Sunday, December 24, 2017

Har Ki Doon Trek – A journey to the Valley of Lord Shiva

Har Ki Doon means the valley of Lord Shiva (a Hindu God). I am not sure whether god exists or not, but if he exists, Har Ki Doon valley must be one of his addresses. The trek is known for its grand vistas. An easy trek, over major portion along river, up above are azure blue sky, backdrop is snow-capped mountains and foreground has lush greenery. Though it is a popular winter trek, but we (my friend Avra, his wife Shipra and myself) decided to visit to Har Ki Doon in May, 2016.

Har Ki Doon Valley
At the beginning of this travelogue, it is better to say you the location of Har Ki Doon valley. Located in the Tamasha valley of Western Garhwal, Har Ki Doon can only be reached by trekking from Taluka, a small village inside Govida Ballav Pant Wild Life Sanctuary. Which in turn is accessible by bus or car from Mussourie/ Dehradun. Har Ki Doon is the last shelter before crossing Borasu Pass to reach Kinnuar Himalaya.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lucknow Tour: Part 3 - Residency: The silent witness of Sepoy Mutiny

Residency Building
Nawabi dynasty of Awadh that started in the first quarter of 18th Century came to a tragic end in 1857. Glancing in the pages of history we can see East India Company that was founded to trade in India acquired power in 1757 when the Nawab of Bengal Shiraz ud Doula got defeated by them. In Lucknow they were sharing power with Nawabs or vice versa. But in 1857, the Sepoi Mutiny erupted and spread in Northern and Central India like a raging fire. British houses were attacked near Lucknow. British from different portion of India took refuge in Residency Building, Lucknow. Residency was a group of buildings originally built in 1800 by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and then served as the residence of the Chief Commissioner who was British representative in the court of the Nawab. On a beautiful rainy day of June, 1857, when the refugees of Residency were enjoying a peter-patter of rain drops experienced the first boom of cannon shells and bang of musket shots. The residency got under siege. This was the beginning. For five months Residency faced shelling-counter shelling and the entire complex got shattered.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Lucknow Tour: Part 2 - Hussainabad Imambara (Chhota Imambara), Clock Tower, Picture Gallery and Hussainabad Tank

In my previous post about Bara Imambara I have mentioned the beginning of renaissance in Lucknow with the patronage of Nawab Asaf Ud Doula. After his demise in 1797, the successors Nawab Wazir Ali Khan, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan II, Nawab Rafa'at-ud-Daula, Nawab Abul-Mansur Qutb-ud-din Sulaiman Jah carried the baton of but they were more interested to build office and residential places.

Chhota Imambara

When Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah ascended to the throne, he decided to build another remarkable structure like Bara Imambara. He was as ambitious as Nawab Asaf Ud Doula and thus patronaged to construct Chhota Imambara.

Hussainabad Imambara (Chhota Imambara)
Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah’s intention was not to challenge Nawab Asaf Ud Doula, rather he added drove the engine of cultural excellence that his predecessors started.

Dear readers, let’s now explore Chhota Imambara, Hussainabad Tank, Clock Tower, Picture Gallery that you can visit with the same day of viewing Bara Imambara.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lucknow Tour: Part 1 - Asafi Imambara (Bara Imambara) and Rumi Darwaza

Lucknow is one of the oldest city of India. Lucknow’s existence has been mentioned even in the epic The Ramayana. Then the name of the city was Laxmanabati during that time. In spite of being an ancient city, Lucknow was not that much flourished as Delhi or Agra – two important and enriched cities on the bank of the river Yamuna. Like Yamuna, Gomti is also destined to the river Ganges. After the confluence with Ganges, Gomti had to keep mum when Yamuna told Gomti about her own glory. The way a luckless girl behaves in front of a happy and prosperous girls, Gomti had to hear them silently by resisting her tears. God seemed to have noticed the silent cry of Gomti.

At the last quarter of 18th Century, by the infallible direction of destiny, Mughal dynasty started declining, the “subedar” of Awadh started their journey and finally the capital of the new empire “Awadh” got shifted to Lucknow. The light of art and architecture started illuminating on the bank of Gomti. And Gomti got its own story to share with Yamuna. If you can go to the confluence of Ganges and Gomti in the late afternoon and pay your ears on the girly whisper of Ganges, Gomti and Yamuna, you can hear the story of Gomti.

I am doing my best try to say the story that I heard by paying my head to the girly chit chat. Being your virtual guide, I promise to help you to explore the glorious days of Lucknow. But this is nothing but drinking a glass of water from the river Gomti.

Asafi Mosque inside Bara Imambara Complex
After death of Badshah Auragazaeb on 1707, Mughal Dynasty started losing its glory. During the time of Aurangazeb, Mughal empire were very liberal and secular up the regime of Badshah Shah Jahan but Aurangazeb was very intolerant. Not only other religions but also Shia muslims were in extremely trouble in Alamgirh’s tenure. People of India was looking for a change as they were very happy during the regim of Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A week end at Rangaroon Tea Estate

Diner table discussion and chit chat in a family get together are always very interesting. Recently in such situation my uncle was saying about his first trek to Sandakphu in mid 70s. I was adding more spice to his memory recollection by sharing my experience during Sandakphu Trek. Suddenly my parents expressed their interest for a week end trip to North Bengal but they asked not to plan for any trek, instead, they it would be better to stay in a village near to Darjeeling preferably in a tea garden and forest.

When everybody of the table agreed to their plan I ran a search query in my mental database and retrieved the name of Rangaroon Tea Garden.

Rangaroo Tea Garden
Rangaroon Tea Garden is 16 kilometre away from Darjeeling. Located on the opposite hill of Darjeeling, this hamlet can be reached by car either via Kurseong-Jorbangla-3 Mile Mor of Via Teesta Bazar – 3 Mile Mor.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Khan Jahan Ali Tomb, Bagerhat, Bangladesh

Usually history does not give poetic justice to anybody. Even we do not know the name of the architect of Taj Mahal or Agra Fort or Bara Imambara. Always we can find the name of the king as a founder of any architecture. The creativity and technicality of the architect always gets politically and purposefully unrevealed. It seems like the name of the Kings are making the history books very clumsy.

Khan Jahan ali Tomb

But sometimes the torn and faded pages of history books smile with pleasure to share the name of the architects. If you touch those pages they say the names. One of such pages says the name of Khan Jahan Ali who was an architect as well as a saint general of Khalifabad District (Bagerhat), Bangladesh during 15th Centrury.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Noy Gombuj Masjid (Nine Domed Mosque), Bagerhat, Bangladesh

Noy Gombuj Masjid (Nine Domed Mosque) is another silent speaker of the cultural excellence of Bengal (Now at Bangladesh) in 15th century. As I mentioned in my post Shat Gombuj Masjid, during the Sultanate era of Bengal, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah appointed a saint general Khan Jahan Ali to decorate Khalifabad (now Bagerhat) area. The saint general showed his architectural excellence and created a number of mosques. Noy Gombuj Masjid is one of the beautiful these archaeological treasure.

Noy Gombuj Maasjid (Nine Domed Mosque)

Noy Gombuj Masjid is a brick built structure measuring about 16.76 meter externally with 2.44 meter thick wall. Nine domes are placed on the roof with three rows of three columns each.
North, south and east wall of this square shaped architecture have three arched opening. The Qibla wall (Western wall) is internally recessed with three engrailed arched Mihrabs. Central Mihrab is larger than others. Terra cotta floral scrolls and flower motifs are the decorations seen around the Mihrab.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Singair Masjid (Singair Mosque) at Bagerhat, Bangladesh

In my post about Shat Gambuj Masjid, I mentioned that during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud, a saint general Khan Jahan Ali decorated Bagerhat (aka Khalifabad) town with lots of mosques. The group of mosques helped Bagerhat to be enlisted into UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Singair Masjid is one of these archeological assets.

Singair Masjid
Located on the south west corner of the great Shat Gambuj Masjid, Singair Masjid can be reached by one minute walking from the gigantic one.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Shat Gambuj Masjid (Sixty Dome Mosque) at Bagerhat, Bangladesh

Bagerhat is district under Khulna Division of Bangladesh. This region is famous for its archaeological richness. The group of architectures helped Bagerhat to be enlisted into UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Shat Gombuj Masjid from south-west
On 15th Century, a saint general Khan Jahan Ali founded a Muslim colony near Sundarban area. During the regime of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah, this affluent city was named as Khalifabad. With the patronage of Sultan, Khan Jahan decorated the entire city with more than a dozen of mosques.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Relaxing weekend at Samukpota

On September 2016, I was very tired because of my hectic schedule in office. On top of that I had some photography assignments. Even my personal life was experiencing some downward curve. I was completely bogged up, dejected and desperately looking for a small break so that my mind can take rest and get freshened up by the blessing of nature.

One fine morning my elder brother and sister in law (bro’s wife) called me up and said about a plan for weekend trip in rural Bengal. The plan sounded good to me. So on the very next Saturday morning we drove to Samukpota.

Samukpota is a village of South 24 Parganas. Located at a distance of 18 kilometer from Kolkata Samukpota can be reached by car in following ways:
  1. Kolkata – Science City – Basanti Highway– Bhojer Haat - Tardah Bhojer Haat Road – Samukpota

  2. Kolkata – Ruby crossing – Tardah Bhojer Haat Road – Samukpota