Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar

Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar
Goddess Jagadhatri, the three-eyed deity synonymous with Devi Durga, but with four hands.
When the entire India (almost to be precise) is done with festive hangover, "Hold on, it's not over yet!", say West Bengal and some regions of Odisha, where Goddess Jagadhatri (or, pronounced as Jagaddhatri) is worshiped right at this time. Jagadhatri Puja can be considered as another Durga Puja, only differences being- idol of Goddess Jagadhatri has four arms, sons and daughters of the Goddess are not worshiped unlike Durga Puja and here She is not killing the buffalo-demon Mahishasura. 'Jagadhatri' means "one who holds the world" and by observing various idols of Jagadhatri I concluded that artistic quotient in Jagadhatri sculptures is marginally higher than Durga in 'Mahishasuramardini' form. In my humble opinion, due to lesser elements compare to Durga, Jagadhatri idols are more pleasing to our eyes and give more creative flexibility to idol artisans. In West Bengal, although Jagadhatri Puja is celebrated in majority of places, the hub of attraction for Jagadhatri Puja has always been Chandannagar, the ex-French-colony, currently a subdivision in Hooghly district, around eighty kilometers away from my hometown Bardhaman.
Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar
Pandal of Uttaranchal Puja Committee portraying the French connection of Chandannagar. 
This year there are more than 200 places in Chandannagar where Jagadhatri Puja is being conducted... yes, a handsome statistic for a town of area 19 square kilometers only! Like Durga Puja, the concept of theme-puja has taken over traditional Jagadhatri Puja as well. Each and every puja organizing committee tries its level best to make the pandal theme more attractive than others to grab appreciation of crowd as well as trophies from sponsors on various parameters like idol decoration, theme, creativity, pandal, environment-friendliness etc. I was quite relieved to note the pro-activeness of puja committees in managing the huge crowd. There were ample volunteers as well as police staffs from the house of state Government to keep the festive air pollution-free from unwanted nuisances. Local people of the region seemed to be quite particular in critically analyzing the efforts of puja committees and freely expressing their opinions. Why won't they... after all the history of Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar dates back even earlier than 1750!
Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar
A Jagadhatri Puja theme at Radhanath Sikdar Rd depicting village neighborhood.
Ideally one should devote a full day and whole night to pandal-hop properly in Chandannagar Jagadhatri Puja, preferably by a judicious combination of walking and auto-rickshaws. I just had an afternoon for that purpose, so obviously I had to whirlwind along streets and bylanes of Chandannagar to get glimpses of as many Jagadhatri idols as I could and capture them in my camera. Good thing is you'll get a Jagadhatri pandal after every 50 meters or less! The lighting decorations are very special there which you can experience only if you pandal hop after the sun sets. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky this time for that either. But if I put it in another way, neither I would have enjoyed the dense crowd post evening hours nor my baby point and shoot camera could capture respectable night shots.
Jagadhatri Puja of Chandannagar
The Jagadhatri Puja pandal of Ambika Athletic Club.
The chief attraction of Chandannagar Jagadhatri Puja is the idol immersion procession on Dashami. If you live nearby or manage to visit the town, be there by the side of GT Road to witness a chain of beautifully decorated colossal idols of Jagadhatri riding on light-clad trucks heading for the idol immersion in the grandest possible manner. This year 57 puja committees would participate in the immersion ceremony procession... imagine what a memorable sight that would be! Another unique thing that I found in Chandannagar puja pandals was a registration number for each of them. On asking local people I came to know that Chandannagar Central Jagadhatri Puja Committee maintains a record of each of them, allotting their respective affiliation numbers. Special trains are also run during Jagadhatri puja days to accommodate increased influx of visitors to Chandannagar. There are ample auto-rickshaws and battery operated vehicles (apart from manual rickshaws of course) to aid to your local transportation. As a modest conclusion, I would highly recommend you to experience the former French colony during Jagadhatri Puja festival. Click on the "Read more" tab to checkout remaining nine photos and I'll come up with another photo story to show you artistic works from various Jagadhatri pandals. See you soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You Say it Best when You Say Nothing at all

You Say it Best when You Say Nothing at all
My sincere apology to Ronan Keating's fans for stealing a famous line from one of his famous songs... look guys, I was desperate for a suitable captain for this portrait and "You Say it Best when You Say Nothing at all" seemed to be the only caption describing my curious boy! Before you point it out let me do the honor myself- I completely understand that this portrait doesn't have much photographic worth, after all it's not even properly focused, but there is extra dosage of innocence in my subject's face and a thin smile, which still makes me wonder even after so many years whether he was happy getting photographed by his weird co-passenger, or he had already mastered the art of being courteous to outsiders! It was captured in a second class sleeper train compartment on the way to Delhi, if I remember correctly, somewhere near Ghaziabad. Some moments leave you with mysteries those make you delusive and provoke you to solve them all in vain. Did I tell you, I'm a Keating's fan too? By the way, a photo story is coming up next... keep guessing the topic my dear friends.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Barabelun Kali Puja and the Village Fair

Barabelun Kali Puja and the Village Fair
A toy seller before the temple, trying his luck with ample blessings from the deity!
Barabelun is an "otherwise not so happening" village, some 27 kilometers away from the city of Bardhaman and its status of being "just another village" in Bardhaman district remains so until the time of Kali Puja every year. The ambiance of Barabelun undergoes a complete metamorphosis during the festive days of Diwali when the famous 24 feet deity, popularly known to devotees as Baro Kali Mata is worshiped with much pomp and galore! A village fair is set up centered around the temple of the Goddess Kali (Baro Ma), and innumerable people, either devotees or simple tourists, visit Barabelun from far away places to get a divine glimpse or to witness the air of celebration which they have been hearing since decades from their ancestors.
Barabelun Kali Puja and the Village Fair
Baro Kali Mata of Barabelun, a closed view. The idol is 24 feet tall!
If you are my regular reader or online friend you might be knowing what a spiritual bankrupt I am! So, the question is- why did I visit Barabelun to pay my homage to the presiding deity? There are three reasons to answer this. I had heard enough of Barabelun Kali Puja tales since my boyhood (Human influence). Barabelun is only 29 kilometers from my house (Sense of guilt as a traveler). And the third justification being, there's not sufficient resource in Internet when I web-searched Barabelun Kali Puja, shifting the responsibility on my shoulders to make a photo story on Barabelun Kali Puja so that others might get benefited in future (Photo blogger's responsibility).
Barabelun Kali Puja and the Village Fair
A merry-go-round puller struggling with his manual business in this era of machines!
After reaching Bhatar, along the Bardhaman-Katwa road, another 5-6 kilometers on the right diversion takes you to the village of Barabelun. You'll find many motorized trio-wheeler vans to drop you to the village from the Bhatar sub-division on a shared basis. Right from Bhatar, the heavy flow of vehicles towards Barabelun hinted the mood of spiritual salsa waiting yet to be unfolded before me. If you're driving your own four-wheeler make it a point to park at least 500 meters away from Baro Kali Mata temple to avoid the possible nuisance you may face while taking your car out. Rule remains the same for motorcycles, may be another 100 meters of relaxation for you. You'll see many enthusiastic drivers plunging into the crowded road (broad lane I guess) but don't compete with them.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
The team of five artists 'Bharti Art' with its main artist Debashis Khan at the middle.
Hi folks, are you enjoying your Diwali? You're glowing but not cracking right? I'll buy 'yes' from your side. If you have read my yesterday's post you must be knowing a bit about "Kali Puja". Yes, we Bengalis worship Goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi on Diwali night. Today's photo story was supposed to be on simple Kali Puja pandal hopping but She seemed to have better plans for this photo blog. This is a photo tale of five theme artists who spent eight days and few sleepless nights to set up and ornament the pandal cum theme for the Kali Puja organized by Millennium Club! It all started yesterday night when I ventured out post-dinner to capture glimpses of Kali Puja in Bardhaman, my hometown. Unlike Durga Puja, pandals and themes of Kali Puja 2014 were not ready one day in advance. All I could see were pandals and idols in their raw forms, hard to believe that those would be ready within next fifteen hours or so.
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Idol of Goddess Kali looks kinda gory, doesn't she? Why to rate violence level in video games then!
Unless you're from press or you're a sponsor, Puja Organizers usually don't give you any special treatment, especially so when they're busy in their last minute charting. When I tried to peep through the curtained ongoing pandal works of Millennium Club, some member cautioned me not to enter and interfere with artists' works. I tried to take few shots from far away just to console my initiative. They turned out to be poor but a good thing happened (so, determination pays!). One of the artists invited me inside to photograph them. He was the head of the 'five-members' artist team, Mr. Debashis Khan. It was voila for me! Other than these seasonal decorative and craft works he is a full time drawing teacher in his village. He has been in that world of sketching and painting since last nine years and yet to open his small drawing school which he aspires for!
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
The main attraction of Millennium Club Kali Puja, design with pieces of vegetables!
The main Puja pandal is fully built and designed with hay. Designs are good enough to be mistaken as jute works! Debashis' gang of five artists took eight days to complete the assignment for which they were commissioned. Apart from the total contract amount (which is quite low for the task but can't blame the club too. I really don't know who's the culprit behind these starving artists in India and their meager valuation!), they were provided cost of five (out of total eight) days of food and accommodation. Last night Debashis requested me to give them another visit in the late hours of morning when they'll be ready with the vegetable decoration. I was not sure whether I could make it. I gave my contact number so that they could collect their photos from my home. But, today morning he called again and asked if I would be able to pay them a visit with my camera. I can avoid human beings... I keep my set of excuses always ready if I have to say 'No'... but it was an artist's call... the creative kid inside me longed to indulge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Goddess Kali getting ready to be Worshiped

Goddess Kali getting ready to be Worshiped
While the rest of India (intentionally kept the 'God-fearing' part silent so as not to piss off my good viewers) worships the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi during the grand occasion of Diwali, we choose to stick to the more powerful deity, Goddess Kali (We Bengalis address her 'Ma Kali') and perform Kali Puja with utmost devotion on the new moon day of the Hindu month of Kartik. Here 'we' refers to the people of Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Mithila region of India as well as Nepal. Apart from 'Kali Puja' we Bengalis also call it 'Shyama Puja', while Maithili people address this event as 'Mahanisha Puja', either way, basic event remains the same- Goddess Kali is worshiped at odd hours of the auspicious night till dawn... worshipers trying to please the Goddess with Tantric rituals, animal blood and many more things beyond my weak understanding. Anyway, this photograph was result of my peep into the idol makers' workshop when the idol making was yet to be started for Kali Puja. Judging from the time, cracks and cobwebs over the clay idol I assume it was built well in advance to cover the last minute rush of idol buyers. Probably I'll be back with glimpses of Kali Puja in Bardhaman, so keep an eye over this clicking space. Wish you all ever lasting glow of happiness, prosperity and love of dear ones in this sparkling Diwali!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glimpses of Patan Durbar Square

Glimpses of Patan Durbar Square
Back to my monochromatic mania with glimpses of Patan Durbar Square of Kathmandu, one of the exquisite tourist attractions that carry interesting tales of history in each and every woody carvings and stones it got! No wonder Patan Durbar Square is also listed as a World Heritage Monument since 1979. Patan, the "City of Fine Arts" is the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley whose history dates back to 570 AD or even before that... hard to believe right? The exquisite artworks and architectural buildings scattered in and around the Patan Durbar Square are from the 16th century and onwards, i.e. during the reign of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla, the first independent Malla dynasty king of Patan. If you're not a Nepali you'll have to pay an entrance fee to get into the complex. Once you're there your camera is sure to run out of battery!
Glimpses of Patan Durbar Square

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Himalayan Shades in Colour

Himalayan Shades in Colour
These are the actual, unaltered color version of those two Himalayan photos I posted yesterday. When a blogger friend expressed interest in seeing them in their color forms I felt kinda guilty for sticking to my monochromatic obsession and decided to post their original copies. I believe adding a slight reddish hue would add up to their beauty, but all I wanted was to show you these scenes as my eyes had witnessed them. Yes, my poor compact camera didn't have a HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, so, some portions of these photographs are darker in an attempt to capture Himalayan shades than what they were in real... but, you know, there's an unexplainable pleasure in posting digitally non-manipulated photos. There has been too many "I"s up till now in this tiny paragraph which needs to be sanctified with a couple of Himalayan quick facts. Would you believe if I say that mighty Himalayan range moves approximately 20 millimeters every year? Scientific studies inferred with this data so better buy it. Have you ever been to Nepal? You better be. Three fourth of Nepal contains parts of Himalaya and boasts of housing nine of the fifteen highest peaks in the world! Travel Nepal and enjoy shades of Himalaya... trust me I haven't taken a cent from Nepal tourism to promote this.
Himalayan Shades in Colour

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Himalayan Shades

Himalayan Shades

Let's highlight some Himalayan facts to boost up your general knowledge. Himalaya is a mountain range comprising more than a hundred 7000+ meters mountains in South Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. Himalaya is bordered on the northwest by the Karakorum and Hindu Kush ranges, on the north by the Tibetan Plateau and on the south by the Indo-Gangetic Plain, crossing five countries on its royal way namely India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Pakistan. Although geologically Himalaya is among the youngest mountain ranges on the planet, three of the world's major rivers rise in the Himalaya and it's also the third largest ice/snow depot, ranking just after crazy polar regions! I know these are all about facts and theories... Himalaya is certainly much more than that... It's the muse of million artists, lure for billion nomads and for me, if heaven exists, Himalaya is the only stairway... If there's no God, no heaven I don't mind, there's Himalaya calling me with her Himalayan shades.
Himalayan Shades

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Native of the stone Fort

A Native of the stone Fort
You'll find pigeons anywhere in India, occupying old structures like official natives. There's absolutely no problem. Pigeons got attractive hues on their plumes... they don't attack human beings... so why am I sounding pissed off? Well, pigeons have a poor control over their bowel and you never know when you get to feel their hot poo over your head while photographing inside an old building! I've a soft corner for birds... I like to capture them in my camera of course... but not pigeons please. Already I (here 'I' is not just I) walk 24/7 saving my head and ass from Government and employer respectively, so, can't take anymore shit over those susceptible parts. I know today I talked off-topic but there wasn't much to say about this pigeon in particular.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Brightest bulb on the Porch

The Brightest bulb on the Porch
There are few jetty lamps, a cloud surrounded moon and a highly illuminated statue (of Rajiv Gandhi) from left to right, in their actual order. Which one do you think is the brightest bulb on the porch? Well, I know my call and I wonder how people consider the moonlight to be dim! The location is Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex of Port Blair, a fun place to spend your late evening while observing the dark sea at one side and the half of the Port Blair population jogging religiously at the other side. If you visit the same park cum jetty in the day time you can enjoy various water sports like water scooter, banana ride, speed boat, or, buy a ticket for island hopping (to nearby sister islands by regular boats), snorkeling, scuba-diving etc. The evening ambiance of the water sports complex was so conducive that for a moment it convinced me to buy a slice of space and relocate to Port Blair! Anyway, back to the original query, which is the brightest bulb on the porch?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Pacific reef Heron of Neil Island

A Pacific reef Heron of Neil Island
He's not practicing how to walk on heels, it is the signature stance for all Herons!
This photo post on a dark grey variety of pacific reef heron from Neil Island is to let my blogger friends and readers know that I actually photographed more things in that earthly paradise other than simply spending "quality photographic hours" which I mentioned in my yesterday's post. Neil Island is a small but extremely picturesque island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located around 40 kilometers north-east of Port Blair. This island used to be the first choice of tourists looking for pristine beach and crystal clear sea water!
A Pacific reef Heron of Neil Island
This is not at all a heron stance... looks more like a vigilant coastal guard or a movie star!
The Pacific reef Heron is commonly found is oceanic regions of India, southeast Asia, Japan, Polynesia, Tasmania and New Zealand. Don't know if you've noticed them but I have spotted a plenty of these herons in rice fields of rural Bengal. If you have fair knowledge on birds please correct my assumption as I admit my weakness in spotting birds.
A Pacific reef Heron of Neil Island
You know why I prefer B&W photography? It's because, characters speak instead of colors.
After finishing the local sightseeing of the island I indulged in coral watching on glass-bottom boat, followed by riding water scooter. You'll be amazed by three shades of greenish blue sea water distinctly separated from one another as if portrayed in an artist's canvas. While waddling on waist-high clear water... feeling pieces of corals under your soft soles... spotting water birds... catching excitements of other tourists... perceiving the warmth in young couples... ah what can be better time-pass for a solo traveler!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photography is another name for Relaxation

Photography is another name for Relaxation
Pardon me folks, I couldn't think of a better caption for this photo than "Photography is another name for Relaxation". I'm always excited to meet enthusiastic point and shooters while I'm vacationing. It'll be a risk-free lie if I say I met this lady photographer and we spent some quality photographic (now keep imagining what can be that!) hours but that would be disrespect to this wonderful art called photography. This lady was fiddling with her point and shoot camera while resting on a big rock. Among many other tourists she wouldn't probably have grabbed my telephoto focus if she took little less time framing the naturally built coral bridge at Neil Island. Like many other similar instances, here also I'd express my wish that she finds her picture in my photo blog someday, so that I may happily send her the original image. Coming back to the coral bridge, yes, nature's unadulterated wonder for tourists... if you're traveling to Andaman you may miss many things but don't miss visiting the Neil Island as a day trip at least!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Qutub Minar still stands tall amidst all Ruins

Qutub Minar still stands tall amidst all Ruins
Qutub Minar was built with red and buff sandstone, chiseled with verses from Holy Quran and of course not to forget the detailed carvings of which this 12th century minaret can still boast of!
Tourists simply love visiting Qutub Minar complex and reasons are plenty. Couple of months ago I had posted a beautiful capture of this gorgeous monument with a small informative paragraph regarding the same, so, I won't repeat those generic facts on this historical architecture and request you to check those few lines by clicking right here. Today I'm posting few more shots of Qutub complex, of course with the Qutub Minar somewhere right or left in the frame... hope you like them. If you don't please oblige me with constructive criticisms. One more thing which I never forget to remind my friends, if you're visiting Qutub Minar keep good time with you. The entire campus well maintained by Archaeological Survey of India is good enough for spending two-three hours either with your camera on or your eyes. After all, Qutub Minar stands tall amidst all ruins in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites!
Qutub Minar still stands tall amidst all Ruins
There are about 379 stairs to climb up to the top of this minar but it's prohibited for visitors. 

Qutub Minar still stands tall amidst all Ruins
Although there's a metro station with the same name I would suggest you to get down at Saket.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mahishasura - the Hunky deity in Hinduism


Mahishasura - the Hunky deity in Hinduism
The Mahishasuramardini form where Mahishasur is getting killed by Devi Durga.

According to ancient Hindu scriptures, the great Mahishasura was the son of asura king Rambha and cursed princess Mahishi who was in the form of a water buffalo. Well, don't ask for explanations as I'm as amused as you're right now... holy shit man! Why would an asura king, who was so damn ambitious and sincere as to penance and earn God's boon, fall in love or make love to a water buffalo? Extreme form of bestiality perhaps! Anyway this photo post was not meant to address mind-molesting theories centered around the origin of Mahishasura but to salute his hunkiness. Sadly, other deities in my religion are happy to be obese and are mostly proud owners of pot bellies or chubby cheeks. None cares to workout! Jokes are over... now let us analyze our minds because we're the ones shaping up those idols, giving fatty images to most revered (and lavishly spent too) Gods and Goddesses... while reserving the eight-pack abs and Greek God like features for mighty Mahishasura, someone whom we love to see getting killed! Isn't it quite contradictory? It'll be hard to believe if anyone of you try to convince me with the idea that Devi's (Goddess Durga or Shakti) hunt should be portrayed in a grand way and that is how Mahishasura earned his hunky look. Then you have to answer me, what made the Goddess overlook Her son getting morbidly obese?
Mahishasura - the Hunky deity in Hinduism
A statue of Mahishasura on Chamundi Hills, Mysore.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Blood Moon coming out of the Eclipse

The Blood Moon coming out of the Eclipse
Blood Moon at 06:07 PM IST
Yesterday, when I clicked the full moon of Sharad Purnima I had no idea that the moon is about to enter a period of total lunar eclipse in next few hours. Thankfully the morning news made me aware of the October Blood Moon, i.e. a total lunar eclipse on 8th October 2014! From a brief internet study I came to know of the ongoing lunar tetrad, four total lunar eclipses in a row, first of which was spotted on 14-15th April this year. Most of the reliable news sources said that today's blood moon would be watchable from North America, Australia, western South America and parts of East Asia. It was satisfying to read that eastern parts of India having greater chances of witnessing the lunar eclipse even if it's for a short time. 
The Blood Moon coming out of the Eclipse
Blood Moon at 06:12 PM IST
So, I was mentally prepared to capture today's much hyped blood moon. But, in the late afternoon I had to go out for a professional call (yes, it was shitty!). When I ran back to my place I could catch a glimpse of the gorgeous blood moon coming out from the curse of her eclipse. Something is better than nothing... right? I didn't waste any time and clicked series of photos in that window of 10-12 minutes, till the moon came out of the black shadow.
The Blood Moon coming out of the Eclipse
Blood Moon at 06:15 PM IST
If you ask me why is it called "Blood Moon", as of now I don't have any reliable answer to your query. The term "Blood Moon" has some connection with Biblical prophecy which says, "The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes" (sounds too scary right?). In my common man's thinking I guess it's the sweet copper red color that earned the moon this mythological-sounding mysterious name "Blood Moon". If you are interested stay ready on 4th April 2015, there'll be another lunar eclipse for you to catch!
The Blood Moon coming out of the Eclipse
Blood Moon at 06:23 PM IST after it's totally out of the lunar eclipse!
If you want to learn how to capture good moon photos with a simple point and shoot camera, click here to read my easy tutorial cum photo story on the same. Clicking the full moon is really fun!

Full Moon of Sharad Purnima

Full Moon of Sharad Purnima
Countless clouds wooing the enigmatic full moon of Sharad Purnima!
The full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin is called the Sharad Purnima, or, Kojagori Purnima in few places of India like- Bengal, Assam, Odisha, where Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped at night, the schedule of which is strictly governed by the Purnima tithi. Although Lakshmi is worshiped in most of the houses at my place (are we really so God loving?) the overall celebration fails to match that of Durga puja which concludes 3-4 days before Lakhshmi Puja. I had already pampered my insomnia due to a late night fiction writing assignment when I realized I could go out in the open and capture the fair and lovely full moon of Sharad Purnima, after all I was yet to overcome the festive hangover of Durga Puja!
Full Moon of Sharad Purnima
Honestly I don't like the closeup moon photos but somehow this urge seems irresistible!
Mosquitoes can never resist my magnetic charm, especially so whenever I try to stabilize my camera either in our garden or on the roof. Eventually I lost my clicking enthusiasm after few quick shots. Here are they for your fun. May the Goddess of wealth and prosperity shower her blessings on you in this Kojagori Purnima night! If you remember I had dedicated a photo story on how to take full moon photos with your modest point and shoot camera. In case you missed that useful photo post, click here to enjoy the scene where clouds are wooing the full moon and learn how to take such moon photos. And, don't forget to check four remaining photographs... they may not be very appealing but I assure you, they're very real and devoid of digital makeups.

Monday, October 6, 2014

When I Shot the Press Photographer

When I Shot the Press Photographer
Relax, don't scream and dial 911 (yes, 911 was intentional because Indian emergency numbers for police and ambulance don't quite respond when you need them the most)... I shot the busy press photographer with my harmless point and shoot camera, no other foul play you see! Well, Durga Puja is not just about artistic idols and innovative pandal designs. Usually, a large number of roadside stalls of various delicious fast-foods, toys, cheap jeweleries, balloons etc are set up around popular puja pandals, in the form of mini-fair grounds where pandal hoppers halt, chitchat and replenish their consumed energy level for further pandal hopping! The stall you can see in this photo was set up outside a puja pandal in Durgapur, selling synthetic feathers and flowers of various colors. The press photographer trying to frame a proper shot with his DSLR caught my attention. He was probably capturing closeup of a flower bouquet while blurring the background. He was too focused onto his viewfinder, completely unaware of my activity... so, didn't waste any time... bang bang, I shot the press photographer!     

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Durga Puja 2014 - Puja Pandals of Durgapur on Vijayadashami

Durga Puja 2014 - Puja Pandals of Durgapur on Vijayadashami
Pardon me, this' not from Durgapur, but suitable in context to 'Sindur Khela' of Vijayadashami!
Today is Vijayadashami (more popularly known as Dussehra throughout India and called Dashain in Nepal), the concluding day of Durga Puja 2014. Probably this is my last photo-story on Durga Puja 2014. I've taken many more photos catching festive mood of people and place, so, I'll be posting them off and on, but not as a part of this exclusive Durga Puja 2014 photo diary. Before I resume this talk please accept my Vijayadashami greetings and if you've some extra time do reciprocate your good wishes which I'm not shy to ask for. In the morning I drove to Durgapur to catch few glimpses of breathtaking Durga Puja themes and magnificent Durga Ma idols. It had been quite sometime since I last undertook a road trip on my own and the fun factor gets multiplied if you're driving on NH-2 which is drivers' paradise considering majority of potholed roads in West Bengal.
Durga Puja 2014 - Puja Pandals of Durgapur on Vijayadashami
Goddess Durga as displayed by Marconi Dakshin Pally.
Almost every year I pay a visit to Durgapur and get mesmerized by all fabulous Durga puja pandals and themes. In my humble opinion, Durgapur is ahead of Bardhaman this time also. I think abundance of large empty lands in Durgapur give them more opportunities to try various permutations and combinations before coming out with the final design of their grand puja pandals, which won't be so easy in over-congested Bardhaman. Among all places I visited in Durgapur today, for me, the best Durga idol was of Marconi Dakshin Pally and the most beautiful pandal/theme was designed by Fuljhore Sarbojanin Durgapuja Committee.

Below you'll find twelve more photos to give you enough glimpses of puja pandals in Durgapur... give me a shout if you like them. In case you missed my other posts of Durga Puja 2014 photo diary here are quick links for you:-
Durga Puja 2014 - Puja Pandals of Durgapur on Vijayadashami
One of the most liked pandals organized by Sector 2C Durgapuja Committee.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Durga Puja 2014 - Glimpses of Puja Pandals in Bardhaman

Durga Puja 2014 - Glimpses of Puja Pandals in Bardhaman
If you look into Her eyes for sometime you tend to forget that you're standing before an idol!
Yes, Anunoy is back with his Durga Puja 2014 photo diary! In the previous post I showed you top four (absolutely my ranking) beautiful Durga Puja pandals of Bardhaman and today I'll be escorting you to few more puja sites where pandal hoppers don't mind waiting in the queue for hours to get a glimpse of the Goddess. Please excuse me for not explaining the term 'Pandal hopping' in the last post, which I realized only after a friend of mine asked in the comment section, "what is pandal hopping?" Wiki says, 'pandal' is a large temporary structure in south Asia erected during various Hindu and Buddhist religious festivals. Pandals are all these big, colorful, artistic structures housing the Goddess Durga which you can see in this as well as the previous photo post. Thus Pandal hopping refers to visiting various pandals located at different places one by one, as a part of Durga Puja celebration with family and friends.
Durga Puja 2014 - Glimpses of Puja Pandals in Bardhaman
The lotus theme Durga idol by Shyamlal Sarbojanin Durgapuja Committee.
If you remember I had told you my reason for pandal hopping at midnight. No, it's not because I'm a batman fan... simply I avoid the maddening crowd and miles long queues of the evening hours. These pandal hopping photos are gains of my Maha Sasthi late night hunt which will give you good glimpses of 2014 Puja pandals in Bardhaman. Somehow, apart from the lotus themed pandal of Shyamlal Sarbojanin Durgapuja committee constructed with disposable thermocol plates, there was not a single place that could win my vote over Durga puja themes of Barsul. It doesn't mean they were not fine specimens of exquisite craftsmanship by puja theme artists. Ok, now enjoy the Durga Puja as celebrated in my hometown with this brief pictorial pandal hopping. I'll be back in no time to resume this Durga puja 2014 photo diary...!
Durga Puja 2014 - Glimpses of Puja Pandals in Bardhaman
Gujarati theme inside the pandal of Khosbagan Sarbojanin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Today is International Day of Older Persons

Today is International Day of Older Persons
How many of you knew that today is International Day of Older Persons? Probably you didn't. Well, since 1991, International Day of Older Persons is being observed every year on 1st October by all member states of United Nations (UN). As this is a photo blog I won't unsheathe unpleasant yet unavoidable issues like geriatric problems, elder abuse etc, but, I would like to remind you that companionship is something often missed by older persons around us and loneliness is a major disease that engulfs old people. So, apart from  catering their tangible needs, give them a slice of your daily time. Money can keep us physically alive but that is not the life we long for... right? I won't even play with your sentiments by reminding you how older persons of today used to babysit you in their good old days, because I'm quite sure if you're reading my blog, your mind is rich enough to recall those. If you find any sense in my scribbles and you agree with my opinion, let's take a pledge to try our bit in driving out loneliness from the lives of older persons living in our families or in our vicinity. I met the old man of the above photograph in Bangalore, when he was lost in some deep thought, outside the tourism office. On a separate note, my Durga Puja 2014 diary is still on... I'll be posting my pandal hopping photos in few hours to give you an idea how we're celebrating Duga Puja in Bardhaman. Have you checked few of those puja photos I had posted earlier?