I was just waiting for the event because the last edition of this event gave me a wonderful exuberant experience. Last week of November, suddenly I got an invitation from the Wikipedia event page in Facebook that again they are conducting 4th edition of Wikipedia Takes Kolkata photo scavenging event here in Kolkata. But this time, it would be conducted in the southern part of Kolkata, in Tollygunge area. Tollygunge is already famous outside for Bengali Film Industry but for this time it will be more famous for Temples, Marvelous Architectures, and History. Our rendezvous was Tollygunge Phari as It is a famous Tollygunge Crossing so that participants could reach easily. Again my whole and sole companion throughout the Wikipedia/Wikimedia Photowalk event was Sumit but this time Samrat unable to make it because he is in Hobart, now. I missed his presence throughout. Before I get into anything, here is the list of tentative places would cover in the photo walk.
• Boro Rasbari (Bowali Mondal)
• Chhoto Rasbari (Bowali Mondal)
• Lakshmi Janardan Mandir (Bowali Mondal)
• Dwadash Shiv Mandir (Chandra)
• Smashan Ghat
We reached at Tollygunge Phari around 7:15 AM and started waiting for the other participants. I was just a little excited to meet old fellow photographers after a long time. I met with them just once in the last Wikipedia/Wikimedia Takes Kolkata 3 event. Although, we keep in touch with each other because most of them are now my Facebook friends. One by one expected faces are started coming, I would like to mention few names. I was just expecting them, like Rangan Da, Kalyan, Subhojit, Aurobindo, Biswarup Da, Deepanjan, Santanu Da, Sujay Da, Arup but few people disappointed me, as they couldn’t join us, mainly Ayan, Sukanto, and Probuddho.
Oh thank God, I remember them and mentioned their name without brainstorming, Fact, I missed them a lot.
- First Hindu Temple complex we visited, around 400m from Chetla Road (Across the Adi Ganga Bridge), it is a Nabaratna Temple of Radhabinode (A Manifestation of Krishna). It is a huge Temple complex, inside the private residence of Mondal Family. This family is famous as Bawali Mondal Family and this Temple complex belongs to them and the road where Temple is located, is named after the Mondal family, Address of the Temple Complex is 1A, Mondal Temple Lane (Kolkata Municipal Corporation Assesse No-110810700014) This Temple was built by Ramnath Mondal (Also of a Bowali Mondal Family) around 1797 (A plaque at the Temple mentioned 1718 Sakabdo). There is beautifully designed Terracotta work on the roof of the Temple but it needs Telephoto lens to capture as well as see the work. Front of the temple there is a big-sized “Natmandir” and Dol-Mancha (Which is almost run down).
- Second Hindu Temple we visited, called Choto Rasbari from the same Bowali Mondal family and built by Peary Mondal in 1847. It’s popularly known as Choto or Junior Rasbari and address of the Temple complex is 93, Tollygunge Road, Kolkata. It’s also a manifestation of Krishna. The Ras-Mandir is built-in Panch-Ratna or Five Towered style and consist of 12 Shiva (God Shiv) Mandir or temples. This temple complex includes a Ghat and is on the bank of Adi Ganga or Ganges. I must mention here this temple complex needs urgent attention for renovation. Negligence is everywhere but due to non-maintenance, an ancient feel is still present.
- Third Hindu Temple we visited, called Bara Rasbari from the same Bowali Mondal family, was built by Uday Narayan Mondal around 1835-36. It is popularly known as Bara Rasbari and Address of the Temple complex is 78, Tollygunge Road, Kolkata. It’s also a manifestation of Krishna and Temple is in Ath-Chala style, has a massive Nat-Mandir and consists of 14 Shiva (God Shiv) Mandir or temples inside the huge complex. It is a huge temple complex, outstandingly neglected, almost 14 Shiva temples are dilapidated.
We stayed there for more than half an hour and in between Kalyan Sarkar demonstrate the newcomers about Wikipedia contribution. I had little knowledge about the place so I started referring few documents in my iPad. I discover from my documents that there is another Temple situated nearby and also a mosque is there. So I straight away suggested others, to include these place in the walk. Some of them asked about the documents I am referring to, so I told them about the same. All agreed to my proposal. Instead of going to Dwadash Shiv Mandir, we started searching for another temple and I provided them with the address of the temple and mosque as well. But before we began searching operation, everybody was so hungry that we opt out to have food. My stomach rumbled for food but I avoid street food, so I had some biscuits to satisfy my gastro instinct. Others enjoyed with Kachauri and Bengali sweets. After gaining an extra bit of energy from Breakfast around 11 am, suddenly all become very enthusiastic to explore newly added spots.
- Finally, we found another Hindu temple called Mathur Sha Mandir. It is located inside a Modern Flat Complex and well maintained but lost the charm of the old feeling. Initially, the security personnel of the Flat Complex won’t allow us to photographed the temple, as usual, for some silly reasons. I felt, he misbehaved with us. After talking to the officials of the Flat Complex, finally, they allowed us to take photographs.
- After a few minutes of walk, we found Zohra Begum Mosque/Masjid. They gladly, allowed us to take photographs. Address of the mosque is 32, Somnath Lahiri Sarani (Tollygunge Circular Road), Kolkata. We got a warm welcome from them and one person told us, that Mosque was built during Tipu Sultan time. It was very well maintained, even very colourful Mosque and there was an impression of some construction works still going on. I went up to the roof of the Mosque and found a newly made beautifully designed Minar. According to KMC Heritage list, this mosque is a Grade I Heritage. As per the rule, one cannot alter or renovate Grade I heritage but here I noticed new constructions inside the premises.
- Our next stop was Dwadash Shiv Mandir of the Chandra family. The Beautiful temple consists of 12 Shiva temples and it was built around 1852. Pigeons are one of the main attraction, just go through my photograph, you will get to know.
- The next and last spot were Burning Ghat, Known as Tarpan Burning Ghat. Here I took some photographs but have little knowledge about this place. So, I am not able to furnish any further information about this but trying to gather information on the same and would update once I get it.
It was an exuberant experience, especially when it is about documentation photography and now waiting for the next event to come. Would like to thank all of you for reading my lines and watching my photographs.
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