Sunrise to sunset: walking Kolkata

Kolkata has been called a city of furious energy, the city of joy, a dying city. It is teeming, intense, broken and modern, old British empire and a stronghold of Bengali pride and culture. It’s crumbling and developing, wealthy and poor. It’s digested a tragic history but has a unique soul where it’s almost obligatory to have chats, or ada, with random strangers in the streets.

Continue reading on Elsewhere Journal’s blog.

Elsewhere is an English-language print journal dedicated to involved and intelligent writing about place, whether from travel writers or local ramblers, deep topographers or psychogeographers, overland wanderers or edgeland explorers.

Photos from the streets of Kolkata

 

Rows of jeans hanging above a Kolkata back-steet

Rows of jeans hanging over a Kolkata back steet

Painted goddesses standing in a workshop

Painted goddesses standing in a workshop

Rows of figures ready to be painted and stored in workshop

Workshop in Kumartuli, Kolkata

Artist painting and working on statues of gods and godesses

Inside the neighbourhood of gods and goddesses

Street barber shaving his customer

Street barber shaving his customer

People on the Hooghly River shore and by the Howrah Bridge

Early morning scene, down by the Hooghly River and the Howrah Bridge

Men bathing on steps and underneath a tree in a the Hooghly River

Figures bathing in the early morning light, Hooghly River

Hindu shrine on streets of Kolkata

Hindu shrine on streets of Kolkata

People examining mounds of flowers at market

Early morning flower market

Book seller sits in his stall surrounded by books

Book stall in the ‘Neighbourhood of Books’

Man ironing shirt on street stall.

Street ironer doing an immaculate job on my shirt.

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9 thoughts on “Sunrise to sunset: walking Kolkata

    • Thanks Julie – the photos leap out of the camera and the words out of the pen when it comes to walking the streets of Kolkata. Always enjoying contributing to the Elsewhere Journal – some interesting material.

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  1. Oh, I see you sauntered into Kumartuli and College Street too! Are you still there?
    Calcutta is an impossible place, is it not? There are moments when I hate it, yet I do find within myself such deep love for it at unexpected moments. I would not never know how to describe it in simple words.

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    • The local writer, Kushanava Choudhury, seems to have a similar reaction to you. It’s a wonderful city but yes, impossible at times and very intense. Not there anymore. I went to a couple of your suggestions fo restaurants – much enjoyed them. Also went to a restaurant called Arsalan which was lovely. Their house nan speciality was delicious! The only disappointing thing I went to was the Grand Hotel which seems to have lost its air of history judging by my mother’s descriptions of it when she was there in the ’60s.

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      • Did I not mention Arsalan? I recommend it to everybody! It is my utter favourite and I always drop by for a biryani and nan-roganjosh meal every time I am there. My entire family is a convert. I could write poems about the delicate biryanis of Arsalan.

        I would love to read about your mum’s accounts of The Grand. If there is any on your blog.

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      • Sorry for my late reply – been away again! No account of my mother’s time there on the blog but she described it as very colonial. She went there to hand over a dog to an Indian friend, she had acquired it on her way to Kolkata. The staff were all dressed in what I think was that kind of Rajasthani ceremonial tunics and uniforms. She sat in the garden and they fed the dog with a real performance of ceremony, as if it was a special guest. Food and water was brought out on silver trays and prepared. The dog, naturally, devoured the food like a dog does, ie with no sense of ceremony! My mother was sad to say goodbye to the dog but she was leaving the country and she had to find another home for it. She always remembered how beautiful the garden was.

        The biryani at Arsalan was delicious, so beautifully spiced! You didn’t mention it but don’t worry – my hotel was just around the corner. I ate at Arsalan, Then I got chai from the stall on the corner, and sat on the steps of that shopping centre watching the world go by. Great times!

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