If winter in Kolkata is a tease, an Andaman winter is a myth. Temperatures in late December and early January remain at a warm 25 to 28 degrees. This is the first stark difference you experience, as a man shivering at the Calcutta Airport two hours ago, the moment you step out of the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair.
Andaman is an unbelievably beautiful place. This was my first time on a trip to an island, and I absolutely loved it. The Andaman archipelago is dotted with several islands, 572 to be exact, with only 37 of them being inhabited by humans. The islands are home to some of the most glaring relics of British dominance over colonized India, as well as provide mesmerizing avenues for natural beauty with flourishing beaches, mangrove forests, lush green vegetation and surrounding it, a sea that seems to keep changing colour from emerald to blue to almost a thick black. It is this sight of black waters from ships that brought inmates to the Cellular Jail in colonial times that gives Andaman the name “Kalapani”. Continue reading →
“Betrayed by his own Commander-in-Chief, Mir Jafar, Siraj ud-Daulah lost the Battle of Plassey on 23rd June, 1757, and subsequently the administration of Bengal fell into the hands of the East India Company.”
Murshidabad resonates with the air of royalty even today. The pride in being the last region to remain independent before British imperialism set in, coupled with the anger at the betrayal by their own commander is palpable in the sights, sounds and smell of the place. Relics of the glory days remain in the forms of palaces that once housed the mightiest Nawabs, the largest Imambara in India and mosques and religious sites galore. Continue reading →
Mukutmanipur is a small, picturesque town in the Bengal district of Bankura, with its main attractions being a large dam that channelizes water to different adjoining districts and the point of confluence of the two rivers Kangsabati and Kumari. Mukutmanipur has been a favourite weekend getaway for a lot of people in Bengal and beyond. Continue reading →
Bishnupur is a town in Bankura, West Bengal, famous for its terracotta temples, Baluchari sarees and the Bishnupur Gharana of Hindustani Classical Music. For close to a thousand years, Bishnupur was the capital of the Malla empire. The Malla kings were Vaishnavites, and it is during their reign that Bishnupur’s characteristic terracotta temples and structures were built, most of them around 400-500 years old. Continue reading →
It has been quite some time since I visited the hills, the last destination being Gangtok and adjoining areas of Sikkim. So when Anirban da asked me to join him on a short Darjeeling trip, I was thrilled. Twenty seven grueling hours on a super-late bus to Siliguri, earthquakes, reports of landslides and a three hour drive later, I had actual reason to be thrilled.
The atmosphere at Darjeeling was magical. The mist, the gentle rain, the wind all combined to engulf us in a welcoming envelope of happiness. Taking a break from the sultry climate of Kolkata, it was exhilarating to feel the cold breeze brushing across my face. The scenery, of course, was breathtaking, with the hills at a distance partly shrouded in fog, and the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds.