Thursday, 22 October 2009

Over The Top

Clouds few thousands feet above the earth


Monday, 19 October 2009

Feeding monkeys in India


Monkey is considered sacred in India. Pilgrims as shown above often feed these monkeys near temple india. Monkeys are seen as a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman by many Hindus, who feed them and are prohibited from killing them by their religion.




I have seen people as young as 5 years kids were  feeding monkey near Dakhineswar Kali temple. Parents also encourage their children to feed these sacred monkeys

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dakhineswar Kali Temple Kolkata


It was fairly cloudy and humid day when started my journey to Dakhineswar Kali temple. The temple is situated on the other side of the Hooghly river. One has to go Belur Math by bus from Howrah station and then walk through the Belur Math and cross the Hooghly river by boat or one can go by road via Jubilee bridge, which connects one end of Hooghly river to the other end.




Unlike Kalight temple, this temple is free from corrupted temple priest, one can buy prasad for the goddess and go straight to temple and offer prayer to the kali goddess.



From History

In the year 1847, Rani Rashmoni, a wealthy zamindari widow prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred Hindu city of Kashi to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. Rani was to travel in twenty four boats, carrying relatives, servants and supplies. According to traditional accounts, the night before the pilgrimage began, Rashmoni had a vision of the Divine Mother, in the form of the goddess Kali in a dream and reportedly said

Profoundly affected by the dream, Rani immediately looked for and purchased land, and promptly began construction of the temple. The large temple complex was built between 1847 and 1855.

The 20 acre plot was bought from an Englishman, John Hastie and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha, partly old Muslim burial ground shaped like a tortoise, considered befitting for the worship of Shakti according to Tantra traditions, it took eight years and nine hundred thousand rupees to complete the construction, and finally the idol of Goddess Kali was installed 31st May 1855, amid festivities at the temple formally known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay as the head priest; soon his younger brother Gadai or Gadadhar (later known as Ramakrishna) moved in and so did nephew Hriday to assist him.

The next year, Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay died, the position was given to Ramakrishna, along with his wife Sarada Devi, who stayed in the south side of the Nahabat (music room), in a small room on the ground floor, which now a shrine dedicated to her.
From then until his death 30 years later in 1886, Ramakrishna was responsible for bringing much in the way of both fame and pilgrims to the temple.(wikipedia)


Asitagirisamam syat kaijalam sindhupatre  
Surataruvarasakha lekhanipatramurvi
Likhati yadi grihitva Sarada sarvakalam
Tadapi tava gunanamisa param na yati


which means: "Oh Lord, if the blue mountian be the ink, the ocean the ink-pot, the biggest branch of the heavenly tree be the pen, the earth the writing leaf and taking these if Sarada, the goddess of learning, writes for eternity, even then the limit of Your virtues will not be reached


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Belur Math, Kolkata




Temple Near Belur Math Kolkata

Belur Math was established by Swami Vivekananda in 1897. One can get bus/taxi from Howrah train station  for Belur. It would cost 6 rupees in Bus and would take half an hour to reach at Belur.

View of the temple from Hooghly River

It is a great place near kolkata to visit, one could get away from busy city life of Kolkata and enjoy a peace and quiet day at Belur Math.




The Swami Vivekananda Temple stands on the spot where Swami Vivekananda’s mortal remains were cremated in 1902. Consecrated on 28 January 1924, the temple has in its upper storey an alabaster OM (in Bengali characters). Beside the temple stands a bel (bilva) tree in the place of the original bel tree under which Swami Vivekananda used to sit and near which, according to his wish, his body was cremated. On July 4, 1902 at Belur Math, he taught Vedanta philosophy to some pupils in the morning. He had a walk with Swami Premananda, a brother-disciple, and gave him instructions concerning the future of the Ramakrishna Math. He passed away in the evening after a session of prayer at Belur Math. He was 39. Vivekananda had fulfilled his own prophecy of not living to be forty-years old. (Wikipedia)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Hooghly River near Belur Math India

Bank of The River Hooghly near Belur Math

The Hooghly river is one of the sacred river of West Bengal. One need to cross this river either by bridge or by small boats to go to Dakhineswar Kali temple, which is located on the other side of this river. It is one of the branch river of the great indian river the Ganges. The river's average depth is 200 feet (61 m) and maximum depth is 381 feet (116 m).

 

In its upper reaches the river is generally known as the Bhāgirathi, until it reaches Hooghly. The word Bhāgirathi literally means "caused by Bhagiratha", a mythical Sagar Dynasty prince who was instrumental in bringing the river Ganga from the heavens on to the earth, in order to release his 60,000 grand-uncles from a curse of the saint Kapila. (wikipedia)


Jubilee Bridge over Hooghly river


Sunday, 11 October 2009

Howrah Train Station, Kolkata

Howrah Train Station, Kolkata

Howrah train station was built in 1854. The station was initially built to link coalfields in Bardhaman district of West Bengal to Howrah in 1854.

There are currently 23 platforms in Howrah Station. It is slated to get an additional 15 platform tracks north of the current station in the next decade to bring it up to a total of 37 platform tracks.

 

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Howrah Bridge Kolkata

Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

Howrah Bridge connects Howrah to Kolkata. It is one of the busiest bridge of world. The New Howrah Bridge was built between 1937 and 1943 and had a single 450 m span. It is technically a cantilever truss bridge, constructed entirely by riveting, without nuts or bolts. It is currently used as a road bridge, but previously had a tram route as well. On 14 June 1965 it was renamed Rabindra Setu, after Rabindranath Tagore a great poet and the first Indian Nobel laureate. However it is still popularly known as the Howrah Bridge. (Source:Wikipedia)



St John Ambulance near Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

Friday, 9 October 2009

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Travel To Kalighat Temple India


Kalighat is regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peethams of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell.

Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Svayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshipping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.

Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kaali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.


I reached at kalighat on a hot and humid afternoon. The moment i arrived near the Kali Temple i was approached by numerous hawker priests (A special kinds of priests stand near most of the Indian Temples and try to persuade people use their service with hefty fees). Now i was approached by several of them on my way to the Kali temple, until now i have successfully avoided them. But finally when i reached at the temple i was trapped by one of the temple priest, who promised me to use his service for 51 rupees (Now you may ask why 51 rupees, because Hindus generally offer odd numbers to their God, that's why you could offer 11, 21, 21 501 etc amount of money to God).

Now the priest took me to a mithai shop (A shop which sells several offering which can be offered to the God) asked me to remove my shoes and keep in the safe custody of mithai wallh. The temple authority have not bothered to put up a shoe stand near the temple, so many devotees coming from far off places like me often fall prey to these illegal priests and mithai wallahs near the temple.

After keeping my shoes at the shop, he asked me to buy offering from the shop, when i said i was not interested in buying sweets from the shop, the priest told me that in that case the shop keeper would not allow me to keep my shoes inside his shop. Therefore i was kind of forced to buy sweet from that shop only. He asked me to buy 51 rupees of sweets for the God, after bargaining for sweets for few minutes with the shop keeper, he agreed to give me sweets in just 11 rupees.

He led to another shop to buy flowers and colours for God for 21 rupees.  Now we are on our way to offer prayer to God. There were lots of people patiently waiting in the queues to see God. I wished i could not have trapped by the temple priest and i would rather wait outside until my turn to see God.

Anyway, we went near the main temple, the priest told me to wait behind the door, then the priest went and talked to a police man, who was guarding at the temple gate. The priest then came out after his talk with police and asked me to give him 10 rupees. I gave him 10 rupees which he quickly delivered to the police man. The police man then let us go inside the temple.

The temple was very congested and it is the worst managed temple of India. There were no queuing inside the temple. Although there were 20 people inside the temple i felt like breathless because lack of space inside the temple. People push each other freely within the temple. There were many women and children inside the temple but people do not care about anything. It looked like it was fun in creating chaos inside the temple.

The priest told me stand aside and asked me to rush when they open the temple door. In the mean time he said some prayers and asked me to repeat and then he got red colour from the temple wall and painted the colour on my forehead.

I waited nearly 10 minutes, after that i rushed in to see God and after standing in the hassle & bustle for 5 minutes i decided to leave. The priest then took me to another place and introduced me to his Guru. Now everything here is very well managed to cheat foreigners. As soon as stand near Guru, an old man came and told him that the man which Guru blessed earlier has given him 501 rupees. He handed over the money to Guru. The man who gave money to Guru, he was a kind of making an impression to me that large amounts of money is given to Guru. Anyway, Guru asked my name and offered a prayer and asked me to repeat after him. Then he asked me touch the dirt and told me that it was the sacred earth of Mother Kali (the Goddess). After the brief puja with Guru, he asked me to pay Daskhina (Money for Blessing) of 501 rupees. Here again after little bargaining  i paid him 100 rupees.

Then we returned from the temple, oh yes on my way back, some one gave me a sacred thread and i paid him 2 rupees. We went to the shop, the priest asked me to pay 10 rupees to the lady for safe keeping my shoes, but i paid him 5 rupees. It was the time to pay the priest and head for home. Now the priest told me that his fee was 101 rupees but again after bargaining for few minutes, i pissed off & after paying him 51 rupees and promised myself not to pay a single penny to anyone in any indian temple.





Everyone is corrupted in this place called Kalighat in Calcutta (Kolkata) India. So my advice is; don't go to Kalighat temple unless you know what exactly you would be doing there. And always avoid illegal priests at the temple. The places like Kalighat are infested with corrupt individual in India, Beware of these people before you make your trip to these places.

Jai Maa Kali (Hail to mother Kali (Goddess))



Kali Temple Road

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Kolkata


Kolkata once known as Calcutta was once capital of India. The city has many names: "Cultural Capital of India", "The city of Processions, "City of Joy" and so on. It has also been a home to many luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa and Satyajit Ray.

Public Transport in Kolkata is provided by Trams, Kolkata Metro and buses. Auto Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws and taxis are some other common modes of transport. For long distance travel, Kolkata has two railway stations, Howrah Station and Sealdah and one airport, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport at Dum Dum.

Kolkata has beautiful colonial buildings and heritage structures. Established in 1814, the Indian Museum is the oldest museum in Asia and houses vast collection of Indian natural history and Indian art. The Victoria Memorial, one of the major tourist attractions in Kolkata, has a museum documenting the city's history. Other important buildings in Kolkata are Belvedere Estate, Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Marble Palace, National Library of India, Raj Bhavan, Shaheed Minar and Writers' building.

Dharamtolla Street, Kolkata

Till the 17th century, Kolkata was nothing more than a village. But, today it is one of the major metropolitan cities of India along with Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The credit for its present status goes to the expansion plans of the European powers, especially the British Raj. Kolkata was once the capital city of British India and also the Gateway to India till 1912.


Park Street



Friday, 2 October 2009

Ig Noble Prize Winners 2009

Veterinary medicine: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK, for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless.


Peace: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.


Biology: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas.


Medicine: Donald L Unger of Thousand Oaks, California, US, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand but not his right hand every day for more than 60 years.


Economics: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa (and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy).


Physics: Katherine K Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, Daniel E Lieberman of Harvard University and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, all in the US, for analytically determining why pregnant women do not tip over.


Chemistry: Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M Castano of Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, for creating diamonds from tequila.


Literature: Ireland's police service for writing and presenting more than 50 traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country - Prawo Jazdy - whose name in Polish means "Driving Licence".


Public Health: Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, US, for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks - one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander.


Mathematics: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers by having his bank print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.
(Source:BBC)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Soiled Bank Notes In India


During my recent train travel in India i got this soiled 5 rupees notes from Indian Railway catering people. You get these soiled notes easily in India and it is difficult to purchase anything with soiled notes. Because most of the shop keepers won't accept these soiled notes.

I heard recently that RBI (Reserve Bank Of India) would issue polymer bank notes to replace paper bank notes very soon, which would obviously be cleaner than paper notes and difficult to counterfeit. But for the time being you could replace soiled notes in any of the government banks in India