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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Explore the Ghats of Kolkata

                                                          The Ghats????
 "The Ghats are a series of steps leading to a water body (river).There were around forty one ships of the East India Company which moved in and out of Calcutta, the need of Ghats or wharfs became necessary, the east India Company used to operate from the old fort william (now the site of the G.P.O at B.B.D Bag) therefore the English built the first Ghat or the wharf in 1710."

So by now you should know where I am heading? Yes, I am heading to explore some of the Ghats on the River Hoogly.

 Kolkata looks more voluptuous and fresh in the morning , It is best time to visit these placid Ghats in the early part of the morn. I started from Home very early, accompanied by a friend of mine. The street were bathed with the heavy downpour of the previous night, we drove through the bypass, the road was quite and I could feel the fresh breeze assaulting my face, I love the smell of the earth; as If mother nature is cooking its favourite food.

                                                   Sweetened tea in clay cups
These rickshaw pullers are sipping the early morning tea.

Like most of them I usually start my day with a cup of Coffee or sweetened tea, It is easy to find a tea shop in Kolkata, we stopped at one of the tea shops in North Kolkata, had tea in the bhar (earthen tea cup)and nibbled on few biscuits, here we met some rickshaw pullers having tea, One will be surprised to know that tea- shop owner earns I.N.R 1000 per day which is equivalent to the Salary of an M.B.A working for some multinational company. Many a times I heard this phrase” money flies in Kolkata ...and one needs to catch it” now I know why they say so....

We crossed the Famous Nimtalla Ghat or the burning Ghat of the Hindus, I had no intention to Visit this Ghat as I was reluctant to watch people mourning and crying for their lost beloved. We parked our car close to this Ghat and walked towards the adjacent Ghat, for a moment I felt as If I lived in a Village, where I could see men,women and children bathing, the wooden boats or budgerous , the fishermen busy with fishing nets and the greedy crows hovering over the fresh fish for a royal breakfast, this was the view I was longing for, here I captured some beautiful picture.

         Ferries carry passengers to and fro the River from early morn to late evening

Crows hovering over the fresh fish for a royal breakfast.

The Howrah Bridge is India’s biggest, world’s busiest, and longest single span and the third longest cantilever bridge in the world.

The Floating Pontoon Bridge was built in 1874 by Sir Bradford Leslie over this riverHoogly. It would become very steep during monsoon and the Bullock-carts found it difficult to move across and there were more traffic Jams during the rains therefore the English Government came up with the Idea of Howrah Bridge in 1875. Its original purpose was to facilitate military transportation between Kolkata and the industrial town of Howrah during World War II.
      The Floating Pontoon bridge or as I call it the Baby Howrah Bridge :-)

This Bridge was unfastened everyday, particularly during the night for safe passage of steamers, boats and other marine vehicles during the British Raj.

Imagine the City without the Howrah Bridge? The Howrah Bridge: A great legacy left to Indian by British engineers.

Each Ghat has a Temple dedicated to some Deity or God, after taking a holy dip in the river the Hindus offer prayers in these temple, there are separate changing rooms and wash rooms for men and women in each of the Ghats. Yes, Hygiene again is a big concern here.

                                         Temple of Lord Hanuman at the Ghat

Temple of Lord Rama

          My friend had asked me to pose for this pic with the Howrah bridge behind me

I had zoomed the lens of my camera for a closer view of one of the busiest bridges of the world, the red colour building is the famous Howrah station, again one of the busiest junctions of the eastern Railways.

                                                 Changing room at the ghat

                                       changing rooms at the Ghat

                                               Pay toilets at the Ghats

after taking a walk through the Jagganatha Ghat we came back to our car and set off to explore the streets of old Kolkata once called the Black Town by the English.

                                    We passed by this temple amidst the busy streets of Kolkata....

The Vaykunthnath temple built in a south India style, this temple was built by the Bhangar family dedicated to  lord Vishnu.       

Now heading towards the decorators lane.... Old Calcutta is a collection of Beautiful houses.