A Travellerspoint blog

A bud and 2 leaves

Day 6 Gangtok > Darjeeling

Left Gangtok at 9am / 09:00 for the 98 km journey to Darjeeling by our private van.

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Border crossing at Rangpo as we left Sikkim state with a short wait for JD to deal with the passports.

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Then stopped at the breakfast spot by the Teesta River where we enjoyed the breakfast a couple of days earlier at Hotel Phalguney.

A vegetable wai wai which is veggie noodle or 2 minute noodle 50 rupees / NZ$1.00 / US$0.80 wasn’t enough so I asked for an egg bread omelette 60 rupee / NZ$1.25 / US$0.90 and a cup of warming milk tea 20 rupees / NZ$0.40 / US$0.30. Just 130 rupees / NZ$2.70 / US$2.00 for all.

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The reflection by the 2 rocks wasn’t the same as the river must be flowing faster.

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The guys were still building next to the restaurant. The method of a person pulling on a rope attached to a shovel with another person at the end of the shovel was common.

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From here it was a 3 hour drive back towards Kalimpong through to Darjeeling with a photo stop at Lovers Meet overlooking the confluence of the Teesta River and Rangeet River.

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Tova, Joe, Ken, Robyn, Sally, Ngaire, Hans

Tova, Joe, Ken, Robyn, Sally, Ngaire, Hans

Tova, Joe, Robyn, Ken, Ngaire, Sally - JD in front

Tova, Joe, Robyn, Ken, Ngaire, Sally - JD in front

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Shekhar our wonderful driver

Onwards to Darjeeling.

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Checked in to Krishna Residency and a plate of Singapore Chow Mein 80 rupees / NZ$1.70 / US$1.25 washed down with a cup of milk tea 25 rupees / NZ$0.50 / US$0.40.

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Happy Valley Tea Estate

Opposite the hotel was the 1,212 hectares Happy Valley Tea Estate.

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Being winter nothing was happening, just maintenance. To me it was run down.

“A bud and 2 leaves” ... a phrase that I have heard many times in Sri Lanka when I saw their tea industry….

  • Leaves mainly picked mainly in March and April.
  • Spring is the first flush and strongest to the fourth flush or weakest.
  • Withering to remove excess moisture – 60/70 %
  • Rolling
  • Blowing at 32C
  • Oxidation drying 115C 98% DRY NOW
  • White best
  • Green and finally
  • Black tea.

Happy Valley Tea Estate (Bengali: হ্যাপি ভ্যালি চা বাগান) is a tea garden in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Established in 1854, it is Darjeeling's second oldest tea estate. Spread over 177 hectares (440 acres), it is situated at a height of 2,100 metres (6,900ft) above sea level, 3 kilometres / 1.9mile north of Darjeeling, and employs more than 1500 people.

The bushes in the garden are very old — the minimum age is 80 years, and some are 150 years old. Very little re-plantation has been done in the recent past. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Valley_Tea_Estate

https://www.happyvalleytea.com/

https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000025.htm

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Ngaire

Ngaire

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Robyn, Joe, Tova, Ngaire

Robyn, Joe, Tova, Ngaire

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From the top of the tea planation I waited for the group and took this sun set sequence.

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A local had lit on the roadside this small fire.

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Took an evening orientation tour of the town which was essentially a walk through the roadside market stalls and shops.

Potent parcels of areca nuts, lime and tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf

Potent parcels of areca nuts, lime and tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf

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Dinner back at the hotel and for another 80 rupees / NZ$1.70 / US$1.25 Singapore Fried rice came out. Milk tea 25 rupees / NZ$.50 / US$0.40

In hindsight we should have had something to eat at the market! The food at Krishna Residency was not good at all throughout our whole stay!!! Without going back into town there was no nearby alternative.

Posted by bruceontour 01:55 Archived in India Tagged sunset tea_planation Comments (0)

What happened to our lovely made momos?

Day 5 Gangtok > Rumtek Monastery

Along a narrow winding and very bumpy road it was a morning trip to Rumtek Monastery. Thank goodness it was only 24kms away. Trouble we had to take the same route back.

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We had breakfast just opposite the Monastery first and more chicken fried rice 140 rupee / NZ$2.90 / US$2.20 and milk tea 20 rupees / NZ$0.40 / US$0.30 =160 rupee / NZ$3.35 / US$2.50 for me.

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Currently Rumtek Monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim. Checked out the golden stupa containing relics of the 16th Karmapa. No photos were allowed inside but check out these links.

http://www.rumtek.org/index.php?lang=en

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumtek_Monastery

https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000106.htm

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Ngaire, Bruce, Ken, JD, Robyn, Sally, Joe, Tova, Hans

Ngaire, Bruce, Ken, JD, Robyn, Sally, Joe, Tova, Hans

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Our local guide said that people from 5 countries are not permitted into Sikkim: Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Maynmar and Nigeria, though on https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_00015b.htm Nigeria is not listed.

China is only 55 kms away, hence a strong military presence here in Sikkim as we drove around.

I wondered why there were soldiers in the monastery itself. Here is the reason.

Rumtek is at the centre of the Karmapa controversy, with a lengthy battle being played out in the Indian courts. Two rival organisations, each supporting a different candidate for the 17th Karmapa, claim stewardship of the monastery and its contents. The two organisations are the Tsurphu Labrang (supporting Ogyen Trinley Dorje) and the Karmapa Charitable Trust (supporting Trinley Thaye Dorje). Since 1992, the monastery has been the site of pitched battles between monks supporting one candidate or the other.

Neither candidate resides, nor has been enthroned, at Rumtek. Monks supporting Trinley Thaye Dorje (the minority) were thrown out of Rumtek by Indian security forces in order to quell violence between the two factions. Armed Indian soldiers still patrol the monastery to prevent further sectarian violence. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumtek_Monastery

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Rumtek+Monastery&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi5yLurnf3ZAhXMVbwKHdkhAlUQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734

Momo

Momo cooking demonstration back at the hotel and each of us had to make one. Let’s just say that our efforts never came out of the kitchen as I had expected. Anyway we each had a plate made by the chef to eat for our very late lunch. Cabbage, onion, carrot, 50:50 ginger and oil, wheat flour dough, baking powder and tasting powder.

Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with some form of filling. Momo has become a traditional delicacy in Nepal, Tibet and among Nepalese/Tibetan communities in Bhutan as well as people of Sikkim.

A simple white-flour-and-water dough is generally preferred to make the outer momo covering. Sometimes, a little yeast or baking soda is added to give a more doughy texture to the finished product.

Traditionally, momo is prepared with ground/minced meat filling, but over the past several years, this has changed and the fillings have become more elaborate. These days, momo is prepared with virtually any combination of ground meat, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese, soft chhurpi (local hard cheese) and vegetable and meat combinations.
• Meat: Different types of meat fillings are popular in different regions. In Nepal, Tibet, Darjeeling district, Sikkim and Bhutan, pork, chicken, goat meat and buffalo meat are commonly used. In the Himalayan region of Nepal, lamb and yak meat are more common. Minced meat is combined with any or all of the following: onions/shallots, garlic, ginger and cilantro/coriander. Some people also add finely puréed tomatoes and soy sauce.
• Vegetables: Finely chopped cabbage, potato, flat bean (Lilva Kachori) or chayote (iskush) are used as fillings in Nepal.
• Cheese: Usually fresh cheese (Paneer) or the traditional soft chhurpi is used.
• Khoa: Momo filled with milk solids mixed with sugar are popular as dessert in the Kathmandu valley.

The dough is rolled into small circular flat pieces. The filling is then enclosed in the circular dough cover either in a round pocket or in a half-moon or crescent shape. People prefer meat that has a lot of fat because it produces intensively flavored juicy momos. A little oil is sometimes added to the lean ground/minced meat to keep the filling moist and juicy. The dumplings are then cooked by steaming over a soup (either a stock based on bones or vegetables) in a momo-making utensil called mucktoo. The dumplings may also be pan-fried or deep-fried after being steamed.

There are typically two types of momo, steamed and fried. Momo is usually served with a dipping sauce (locally called chutney/achhar), normally made with tomato as the base ingredient. Soup momo is a dish with steamed momo immersed in a meat broth. Pan-fried momo is also known as kothey momo. Steamed momo served in hot sauce is called C-momo. There are also a variety of dumplings of Nepal, including tingmo and thaipo. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momo (food)

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Ngaire

Ngaire

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=momos&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii1JP2m_7ZAhUJErwKHQgrBCkQ_AUICigB&biw=1538&bih=719

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Just happened to be in the hotel restaurant and no I didn't ...

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View from the hotel

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Mahatma Gandhi Marg

A walk along an open air mall Mahatma Gandhi Marg surprised me as I wasn’t expecting anything like this. We could have been in any city. Not the India that I have experienced so far as main city shopping streets are concerned.

https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000116.htm

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Mahatma+Gandhi+Marg+gangtok&tbm=isch

By now I was getting worst and took up the offer of seeing a doctor. 300 rupees/ NZ$6.30 / US$4.65 for consultation plus some medicine (antibiotics, cough medicine) for another 310 rupee / NZ$6.50 / US$4.80 for my annoying cough.

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Taste of Tibet saw us for dinner and I had their House Special Chop Suey 280 rupee / NZ$5.90 / US$4.30.

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Posted by bruceontour 14:23 Archived in India Tagged monastery momo mahatma_gandhi_marg Comments (0)

Where is my heater?

Bollywood movie = Tiger Zinda Hai (Tiger is alive)

Day 4 Kalimpong > Gangtok

The long and winding road downwards from Kalimpong to the Teesta River for the 46 km journey north to Gangtok. Being on the left hand side of the bus, I had marvellous views of the river and hillside scenery with the 9am / 09:00 morning light streaming in from the right. Pity about all the trees and power poles.

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Bridge over to Meli town

Bridge over to Meli town

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Stopped to pump up the bus tyres

Stopped to pump up the bus tyres

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Meli town across the Teesta River

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Wonder how much protection from the cold water those doing the river rafting got besides their life jackets. Local Indians are venturing into the adventure activities having read about it recently.

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Breakfast stop at Hotel Phalguney and the view of the slow moving glacial Teesta River which is the border between West Bengal and Sikkim with a couple of rocks and their reflections was great.

My breakfast was certainly cheap. Just 100 rupees / NZ$2.10 / US$1.60 for Aloo Parotha and the best thing was they came around and topped up my plate again for no extra charge. So that was breakfast and lunch washed down by a cup of milk tea for 20 rupees / NZ$0.40 / US$0.30.

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After breakfast time to head off again.

Had a stop at Rangpo police check post so that JD can complete our entry formalities into Sikkim. Yes, got another stamp in my passport.

Rangpo

Rangpo

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Singtam

Singtam

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Singtam

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Tadong

Tadong

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Arriving in Gangtok at 1pm / 13:00 meant we had to wait an hour before the ropeway / cable car ticket office opened after their lunch break. Just 110 rupees / NZ$2.30 / US$1.70 for the short 10 minute ride to the uphill station for the 6 who wanted to go on it. Robyn and Tova opted not to. Yes, we wanted to get off for a walk around. Look at the bottom right hand NOTICE = Didn’t read the last sentence that was even in UPPER CASE when it said you have to pay for another ticket if you got off. The first sentence did say it was a round trip ticket. Do you think we read ALL of the notices before buying our tickets?

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While we waited went for a short walk around town

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Hans first aboard

Hans first aboard

View from the Ropeway

Gangtok from the ropeway VIDEO 28 sec

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Gangtok from the ropeway VIDEO 23 sec

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So after a brief walk about, we decided to walk back to town and at least it was all downhill! Somehow Hans got a lift by someone passing.

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Maplewood Resort was one of many buildings seemingly perched on the side of the hill. As we drove in Gangtok the city certainly reminded me of my time in Quito, La Paz, Valparaiso, all in South America. Hate to be here if an earthquake struck.

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Orientation Walk can wait till tomorrow as it was off at 5pm / 17:00 to see Tiger Zinda Hai a Bollywood Movie starting at 5.30pm / 17:30. 300 rupees / NZ$6.30 / US$4.65 for the ticket and of course you can not forget a tub of popcorn for 30 rupee / NZ$0.60 / US$0.50.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePO5M5DE01I

A woman on a mission. Watch Zoya unleash the tigress in her, in the song ‘Tera Noor’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGNulc5qhDk

Tiger Zinda Hai (lit.: Tiger is alive), also known as TZH, is a 2017 Indian Hindi-language spy thriller film, directed and co-written by Ali Abbas Zafar. The film stars Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Sajjad Delfrooz in leading roles, with Angad Bedi, Kumud Mishra, Nawab Shah, Girish Karnad and Paresh Rawal in supporting roles. The film is the sequel to the 2012 film Ek Tha Tiger and the second installment of the Tiger film series, and is based on the 2014 abduction of Indian nurses by ISIL.

The first look of the poster was revealed by Salman Khan through his official Twitter account on 18 October 2017 on the occasion of Diwali. The official trailer was released on 7 November. The film was released on 22 December 2017. With a budget of ₹1.5 billion (US$23 million), it is the one of the most expensive Hindi films and one of the most expensive Indian films of all time. It has grossed more than ₹5.5 billion (US$84 million) at the box office, becoming a major commercial success and one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. At the 63rd Filmfare Awards, Tom Struthers won the Filmfare Award for Best Action. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Zinda_Hai

Here are some images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=tiger+zinda+hai&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwje-IPFkv3ZAhWJu7wKHXohDsQQ_AUIDSgE&biw=1536&bih=734&dpr=1.25

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Sitting upstairs in the comfort of our well-padded seats instead of being downstairs where the locals were yelling and clapping when their local hero came on screen. Perhaps it would have been better if we were sitting with them.

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It was nearly 10pm / 22:00 when we had a late dinner. From the resort kitchen came an Egg Biryani 220 rupees / NZ$4.60 / US$3.40 with a cup of hot chocolate to warm one up 80 rupees / NZ$1.50 / US$1.10.

Tova, Ngaire and Robyn

Tova, Ngaire and Robyn

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Another heater but this time it was 150 rupees / NZ$3.20 / US$2.30 per night and we are here for 2 nights. However while I had asked for one when we arrived, come bed time we didn’t get one – didn’t have enough. Naturally I was not impressed at all. (Next night they found one.)

Posted by bruceontour 03:29 Archived in India Tagged cable_car bollywood_movie Comments (0)

Exotic and rare collections of cactus plants

Day 3 Jalpāiguri > Kalimpong

Was awake around 5.30am / 05:30 after a restless night’s sleep as several times during the night the fellow passengers in my compartment changed.

Apparently sometime during the night the train was stationery for an hour and that is why we got in to New Jalpaiguri at 7.35am / 07:35 instead of 6.20am / 06:20.

It was a grey foggy dawn that greeted us as we alighted on the platform. Porters took our bags.

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Chai Chai

Chai Chai

JD negotiating with the porters

JD negotiating with the porters

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Clean windows

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Follow that green Osprey bag!

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We continued by van to Kalimpong.

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A 9am / 09:00 breakfast stop at Highway Hotel, Loha Pul, Birik Forest for a plate of egg chow mein / noddle 160 rupees / NZ$3.40 / US$2.50.

How different was the scenery. Had time to stand in the sun and see the brightly painted vehicles go by.

With the steep hillside, single lane roadway twisting and winding its way alongside the flowing rivers and tributaries, it certainly reminded me of Bhutan which was literally only a valley away anyway.

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Kalimpong is a hill station in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located at an average elevation of 1,250 metres / 4,101ft. The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong district. The Indian Army's 27 Mountain Division is located on the outskirts of the town.

Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. It used to be a gateway in the trade between Tibet and India before China's annexation of Tibet and the Sino-Indian War. Kalimpong and neighbouring Darjeeling were major centres calling for a separate Gorkhaland state in the 1980s, and more recently in 2010.

The municipality sits on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River and is a tourist destination owing to its temperate climate, magnificent Himalayan beauty and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Horticulture is important to Kalimpong: It has a flower market notable for its wide array of orchids; nurseries, which export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers and rhizomes, contribute to the economy of Kalimpong. Home to Nepalis, non-indigenous Lepchas, other ethnic groups and non-native immigrants from other parts of India, the town is a religious centre of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalimpong

Kalimpong is located at an altitude of 4,100ft. Because of its relatively lower altitude compared to Darjeeling or Gangtok, the weather is milder and pleasant for most part of the year.

https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000127.htm

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/west-bengal/kalimpong

https://wikitravel.org/en/Kalimpong

https://www.tourmyindia.com/hill_stations/kalimpong.html

Normally on this tour the train will get in around lunch time. So we had plenty of time after check in for sightseeing firstly at the Pineview Nursery, a private commercial nursery established in 1971. I was surprised to see so many varieties of exotic and rare collections of north, south and central America's cactus plants growing up so high. A real surprise.

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https://1001things.org/pine-view-nursery-kalimpong/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pineview-Nursery-Kalimpong/433968250003927

Here are some more images from their Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=br.AbqToQPHC8xu2DXu7QzBZRHQ4HqDiPDcn-2ToStAiSzyFhkhMP-8YAqOg-a3CqzRs13zlVwocKRGNKk_l39wg8q50I9qy_VKNQ8xBkA0FQA3o5i10RxMqwxWoI8w5Okq6ShfF7PDafWsOrj-nTfeCv_SjKuVv4hmnqRZmFbkRZeMZfjRewM-WmFdnp4LBSSfN05qDnQbeF_8zgKfdOT4Dp6oYoX455k1Va_9vAI_divButLmfdYZPvNmWt28UxP3ado&type=1

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=pineview+nursery+kalimpong&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiS7oCHjfjZAhWMU7wKHZv2BykQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734&dpr=1.25

From here could see Mt Kangchenjunga the highest mountain in India covered in snow.

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Kalimpong

Kalimpong

Kalimpong

Kalimpong

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Then to Durpin Monastery also known as Zang Dog Palri Monastery / Zang Dhok Palri Phodang which is normally not included in this trip but remember because of the change in train timetable we were early arriving here in Kalimpong.

Zang Dhok Palri Phodang is a Buddhist monastery in Kalimpong in West Bengal, India. The monastery is located atop Durpin Hill, one of the two hills of the town. It was consecrated in 1976 by the visiting Dalai Lama.

The monastery houses many rare scriptures that were brought into India after the invasion of Tibet in 1959. It also houses the 108 volumes of the Kangyur. It is also popularly known as the Lava Monastery. The view from the hill-top is breathtaking. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zang_Dhok_Palri_Phodang

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/kalimpong/attractions/durpin-gompa/a/poi-sig/1284685/356542

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Joe

Joe

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A stairway from the side leads up to the top of the monastery and on top of the second floor from the open terrace had a really marvellous view of not only Kalimpong but Mt Kanchenjunga was in the background.

Mt Kangchenjunga is the highest mountain peak in India and ranked third highest summit in the world with an elevation of 8,586m / 28,169ft. See if you can pick out the 5 peaks of which 4 of them are above 8,000m and other is 7,900 m something. It is also called the 5 treasures of snow people of Sikkim and Darjeeling who used to worship this mountain. That is why nobody went on the top of the summit. They had to stop at a point which was marked by the king or you can say the royal family of Sikkim. Thanks JD.

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My opinion is from here there is a much better view of Mt Kangchenjunga than from Pineview Nursery. Add the rolling tea gardens, Teesta and Reang rivers, it was certainly an awesome sight from this viewpoint.

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Then lunch across the road from the hotel at Good’s Garden Retreat with for me the Chef’s Special Fried Rice 155 rupees/ NZ$3.25 / US$2.40 plus a BIG pot of tea to warm me up 120 rupees / NZ$2.50 / US$1.85 = 289 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.50.

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Off for some more sightseeing taking in views of the mountainous scenery with a stop at Deolo Hill, home to the highest point in Kalimpong. Pity we couldn’t enjoy the mountain scenery views because of the haze plus it was getting a bit nippy. With the haziness I’m not surprised that nobody was paragliding. Plus there are so few western tourists around ... perhaps the local domestic tourist paraglide?

Deolo Hill is one of the two hills that the town of Kalimpong stands between. Kalimpong is situated on a ridge connecting the two hills, Durpin and Deolo. The hill is 1,704 metres / 5,590 feet above msl and is the highest point of Kalimpong town.

On a clear day, the snow-clad mountains of West Sikkim are also visible from this hill. At the summit of this hill, there is a park built for recreation purposes which feature exotic flowers. The park is a popular picnic spot for tourists as well as locals. Near the park a Hindu temple is also a visited spot. Overall Deolo provides a panoramic 360 degree view of Kalimpong town and its neighbouring hills. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deolo_Hill

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What does it looks like on a clear day? Here are some images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Deolo+Hill&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLz-HBiPjZAhUIwLwKHWH8BHoQ_AUICigB&biw=1534&bih=728

I am not feeling right 100% with similar symptoms to what I had in Madurai some 10 days ago …. sore throat, then an odd cough every so often and all my muscles and bones feeling weak, no energy and simply “yucky”.

King Thai Hotel back in town right by Kalimpong Market Square and as we walked in their blackboard menu had Chinese BBQ Chicken 150 rupees/ NZ$3.20 / US$2.30 so why not? I kind of expected rice to come with it but not so. It was just the chicken. Masala tea was 150 rupees / NZ$3.20 / US$2.30 equals 300 rupee / NZ$6.30 / US$4.65 all up.

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Mountain View Hotel had no heating so it will be cold night? Hopefully not cold by paying 100 rupees / NZ$2.10 / US$1.50 for a heater.

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Will probably be wearing all my 3 layers of merino and lightweight fleece jacket tomorrow.

Posted by bruceontour 12:06 Archived in India Tagged monastery mt_kangchenjunga Comments (0)

Huge rats, cats, dogs, birds & live sheep in the food market

New Market

Then after hearing about the history of this shopping mecca, officially built in the 1870s and once housed the most important retailers of the British era, it was free time for a short 2 hours so it was into the bowels of the extensive New Market.

New Market is a market in Kolkata situated on Lindsay Street at Free School Street (Mirza Ghalib Street). Although primarily "New Market" referred to the original enclosed market, today in local parlance, the entire shopping area is often known as "New Market".

Despite the appearance of new air-conditioned, American-style, shopping malls all over Kolkata, New Market, which has survived two devastating fires and regular flooding, remains at the core of the shopping experience in the city. Over 2,000 stalls under its roof sell everything from clothing to wheeled luggage to electronics to a special cheese found nowhere else. Under its apparent chaos lie extraordinary finds as well as remarkable bargains. Newmarket is a place to shop for garments & accessories, flowers, different food items including raw meat, fish, vegetables and fruits and even spices. There are crockeries and utensil stores. It also has a florist section dealing with exotic flowers. It is situated on Lindsay Street, Kolkata (Calcutta), just off Chowringhee Road, the market is open 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, until 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Market,_Kolkata

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Marbles ... a universal kids game around the whole world

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I don't think that this hand pulled rickshaw wallah or puller will be going anywhere fast. Just one of many that I saw around the market.

Kolkata is one of the last bastion of the hand pulled rickshaw. There are still about 18,000 rickshaw pullers and 6,000 rickshaws.

Most rickshaws serve people "just a notch above poor" who tend to travel short distances through the narrow & haphazard lanes that are sometimes inaccessible to even the most daring taxi driver.

Rickshaws transport middle-class residents who use their services out of convenience and for short distance trips to the local marketplace.

A woman with marketing to do can arrive in a rickshaw, have the rickshaw wallah wait until she comes back from various stalls to load her purchases, and then be taken home.

Proprietors of cafés or corner stores send rickshaws to collect their supplies.

They also provide an invaluable service for residents who could not be able to afford a taxi or auto rickshaw.

Some of the rickshaw pullers steadiest customers are middle-class families who will have a contract with a puller to take a child to and from school.

In the thick of monsoon rickshaws keep passengers above the water logged and swim through the flooded streets and lanes.

It is also used by the lane residents as a "24 hour" ambulance service.

Plus they are eco-friendly!

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https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2008/04/kolkata-india-rickshaw-driver-culture/

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/kolkata-s-hand-pulled-rickshaws-are-the-last-sketches-of-a-colonial-hangover-in-india-266494.html

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&biw=1536&bih=734&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=VWqtWoeYDsuE8gXO4KzwDw&q=kolkata+rickshaw+wallah+&oq=kolkata+rickshaw+wallah+&gs_l=psy-ab.12...588088.588088.0.589409.1.1.0.0.0.0.374.374.3-1.1.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.QmV_EThsBkc

The New Market witnessed two major fires on 13 December 1985 and 20 July 2011, another massive fire on 18 May 2015 and again Nov 9, 2017.

The New Market witnessed two major fires on 13 December 1985 and 20 July 2011, another massive fire on 18 May 2015 and again Nov 9, 2017.

It was out the back going through the fish, meat and chicken sections that really interested me as oppose to the usual clothing, material and household ware, craft stalls in the main part of the New Market where the stall keepers kept asking “What do you want to buy?” Ken had mentioned about this part of the market and the locals living at the back as well.

By the time I got there, all but 2 operators had finished for the day. It was like a movie set with the birds all over the chopping blocks and in the rafters. Then the cats and dogs roaming around. Next door in amongst the meat section it was the large rats, more cats, dogs, birds and even live sheep.

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Look up into the rafters

Look up into the rafters

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=kolkata+new+market&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXjZaaifTZAhVDxbwKHZENDBQQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734

Back to the hotel to give JD my visa and passport as he needed a copy for entry into Sikkim later in the trip.

Because of the winter fog, the train departure time was brought forward to 5.30pm / 17:30 with the need to leave the hotel at 3.30pm / 15:30 to allow for traffic.

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In the evening boarded the overnight New Jalpaiguri Kamrup Express train to New Jalpaiguri.

Now is my bag there?

Now is my bag there?

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What did I expect? Probably a similar standard of 4 berth A/C cabins to that I had 12 months ago in Vietnam. Yes, it was 4 berths but a lower standard. Curtains replaced doors and there were 2 extra bunks out in the passageway that unfortunately Robyn and Toba got. We were given bunks randomly separated but allocated as males and females.

Yes, it was a basic overnight train with a pillow and blanket but I forgot to bring out of my backpack my sleeping sheet. By luck got what I had wanted … a bottom bunk.

Train slowly pulled out at 5.37pm / 17:37 before picking up speed and soon the rocking motion.

Experienced overnight travel like a local. One of my fellow passengers was a doctor with the Indian railway:

  • 1.4 million - Work for the railways.
  • 5.6 million - When extended to include the families.
  • 3 million - Retired.
  • 10 million = TOTAL.
  • All receive free health care through hospitals and clinics.
  • There are 2,500 doctors.
  • Country divided into 16 zones broken into 54 divisions.
  • Each division with its own hospital with a major zonal hospital with more specialised services.

Remember India has a population of 1.3+ billion.

With the gentle rocking motion sat back, got some well-earned and likely much-needed rest en route to our next stop.

Posted by bruceontour 22:37 Archived in India Tagged market train meat_market Comments (0)

Get off the grass!

Accompanied by blowing of a whistle …

Mullick Ghant Flower Market

Day 2 Kolkata > Jalpāiguri

Hotel breakfast was 350 rupee / NZ$7.40 / US$5.40 - expensive for what it was but ….

On board 3 Ambassador taxis we headed to the Mullick Ghant Flower Market where I was yesterday, but this time it was merely a walk through with limited time to try and capture better images with the morning light.

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Mullick+Ghat+Flower+Market+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjmqeCmgfTZAhWITLwKHfGJBLoQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734

Howrah Bridge

Across Howrah Bridge when I felt uncomfortable when 2 guys literally came right up to my face saying something that naturally I couldn’t understand (suspect they wanted some money). Anyway JD paid them off with 100 rupees / NZ$2.10 / US$1.60 to get them to go away. He said that they were “high”.

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The bridge is one of four on the Hooghly River and is a famous symbol of Kolkata and West Bengal. It weathers the storms of the Bay of Bengal region, carrying a daily traffic of approximately 100,000 vehicles and possibly more than 150,000 pedestrians, easily making it the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The third-longest cantilever bridge at the time of its construction, the Howrah Bridge is currently the sixth-longest bridge of its type in the world. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howrah_Bridge

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If you have to go ... you have to go somewhere

If you have to go ... you have to go somewhere

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Armenian Ferry Ghant

Ferry ride from the nearby Armenian ferry ghant across the sacred Hooghly River to the other bank Howrah Station jetty and back again. Hooghly River is a 260 km long tributary river of Ganges River. Love the lack of health and safety with no control or barriers at all at the various gangways. People jumping off the boat even before it had pulled in.

Police were on their jet ski patrolling the river.

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See how cheap the crossing is … read …

http://www.kolkataonwheels.com/ferry-services-in-kolkata-and-howrah/

The ferry service even has its own Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Armenian-Ferry-Ghat/100164374068625?hc_ref=ARSlvkQtD8Jm08JOUWVtUpy4jyacxf8mnKMqKctCZ1qURA-ua_q9wiUjsjR34XD7hj0

https://www.bengaladdict.com/ferry_services.html

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Armenian+ferry+ghat+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwijtvLXgfTZAhUIzbwKHd_NAWoQsAQIPg&biw=1536&bih=734

"Hotel" is a restuarant

"Hotel" is a restuarant

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No 1 or 2 today?

No 1 or 2 today?

Painting using a rag

Painting using a rag

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Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial is a palatial white marble building built in the beginning of the 20th century (1906-1921) and dedicated to Queen Victoria. One feature that sits in extensive grounds with a lush green "maidan" (lawn) in front of it, no doubt a haven for the population of an overcrowded city.

The Victoria Memorial is architecturally impressive. It combines British and Mughal design along with elements of Venetian, Egyptian, Islamic, and other architecture.

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Hans

Hans

Hans, Sally, Joe, Bruce, Robyn, Ngaire, Tova, Ken

Hans, Sally, Joe, Bruce, Robyn, Ngaire, Tova, Ken

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Whistle blown by an official as the locals totally ignored the barrier as they wanted their photos taken right in front of the flower bed.

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No photography inside though I would have loved to have taken the domed ceiling with the series of painting so around the side depicting the important parts of Queen Victoria reign.

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Hans

Hans

http://www.victoriamemorial-cal.org/home/content/en

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Memorial,_Kolkata

http://www.culturalindia.net/monuments/victoria-memorial.html

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&biw=1536&bih=734&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=XWCtWuL2O4O48QW6iIXIBQ&q=inside+victoria+memorial+kolkata&oq=inside+victoria+memorial+kolkata&gs_l=psy-ab.12..0i8i30k1.27051.28357.0.30388.7.7.0.0.0.0.201.970.0j4j1.5.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..2.5.969...0i13k1j0i8i7i30k1.0.iea9MWSj5Uo

A chai before hopping back into the Ambassador taxi and headed to the New Market area for lunch.

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Kathi Kabab Rolls

Lunch at Nizam’s, the inventor of the famous Kathi Kabab Rolls. I had my first bottle of “Thums Up” cola here. Yes, stronger than Coke and I wasn’t surprised that this very popular drink is now bottled by Coca Cola.

There was confusion how I had written my order. It was supposed to be ONE roll: Double paratha Double chicken Double egg roll 115 rupees / NZ$2.50 / US$1.80
But because I had written over several lines like
Double Paratha Double Chicken
Double egg roll
… ended up with 2 rolls.

Didn’t have to pay for both of them but enjoyed them both anyway. That plus my first bottle of Thums Up came to 130 rupees / NZ$2.70 / US$2.00.

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http://www.nizams.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nizams/157591887637240

What is a Kathi roll?

A kati roll (sometimes spelt kathi roll; Bengali: কাঠি রোল) is a street-food dish originating from Kolkata, India. In its original form, it is a skewer-roasted kebabwrapped in a paratha bread, although over the years many variants have evolved all of which now go under the generic name of kati roll. Today, mostly any wrap containing a filling enfolded in an Indian flatbread (roti) is called a kati roll. In native Bengali, the word Kati roughly translates to “Stick”, referring to how they were originally made. In Bengal though, the delicacy is simply known as ROLL. Kati Rolls normally contain coriander chutney, egg and chicken but the types may vary.

The kati roll is said to have started its life in the Nizam Restaurant in Kolkata, a popular eatery founded in 1932. There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started. Some suggest that hurried office commuters wanted something quick and portable to eat, some mention British babus who were too fastidious to touch the kabab. The most likely origin is probably more mundane, but in any case someone decided to roll things up at some point. Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly over this method of serving kababs for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Kolkata and later spread elsewhere. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kati_roll

Posted by bruceontour 14:57 Archived in India Tagged ferry flower_market kathi_roll kati_roll victoria_memorial howrah_bridge mullick_ghant_flower_market Comments (0)

Human Forklifts

Tour: Mesmerizing Markets Tour
Starting time: 2.30 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Starting point: Bank of India
Cost: INR 4000

http://www.calcuttaphototours.com/tour4.php

The afternoon tour focused on the Koley vegetable market. This wholesale market is certainly not on the tourist “must see” trail.

As Manjit said, it is for photographers. Yes, the challenge was working with the different forms of lighting. For me it was really hard. Sunlight streaming in through the roof, fluro and warm white lights as well.

One just had to take time to stand back and soak in the atmosphere first.

Being a wholesale market, the bulk of Kolkata’s vegetable supply from rural West Bengal areas passes through this market before being sold to the smaller markets around Kolkata.

My senses certainly got a good work out ….

Each item had it’s own dedicated section with it’s own unique smell, sights and sounds.

Wet

Wandering around the arteries of the market watching where one puts ones feet as the ground was at times certainly wet, dirty, mucky, slippery and slushy covered with both fresh but more often rotting vegetable leaves …. it just added to the unique atmosphere.

With the narrow alleyways slippery with muck from the rotting vegetables, it was like dodgems at times … dodging the vendors, porters, buyers and sellers and being careful not to slip.

Smell

Imagine the lovely smell or odour that comes from mountains piled high with onions, chilli or garlic and what they emit coupled with at time the smell of both the fresh and rotting greens lying on the ground. It is not for the faint hearted or if one did not have a strong stomach.

Colour

The vendors had their own unique and indigenous way of highlighting their product with light bulbs wrapped in coloured cellophane at times matching the products to enhance what is beneath it.

Blue for the tomatoes, carrots and ginger, green for the peas, red for the onions.

Vendors

Again it was having Manjit nearby and with his long standing rapore the vendors allowed me closer access to them. Because I wasn’t pressured for time, when asking for permission to take their photo often ended up with a friendly banter. Just look at their facial expressions … from the smiles to the smirks.

No doubt the older ones would have had a few stories to tell with their experience, knowledge and wisdom.

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“Turban-wallas“ or Porters

The highlight to me was definitely seeing the “turban-wallas“ or porters at work. A scene that I had not witnessed anywhere else in all the markets around the world that I had been to.

Huge bails of vegetables weighing between 400 - 500 kilograms were man handled into the market by teams of 4 or more men. Team work at the fore.

With their colourful turbans wrapped around their heads to both soften and distribute the weight the bails on their head, they were continually delivering from the trucks and carts parked outside to the wholesalers inside. With the narrow alleyways, no way could a forklift do this. So perhaps they are human forklifts?

The challenge for me was to get as many faces in the camera screen as possible. Not easy at all. Getting all the feet were dead easy. Watching them walk like a caterpillar with to me anyway no audible commands as when to start moving was at times memorising …

Just watch the video.

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Koley vegetable market was certainly a place of thriving non-stop action. Being here in the late afternoon, I know that this activity had been going on since day break and wondered when does it stop? It was certainly organized chaos.

My time with Manjit today was 7,000 rupee / NZ$147.40 / US$108.60 as I had to pay for the minimum of 2 people but it was really worth it as oppose to me just aimlessly wandering around taking photos and not knowing the hidden treasures of the city.

The final part of my Indian adventure begins tonight with the G Adventures group meeting. JD was the CEO for this tour. Just 8 in this group and for once an even number of males and females. Struck out again with being an “odd” male and was roomed with Ken.

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Welcome group dinner was at Kwality Resturant over in Park St. Fish Butter Masala 375 rupees / NZ$7.90 / US$5.80, garlic naan 105 rupees / NZ$2.20 / US$1.60 and Kingfisher 285 rupees / NZ$6.00 / US$4.40. Total tonight 789 rupees / NZ$16.60 / US$12.20 rounded up to 800 rupee / NZ$16.80 / US$12.40.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:54 Archived in India Tagged market vegetables vegetable_market turban-wallas christmas_street_lights Comments (0)

Dark alleyways merely a metre wide

So following the blue line on Maps.me, passing through some dark alleyways merely a metre wide, made it in next to no time to the Mullick Ghat under the Howrah Bridge that stretches over the Hooghly River, a tributary of the Ganges River. I wonder how polluted is the water here?

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Malik Ghat Flower Market

Behind this was the Malik Ghat flower market.

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Orange & yellow marigold

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It didn’t feel the same as the flowers markets I had previously been through but nether less was still full of colour and action.

Nice article in the New Zealand Herald.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10700926

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/portfolio-ken-hermanns-striking-images-of-malik-ghat-flower-market-in-calcutta-9610373.html

With my afternoon tour starting at 2.30pm / 14:30, decided to walk the several kms back to Hotel Lytton in Sudder Street and recharge both batteries and me.

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One way to clean & paint the railing

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Posted by bruceontour 21:36 Archived in India Tagged flower_market Comments (0)

Synagogues in Kolkata

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Kolkata

Beth El Synagogue

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http://www.jewishcalcutta.in/exhibits/show/synagogue/beth-el-synagogue--history

http://indianjews.org/en/research/jewish-sites-in-india/102-west-bengal-beth-el-synagogue

Here are some images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=beth+el+synagogue+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8gOrIrfLZAhUCHZQKHbH9BAYQ_AUICigB&biw=1523&bih=718

Neveh Shalom Synagogue

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http://indianjews.org/en/research/jewish-sites-in-india/50-neveh-shalom-synagogue

Here are some images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=neveh+shalom+synagogue+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia5en-qfLZAhWKerwKHeesAUcQ_AUICygC&biw=1523&bih=718

Magen David Synagogue

While my photography focus has changed to trying to capture local people in their everyday life, generally out in the hustle and bustle of the markets or on the footpath / sidewalk, going into the Magen David Synagogue was really great as it was so peaceful with no traffic noise. It is shame that the building is no longer used as a synagogue as there are so few Jews still living in Kolkata (about 30) but has been remarkably well kept. There has to be at least 10 adult males for the quorum.

Look at the ornate interior from the chequered tile floors, chandeliers to the light streaming in through the stain glass windows.

Magen David, or the Shield of David, was built in 1884 by Elias David Ezra in memory of his father David Joseph Ezra, who made his fortune in the real estate trade of Kolkata.

The synagogue is built in the Italian Renaissance style with a brick red finish. The entrance to the synagogue compound is hidden behind makeshift stalls selling hairclips and other trinkets. The Magen David Synagogue is approached through an arched door, containing the hexagonal “Star of David” and Hebrew inscription. The two side walls contains memorial plaques dedicated to the well known Jews of Calcutta (Kolkata).

Although the services of the Magen David Synagogue have long stopped but the interior are astonishingly well maintained. The chequered marble floor, gleaming chandeliers, stained glass windows and ornate floral pillars shipped from Paris enhance its Continental look.

The altar of the Magen David Synagogue is crowned with an Apse (Half Dome) studded with stars. It represents the heaven. The large plaque in the middle contain the “Ten Commandments.” It also contains several other Hebrew inscription along with several other items of Jewish Iconography, including the seven branched lamp stand of Menorah. High above the wall opposite the altar is a beautiful circular stained glass.

At the centre of the hall is a raised podium from where the Rabbi preached. Two sets of stairs from either side of the hall leads to the upper balconies, reserved for women. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magen_David_Synagogue_(Kolkata)

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Caretaker for at least 40 years

Caretaker for at least 40 years

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=magen+david+synagogue+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisiv_-0-PZAhWKx7wKHbwMB5cQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734

After the tour had finished, Manjit pin pointed on Maps.me where the flower market was.

Posted by bruceontour 20:37 Archived in India Tagged synagogue Comments (0)

Slice in the wall

Narrowest shop in the world? Just 2 feet / less than a 1 metre wide

Onwards we continued.

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Never seen rope made out of straw like I did on the footpath. So simple and effective but so labour intensive.

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You would have heard of a “hole in the wall” … well what about a “slice in the wall”? Is this the narrowest shop in the world?

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Stopped several times to do a photo shoot with Manjit both as the willing subject and teacher of some new skills.

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Posted by bruceontour 20:05 Archived in India Comments (0)

Traditional European Christmas Cake baked by 7 generations

Because of Manjit’s rapore with the locals, it was much easier to take the “street life” photos.

Went into Ajmiri Bakery.

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Again love the health & safety with how he is sealing the plastic bags filled with their fruit cake.

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Yes, it was nice and really tasty. Was it the wood fuelled fire that made it so good?

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https://www.facebook.com/AJMIRIBAKERY/

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Further along these guys were making rotis.

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An hour into the walk it must be chai time. These traditional earthenware bhand cups are used once. I’ll send Manjit a photo of the cup with an iconic New Zealand landmark to add to his collection of cups now around the world.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/10/kolkata-age-tradition-bhar-clay-cups-tea-161004053736038.html

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Being winter, the locals were really feeling the cold and how wrapped up they were often in front of open fires lit on the footpath.

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Peanuts were roasted in sand to give it extra flavour.

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Posted by bruceontour 18:59 Archived in India Tagged chai chai_tea roti christmas_cake letter_box Comments (0)

Sea Ip Church

My grandfather’s family (mother side) are Sea Ip ….

Into the Sea Ip Church which is consecrated primarily to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.

http://www.sid-thewanderer.com/2016/11/sea-ip-church-and-brief-history-of.html

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Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&biw=1536&bih=734&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=yJehWqebNtP28AWjqLOgCQ&q=sea+ip+kolkata&oq=sea+ip+kolkata&gs_l=psy-ab.12...23856.23856.0.27499.1.1.0.0.0.0.195.195.0j1.1.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.sh-NoO_kDY0

Posted by bruceontour 17:31 Archived in India Tagged sea_ip_church sea_ip Comments (0)

Old Chinatown

Passing through old Chinatown saw Chinese lap cheong / lap ceung / lap chong / pork sausages hanging up for sale.

In Calcutta, Chinese New Year cannot be divorced from Chinese sausages (laap cheong) and the fish and prawn wafers. Both the items can be made only during the winter for this is when the cold East wind (Pak Fung) brings out the aroma in the Chinese sausages and the fish and prawn wafers.

http://www.kolkatachinatown.com/

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Had some siu mai. That was breakfast.

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It's winter so small wooden pallets becomes firewood.

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The locality was once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese Indian nationals; now the population has dropped to approximately 2,000. The traditional occupation of the Chinese Indian community in Kolkata had been working in the nearby tanning industry as well as in Chinese restaurants. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiretta_Bazaar

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=old+chinatown+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&oq=old+chinatown+kolkaota&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0.11318j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Posted by bruceontour 17:18 Archived in India Tagged chinatown siu_mai old_chinatown lap_cheong Comments (0)

Ambassador Taxis

I wish that I could take credit for this photo composition but thanks to Manjit who “set up” this shot ... told me to wait for the taxi to come by and shot low down. His same photo was better than mine! Kind of shows the “old” and “new” ... “old” being the bicycle with the milk cans and “new” being Kolkata famous iconic yellow Ambassador taxi. Having said that, thanks to the advent of modern service-providers like Ola and Uber, Kolkata (City of Joy) is sadly seeing the gradual disappearance of their Ambassador taxi.

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Will the Ambassador taxi still be around? I’ll let you decide.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/yellow-ambassador-taxis-are-failing-survive-changing-times-one-kolkatas-famous-identities-path-719988

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-autos-ambassador/production-of-indias-ambassador-cars-grinds-to-a-halt-idUSKBN0E50DK20140525

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/d5s7v1udp732X6ldIoqWON/No-curbs-on-Ambassadors-cabs-in-West-Bengal.html

Being so early on a Monday morning, the normally busy street was strangely quiet at 8am. Kolkata like many Indian cities wakes up late to what I am used to.

Off to school

Off to school

Kolkata is one of the last bastion of the hand pulled rickshaw. Some of the rickshaw pullers steadiest customers are middle-class families who will have a contract with a puller to take a child to and from school.

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Posted by bruceontour 16:14 Archived in India Tagged taxi rickshaw ambassador_taxi hand_pulled_rickshaw Comments (0)

Lights ... Camera ... Action

Day 1 Kolkata

Alarm set for 5.45am / 05:45. With birds chirping, the grey morning fog greeted me as I left the hotel at 6am / 06:00 for the meeting point of my day’s first tour some 20 minutes away. Just out of the hotel and my camera was still in the bag when a cyclist passed with live white chickens tied to his handlebars and at the back. Must have been over 30 chickens. Will I see this scene again? Hope so.

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How quiet the city was with the occasional cyclist either carrying milk churns or stacked with newspapers on route to the stands and stores around town. On the sidewalk the papers were being sorted before loaded onto the bikes.

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Those sleeping rough were either lying across the payment or under their makeshift shelters.

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Met Manjit from Calcutta Photo Tours.

http://calcuttaphototours.com/

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Off we headed for the first of today’s two tours.

Tour: Culture Kaleidoscope Tour
Starting time: 6.30 am
Duration: 3 hours
Starting point: Air India building
Cost: INR 3500

http://www.calcuttaphototours.com/tour3.php

Just love the red brick buildings. Two police stations opposite to each other and outside were their Enfield bikes. Why were the 2 stations opposite each other? Because they serve neighbouring districts.

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Baudha Dharmankur Sabha

The Baudha Dharmankur Sabha is a Bengal Buddhist Temple and unfortunately a place that not many locals know about. Shame.

http://www.bengalbuddhist.com/

I was too lazy to take my shoes off so it was shooting through the windows.

Love how the dog was there outside the gate when we entered and still there as we left

Love how the dog was there outside the gate when we entered and still there as we left

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Bow Barracks

Bow Barracks is a locality in the central Calcutta region. The locality is a small hub of mainly Anglo-Indian population who have lived here for generations. The families living here do not pay any rent for their stay in Bow Barracks as the building is owned by the KIT and they have refused to accept a meagre amount of ₹30 paid as rent throughout the years without any increment in rent by the families for their stay. The government has declared this building ‘unsafe’, dangerous and plans are afoot to build a highrise and other structures in its place.

Bow Barracks is located in central Kolkata — just behind the Bowbazar police station, off the Central Avenue (now Chittaranjan Avenue).

The easiest way to get to Bow Barracks irrespective of the distance is to catch an underground train at the Kolkata Metro. Central Avenue and Chandni Chowk are two metro stations that will get you within a 2-minute walk of Bow Barracks.

It is a narrow lane between Hare Street and Bohu Bazaar police station. The place, named Bow Barrack is in central Kolkata, on Central Avenue. The narrow lane is bordered by six blocks of three-storeyed buildings, which look old but hardy. Their red brick color appear a bit shabby. The green windows frame gay curtains that catch the light breeze now and then.

The Bow Barracks was a garrison's mess built for the army during World War I. But there are no written records to prove these facts. When the soldiers left India, they handed over the apartments to the Anglo Indians who took them on rent. Today, 132 families live in the Barracks. Of them, 80 percent of the residents are Anglo Indians. It has acquired a reputation of sorts for its Christmas celebrations. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_Barracks

http://www.thebeaconkolkata.co.in/bow-barracks-chrimas-bow-fest/

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=bow+street+kolkata&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiPqbOUg-XZAhUEVbwKHZBOAWcQ_AUICygC&biw=1536&bih=734

A film crew was using the streets as their set and we didn’t know that they didn’t like photos being taken.

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Parsi

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica,
Parsi, also spelled Parsee, member of a group of followers in India of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. The Parsis, whose name means "Persians", are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims. They live chiefly in Mumbai and in a few towns and villages mostly to the south of Mumbai, but also a few minorities near by in Karachi (Pakistan) and Bangalore (Karnataka, India). There is a sizeable Parsee population in Pune as well in Hyderabad. A few Parsee families also reside in Kolkata and Chennai. Although they are not, strictly speaking, a caste, since they are not Hindus, they form a well-defined community. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsi

https://www.justdial.com/kolkata/Parsi-Dharamsala-Near-Cmba-Hall-Bowbazar/033P6856640_BZDET

https://www.facebook.com/Kolkata-PARSI-Dharamshala-1207940792559219/

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/parsi-communities-ii-in-calcutta

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/kolkata-s-parsi-community-on-the-wane-117020500151_1.html

https://parsikhabar.net/india/kolkatas-parsi-community-on-the-wane/14846/

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Havana, Cuba here in Kolkata?

The old run down colourfully painted buildings reminded me of the buildings in Cuba, particularly around Havana. Others in Manjit previous groups said the same. They were certainly right.

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Worked out what it is? (goat)

Worked out what it is? (goat)

Posted by bruceontour 14:40 Archived in India Tagged temple enfield buddhist_temple bow_barracks enfield_motorbikes Comments (1)

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