Monday, 26 October 2015

Zohra Begum Masjid, Tollygunge Circular Road

The Zohra Begum Masjid or Mosque on Tollygunge Circular Road (officially 32 Somnath Lahiri Sarani) came to my notice while doing a photowalk with members of Wikipedia in the Chetla area of South Calcutta (Kolkata). We were photographing the four temple complexes in the area when Indrajit Das took a look at the Municipality’s list of heritage structures and found a Mosque in the list. Curious to find out more, we walked in. We had no idea that we had walked into a property connected with Tipu Sultan of Mysore.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore

Located 13 km away from the city of Mysore, atop the Chamundi Hills, is the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of the Hindu religion. The legend of the Shakti Peethas originates from the story of King Daksha, whose daughter Sati married Lord Shiva against her father’s wishes. Determined to attend a “yajna” at her father’s house, the uninvited Sati did what would today be called gate-crashing. But she was disrespected and humiliated by her father. Unable to bear the insults she immolated herself. The enraged and grief-stricken Shiva picked up the remains of his wife’s body and began the “Tandava”, the dance of destruction, laying waste to all creation. The panicked Gods appealed to Vishnu to intervene and Vishnu using his disc, the “Sudarshan Chakra” severed Sati’s body into multiple pieces. These pieces then landed in various parts of the Indian subcontinent, and in each place there exists today a Shakti Peetha, each spot corresponding to a body part. On the Chamundi Hills, it is said, it was Sati’s hair that fell.


Monday, 12 October 2015

Safed Baradari, Lucknow

I would not have walked into the Safed Baradari of Lucknow if it hadn’t been for my auto driver Dubey, who kept pointing it out every time we went past it. After the 4th time I heard him point to the structure and say “Baradari”, I thought I must investigate, and that is how I came upon this most intriguing structure, with a very chequered history.


Monday, 5 October 2015

General Post Office (GPO), Dalhousie Square

Although the General Post Office or GPO, Calcutta’s (Kolkata) central post office, is one of the city’s best known, and most often photographed heritage buildings, there are many things about it that remain unknown to the general public. Not many people are aware that the spot where the GPO stands today, once stood the Old Fort William of Calcutta, which was the centre of violent battle when the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula laid siege to Calcutta. Even fewer people are aware that a few markers of the siege of Calcutta still remain.