound familiar but this post has nothing to do with the Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy, the best-selling mythological fiction series in India.


The article is about three, century old Shiva Temples of Calcutta, surviving through years of ignorance and atmospheric erosion while serving hundreds of devotees everyday. In fact though I named this post a Trilogy and planned three consecutive articles but in future it can easily and certainly be extended to form either a tetralogy or a pentalogy or even a decalogy, considering the number of significant shrines in the City !!

Hindu Temples in the City are a common sight now-a-days but an inevitable question is: How old are they? Various sources suggest that few of the City shrines dates back to Job Charnock or probably before that. Prosperity of a religious shrine always depends upon the people surrounding it and Calcutta was no exception. People used to inhabit Calcutta (or more specifically Sutanuti, Kolikata and Gobindapur) since the early seventeenth century, long before Job Charnock settled here. Lord Shiva and various forms of his consort Parvati, were the most worshipped divine entities. It was almost customary that the ancient rich and aristrocratic families of the City establish temples of Lord Shiva, either in their residences or in the locality or on the bank of river Ganges. In the year 1856, there were 24 Shiva temples in Calcutta compared to only 5 temples of goddess Kali, a popular form of Parvati.

This trilogy is an attempt to uncover the past of three ancient Shiva Temples of North Calcutta, situated within a radius of 1 km but almost unknown beyond its daily visitors.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

BIDHAN SABHA BHAWAN - W.B. LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY HOUSE ... Witness to the Debates & Power Shifts !!

Which iconic structure is situated to the east of Calcutta High Court, west of Raj Bhawan, south of Town Hall and north of Eden Gardens? ... The question would surely baffle any Calcuttan for a moment. I am not generalising but here are some replies from the people I know -
  • 'আরে, আমি বুঝেছি ... ওই সাদা বাড়িটা ... নামটা মাথায় আসছে না ...' ('I got it ... that white building ... I just can't remember the name ...')
  • 'ওই যেখানে সব নেতারা বসে ... পার্লামেন্ট এর মতই ... কি বলে মনে পড়ছেনা ...' ('The seat of the ministers ... like Parliament ... can't get the name ...')
It is WEST BENGAL LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY HOUSE or BIDHAN SABHA BHAWAN.



Now, why this unexpected ignorance? Multiple reasons could be there but the most prominent one is certainly its location. Isolated by high railings and mature trees, it stands well away from public scrutiny, unlike Raj Bhawan. Among the three most important government buildings of the City, Assembly House comes third when public awareness is concerned (other two are Writers' Building & Raj Bhawan). It is actually this unawareness that has prompted me to write an article on the edifice.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

SHAHEED MINAR ... OCHTERLONY MONUMENT ... the Oldest Calcutta Icon !!

Every great City has its own icons. One or more architectural marvel/s that define/s the exclusivity of the location. Taj Mahal indicates Agra, Charminar to Hyderabad, Eiffel Tower to Paris, Colosseum to Rome and many more. Calcutta is also not an exception. Though the City is much younger in age compared to the above examples, but the City of Joy indeed has an unique character and obviously some splendid icons. 

Ask any random Calcuttan about five architectures which he thinks define our City. I can bet, the answer will definitely include the following three: Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge and Shaheed Minar. While the former two has not yet been 100 years old, Shaheed Minar is on the verge of completing two centuries of existence.



Though the catchline of my blog states 'Know the Unknown' but WANDERLUST decided to explore this widely recognised tall beauty as there are no detailed article on internet about Calcutta's very own 'Monument', except wikipedia !! (at least as on the date of article).

Saturday, January 2, 2016

SANSKRIT COLLEGE & PANDIT PREMCHANDRA TARKABAGISH ... An Invaluable Chapter of Sanskrit Literature !!

Kolkata International Book Fair is organized every year for a period of approximately 13 days. But if you are a book worm or atleast a book lover or in need of some academic material, then there is a book fair in Kolkata which runs throughout the year. It is in our very own 'Boipara' - College Street. The area is associated to academics for more than two centuries and consists of some finest institutions of this country. Sanskrit College is one of them. Unlike the name suggests, the college doesn't only offer Sanskrit language but provides an array of Oriental academic courses for more than 190 years now. 

Many stalwart academicians were associated with this college in the past. Pandit Premchandra Tarkabagish was one such name. He was one of the greatest Sanskrit scholars of 19th century and actively contributed in Bengal Renaissance. I get to know about him while doing a story on 'Widow Remarriage' and later a meet with his descendant Mr. Biswanath Chattopadhyay, intrigued me to explore the scholar in depth.

On 2nd January, 2016, Sanskrit College turns 192 years. WANDERLUST decides to explore its centuries old legacy along with a biographical sketch of Pandit Tarkabagish. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

SHIVA TRILOGY - Part 3: Baneshwar Shiva Temple, Kumortuli

The title might sound familiar but this post has nothing to do with the Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy, the best-selling mythological fiction series in India. 

The article is about three, century old Shiva Temples of Calcutta, surviving through years of ignorance and atmospheric erosion while serving hundreds of devotees everyday. In fact though I named this post a Trilogy and planned three consecutive articles but in future it can easily and certainly be extended to form either a tetralogy or a pentalogy or even a decalogy, considering the number of significant shrines in the City !!

Hindu Temples in the City are a common sight now-a-days but an inevitable question is: How old are they? Various sources suggest that few of the City shrines dates back to Job Charnock or probably before that. Prosperity of a religious shrine always depends upon the people surrounding it and Calcutta was no exception. People used to inhabit Calcutta (or more specifically Sutanuti, Kolikata and Gobindapur) since the early seventeenth century, long before Job Charnock settled here. Lord Shiva and various forms of his consort Parvati, were the most worshipped divine entities. It was almost customary that the ancient rich and aristrocratic families of the City establish temples of Lord Shiva, either in their residences or in the locality or on the bank of river Ganges. In the year 1856, there were 24 Shiva temples in Calcutta compared to only 5 temples of goddess Kali, a popular form of Parvati.

This trilogy is an attempt to uncover the past of three ancient Shiva Temples of North Calcutta, situated within a radius of 1 km but almost unknown beyond its daily visitors.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

SHIVA TRILOGY - Part 2: Rameswar Shiva Temple, Shovabazar

The title might sound familiar but this post has nothing to do with the Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy, the best-selling mythological fiction series in India. 

The article is about three, century old Shiva Temples of Calcutta, surviving through years of ignorance and atmospheric erosion while serving hundreds of devotees everyday. In fact though I named this post a Trilogy and planned three consecutive articles but in future it can easily and certainly be extended to form either a tetralogy or a pentalogy or even a decalogy, considering the number of significant shrines in the City !!

Hindu Temples in the City are a common sight now-a-days but an inevitable question is: How old are they? Various sources suggest that few of the City shrines dates back to Job Charnock or probably before that. Prosperity of a religious shrine always depends upon the people surrounding it and Calcutta was no exception. People used to inhabit Calcutta (or more specifically Sutanuti, Kolikata and Gobindapur) since the early seventeenth century, long before Job Charnock settled here. Lord Shiva and various forms of his consort Parvati, were the most worshipped divine entities. It was almost customary that the ancient rich and aristrocratic families of the City establish temples of Lord Shiva, either in their residences or in the locality or on the bank of river Ganges. In the year 1856, there were 24 Shiva temples in Calcutta compared to only 5 temples of goddess Kali, a popular form of Parvati.

This trilogy is an attempt to uncover the past of three ancient Shiva Temples of North Calcutta, situated within a radius of 1 km but almost unknown beyond its daily visitors.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

SHIVA TRILOGY - Part 1: Durgeshwar Shiva Temple, Nimtalla

The title might sound familiar but this post has nothing to do with the Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy, the best-selling mythological fiction series in India. 

The article is about three, century old Shiva Temples of Calcutta, surviving through years of ignorance and atmospheric erosion while serving hundreds of devotees everyday. In fact though I named this post a Trilogy and planned three consecutive articles but in future it can easily and certainly be extended to form either a tetralogy or a pentalogy or even a decalogy, considering the number of significant shrines in the City !!


Hindu Temples in the City are a common sight now-a-days but an inevitable question is: How old are they? Various sources suggest that few of the City shrines dates back to Job Charnock or probably before that. Prosperity of a religious shrine always depends upon the people surrounding it and Calcutta was no exception. People used to inhabit Calcutta (or more specifically Sutanuti, Kolikata and Gobindapur) since the early seventeenth century, long before Job Charnock settled here. Lord Shiva and various forms of his consort Parvati, were the most worshipped divine entities. It was almost customary that the ancient rich and aristrocratic families of the City establish temples of Lord Shiva, either in their residences or in the locality or on the bank of river Ganges. In the year 1856, there were 24 Shiva temples in Calcutta compared to only 5 temples of goddess Kali, a popular form of Parvati.

This trilogy is an attempt to uncover the past of three ancient Shiva Temples of North Calcutta, situated within a radius of 1 km but almost unknown beyond its daily visitors.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

GWALIOR MONUMENT ... Cenotaph from Melted Weapons !!


Let me start this post with the definition/explanation of two common English word:
  • Folly - An act of foolishness OR A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose.
  • Pepper-pot - A container for pepper (a common item in our dining table).

I know that you are confused. You are definitely wondering that whether I am conducting an English class or writing a heritage blog. Please don't get bewildered. Have patience and read on. 

Today, I'm exploring the GWALIOR MONUMENT, a solitary structure in the revamped Kolkata Riverfront, stretching from Outram Ghat to Prinsep Ghat. The above words are linked to this site only but I will explain those in the proper place. First, let us go back around 200 years to start the journey.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

MANOHAR DAS TARAG, ESPLANADE ... From a Pond for Cows to an Entertainment Park !!



'Tarag', in Bengali, means a pond or a medium scale waterbody having approximately 200 ft. of depth. The same meaning is conveyed by the Hindi word 'Talab' or 'Talao'. In 1706 there were only 17 waterbodies in Calcutta which catered the needs of native population. After the British settled down in the City they dug up or renovated numerous tanks to serve the purpose of drinking water, most of which are not in existence today. Among the existing ones, Laldighi and Wellington Square are the notable. But other tanks were later filled up to build parks like Curzon Park, Allen Park, Shraddhanand Park and many more.

But it was neither always the British who dug up the tank nor the purpose of public usage for which the tanks were dug up. In early nineteenth century, a Varanasi born businessman and philanthropist MANOHAR DAS SHAH converted an idle land into a pond to provide a drinking place for the cows. Yes, he was an animal lover and the tank is still there and known as MANOHAR DAS TARAG.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

'HINDOO' STUART's MAUSOLEUM ... Tomb or Temple ??!!

During the Bengal Renaissance of nineteenth century, many prominent names of the society chose to adopt Christianity and converted. Reverend Krishna Mohan Bandyopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Toru Dutt, Chandramukhi Basu are only to name a few. The scenario was similar in the remaining part of Colonial India too. With the increase in European settlements in India from 17th century onwards, conversion to Christianity from Hinduism was not a rare or surprising instance. But finding a British (technically Irish) dignitary, who inspite of adhering to his religion, embraced Hindu Culture, is a rare instance indeed !

In the 25th post, WANDERLUST explores an Irish Major-General who practiced idolatry, wore dhoti, used to bath in River Ganges, advised Memsahibs to wear Sari, built a temple, criticized European missionaries and has a Mausoleum in South Park Street Cemetery which looks like a temple !!

Presenting CHARLES 'HINDOO' STUART and his exceptional Mausoleum.




ST. JOHN'S CHURCH ... where History lies in every corner !!

The objective of my blog is to 'know the unknown' but is it always necessarily be an unknown structure or a place, couldn't it...