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Published: January 21st 2018
We arrived very late at night after a long day of travelling and were surprised at the lack of traffic but were told that Kolkata closes after about 10 pm. Certainly a pleasant change from the frenetic traffic we had experienced all over India. Another thing we noticed was kerbing on the gutters.
For the next two days our guide Khan, took us on a varied tour of Kolkata. First the white town and the buildings of the East India company and other colonials. We started at the magnificent Victoria Memorial built of white marble to commemorate the Queen's diamond jubilee. There are many exhibitions inside but the best is a chronological display of Kolkata's history. The gardens are beautiful as well. Our next stop was St Paul's cathedral was built in 1839-47 and has beautiful stained glass windows.
From there to the Hogg market. A wet market with chopping blocks with fresh blood on them and chickens in cages waiting their turn. We walked through here and saw many different sellers displaying their goods or trade.
The South Park cemetary which was only open from 1757-1840 houses monument style graves of prominent English citizens and public employees
including pyramid like structures and a small Parthenon. Always fascinating to look at the language of the time on the gravestones.
St John's church is ringed by columns and house the mausoleum of the disputed founder of Calcutta. The grounds now also house the Black Hole Of Calcutta Memorial which was moved here in 1940.
Next morning we started at the Mullik Ghat flower market. Vibrant colours everywhere of people trading in flowers mostly for use in worshipping. We then climbed onto the Howrah bridge, a 705 metre cantilever bridge built in 1945, to look over the markets. Many thousands of people walk the bridge each day to come to work.
Kumartuli Pally is a street of local artisans who make plaster and fibreglass figures of deities for festivals. They are mostly family businesses that have operated for generations.It is always good to see artisans at work.
Nobel prize winners house - Robindranath Tagore in 1913 for literature. His family house is essentially a monument to him and his work. We had never heard of him but his life seems to have been rich. He travelled extensively to the US, Japan, China, France and England and
was feted by literary circles. We completed our tour at Mother's House- the place where Mother Theresa lived and died. Her tomb is housed in the chapel.
We have had a fascinating tour of India. Sometimes confronting, sometimes enlightening often frustrating and confusing but great to see a different style of living.
We flew out of Kolkata airport which Kevin declared has surpassed Peru as the place where the most number of people looked at your passport and boarding pass between entering the front door of the airport to stepping on the plane - 11!!
Tot: 3.266s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 19; qc: 78; dbt: 0.0503s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb