Monday, 28 September 2015

Chota Imambara, Lucknow

Lucknow’s Chota Imambara, also known as the Hussainabad Imambara is located a short distance away from the much larger Bara Imambara. An Imambara, also referred to as a Hussainia, an Ashurkhana or Imambargah, is a congregation hall for Shia commemoration ceremonies, especially those associated with the Remembrance of Muharram. The Nawabs of Lucknow, being originally from Iran, were Shia Muslims and Lucknow remains a predominantly Shia city. But while the Chota Imambara is indeed “chota” or small, it is magnificent and opulent in its own way.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Bengali War Memorial, College Square

Not too many Bengalis in Calcutta (Kolkata) know of the Bengali War Memorial in College Square. The marble monument was raised to honour the memory of the soldiers of the 49th Bengali Regiment, the only British Indian Army regiment to consist entirely of ethnic Bengalis, that would go on to serve in the Mesopotamia theatre of WWI.


Monday, 14 September 2015

Toong On Church (Chinese Temple) & Nanking Restaurant, Blackburn Lane

The quaint little red and white building on Blackburn Lane, in Calcutta’s (Kolkata) Tiretta Bazar (now also known as Poddar Court) area, housing the Toong On Church, a Chinese temple to the warrior God Kwan-Ti, was also once home to Nanking, Calcutta’s first Chinese Restaurant. The building has survived against all odds and is today part of the restoration efforts spearheaded by The Cha Project, which seeks to revive Tiretta Bazar, Calcutta’s first Chinatown.


Monday, 7 September 2015

Temple Chambers, Old Post Office Street

When I chanced upon Temple Chambers for the first time on my walk through Esplanade Row West in Calcutta (Kolkata), I didn’t even realize I was looking at a heritage building, leave alone a heritage building designed by Vincent J. Esch, who went on to work on the Victoria Memorial. For all its history, Temple Chambers is a rather shabby looking building, at least on the outside. It is clear that it was once quite something to look at, but now the signs of neglect are everywhere. Parts of the exterior of the building have been appropriated by squatters and pavement dwellers. The exterior has received a coat of cement but is devoid of any paint. And yet, Temple Chambers continues to serve some of the most powerful people in the city of Calcutta.