Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, October 13, 2016

City Tour Of Kolkata And The Beginning Of Our Ganges Cruise

On Thursday, October 13 we toured Kolkata. A city of vast contrasts, Kolkata is the "cultural capital," according to our tour guide Asif, while Mumbai is the "economic center," and Delhi is the political capital. From shanties to large 19th century British-built banks and company buildings, the city is full of interesting views. Highlights included St. John's Anglican church, and the nearby monument to the infamous "Black Hole of Calcutta," and the Queen Victoria Memorial Museum, a vast edifice started in 1902 by Lord CurZon, Governor of Kolkata at the time. In late afternoon, our riverboat slowed down at the shore, where the sanpan took us to Bandel, a village famed for the Hoogly Imambaara, a large Muslim center built in West Bengal from 1841-1861. It was donated by a philanthropist, the devout Haagi Mohammad Mohsin. The complex includes a grand courtyard, a large mosque, a school or madrassa, and housing for pilgrims. One could sense the site's past grandeur, but only now is restoration starting. After our fine guide Asif explained the architecture and beliefs of Shiite Muslims, he took us to a nearby village street. There a man with a cart was making a local treat. In a small puff of flour, a hole was punched and filled with chickpea, coriander, pepper and chili, then soaked in spicy, sour tamarind water. People pop these treats into their mouths for a taste sensation. - Dan

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