Durga Puja: When Kolkata becomes the City of Joy

Almost every culture on the planet has a "triumph of good over evil" story. Most major cities have a monumental festival: Rio has its mesmerizing carnival, Munich its folk festival like Oktoberfest and New Orleans its musical Jazz fest. For Bengalis and Kolkata, it's the essence of Durga Puja, when for 5 days, Kolkata (and its 15 million population) transforms the "good over evil" story to a gala of transcending proportions. This is when Kolkata actually lives its moniker: the City of Joy.  More than religion, it is the celebration of cultural diversity, creativity and any set of beliefs that one can loose themselves in. In fact, one hasn't experienced Kolkata without seeing Durga Puja at least once. (more…)

Travel Photography

The Jordaan: From Rugged Working Class To The Trendy Urban Professional

Amsterdam’s canal belt – the four main arteries of Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht – simply followed a concentric pattern as they were dug out in the early 17th century to give the city room to grow into its Golden Age. It was primarily the houses of wealthy merchants and traders that sprung up these canals and today, this district as a whole is a UNESCO world heritage site. In the same period, the city was also expanding beyond the core ring of canals into a district where the workmen and artisans lived: The Jordaan. (more…)

Travel Photography

Preserving The Pehlwani Tradition in Kolkata

Kushti is an indigenous form of Indian wrestling tracing back three thousand years to the time of “malla-yuddha,” with Mughal refinements added in the 16th century. Kolkata is not a center for kushti like some north Indian towns such as Varanasi, Mathura and Allahabad. Yet, an early morning visit to the akharas behind Mullick Ghat on the banks of the Hooghly can be a novel and refreshing experience for a photographer in the “City of Joy.” (more…)