Tag Archives: kolkata street

Walk through graffiti lane, KOLKATA.

Whenever I travel I make sure to squeeze some time for checking out non touristy places of a location. It’s the best way to feel the local vibe unbiased by clean, decorated, post card perfect exhibitions of monuments and museums and markets.

So of all the touristy things that I could have done in Kolkata, I chose to do what I believe in. Chuck the museums and malls, and  wander to  get lost for a while. Lo and behold, I came across lanes full of youth hotels, backpacker stays in narrow alleys around Park street in north Kolkata.

While wandering I did come across a particular set of lanes, which intrigued me enough to deserve their own blog post. Entering deeper into the labyrinth of lanes, after a couple of turns, I was welcomed with a riot of color and art spread over walls on both sides of a walk way.

A little googling later tells me that not many people are aware of the graffiti lane near Park street.

Graffiti as an art form is not an Indian creations. Yes, we have been painting walls since stone age. But graffiti gained identity in the west as a means to shout out thoughts of the common man. More so in days before Twitter and Facebook, very few means of expression could make common man heard.

So where mostly these days public walls are littered with ugly political slogans, here was some dash of color, intellect and comic relief for public display where it is not really expected.

I had fun clicking them and enjoying the mind of the artist. Here’s your turn to have a look.

P.S. if anyone can tell me who are the artists, I’d be thankful.

cheers..!

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A day at Kumartuli.

Once upon a time long long ago the East India Company won the battle of Plassey and entered Calcutta. They decided to set up colony on the river banks of river Ganga. It was decided that a separate district would be allotted to the works-men collecting people of similar profession at one location. Hence Coomartolly or present day Kumartuli was born.

Today Kumartuli is home to potters from all over Calcutta. They furnish idols of Gods and Goddesses, primarily Durga idols. Their creations are not only the backbone of Durga puja celebration in India but also around the world. The idols are made mostly from clay and straw which is environment friendly too.

Kumartuli is also on any photographer’s map visiting Kolkata.  The artisans are lesser known hard working souls who toil for many hours a day for months at stretch to make a decent living. Be sure to tip them if required and get the photo clicking permit for rs. 10 and rs. 60 from one of the offices.

It is an intriguing experience to see these idols being made. We are used to seeing the intact human form in everyday life. What makes a stroll through a potter’s studio exciting is the sight of life like separate heads collected in one corner. Headless bodies being crafted at a different place. Straw made statues being layered with clay. Painters working to color the skin, then the clothes. Elegant dresses being draped on these life like idols.

It almost felt like one of those heads in the artisan’s head was smiling for real. Like those idols would move when no one’s watching. Like the asuras were actually froze while being killed by Durga ma. And the smile and eyes of Durga idols nothing less than hypnotic.

I was lucky to have been there  around Mahalaya, the first day of Durga puja. It is a very auspicious day for Bengalis. Its also the day when eyes of the Durga idols are painted. It symbolizes breathing of life into those idols. Certainly the idols did feel lifeless so far, but spookily real once the eyes came to life.

I’ll leave you with my favorite pictures from the walk.

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Your’s truly being a cooli…! 🙂

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