Friday, June 29, 2007

Weekend Picture upload 6: Stockholm @ Night

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Victoria Memorial : Kolkata

I have passed though the nearby roads, but never seen the inner beauty; have been to the garden once, but never felt to enter the great architectural beauty of modern Kolkata, Victoria memorial. Built in 1921(Started in 1906), by W Emerson in the Indo-Saracenic style, this landmark is considered one of the remarkable monuments of today’s World.

It was made on the honor of British Queen Victoria, who was an Empress of India and a ruler par-excellence, a person close to the hearts of Indians. Unlike other governor generals she helped the natives, understood the grievances and concerns, and taken effective measures.

It looks quite like the Taj Mahal. The white marbles it is made up were came from the same quarries in Rajasthan that supplied the Taj, to the similar main dome, octagonal domed chattris, the high portals, the terrace, the domed corner towers, and the correspondence in the function – both were conceived as memorials to Expresses, Victoria Memorial is evidence of W Emerson’s great admiration of the Mughal masterpiece.

Finally last weekend I happened to witness the inner beauty of this majestic architecture. The paintings, galleries, and the Calcutta museum is something noteworthy, but nothing compare to the Mahal. I liked some of the painting of British painters, on Kolkata; some initial photographs of small townships of Kolkata, some of them are world class, but neglected like nothing, kept open in the hot and humid weather decades after decades.
In the main entrance the gigantic lions (one of them is in the picture below, which is edited in picasa and a part of my virtual series)and in the back the gate and the extremely well maintained greenish garden (which is considered the heavens for couples in Kolkata) are fascinating to watch, a beautiful experience. Specially the view from the balconies of the main building is really enchanting(picture above).

The entry fee Rs 10/- for Indian nationals, but 150/- for foreign nationals. I liked this concept, because Rs 150/- is less then 2GBP, 3Euro, 4USD, which is cheaper than entry fee of any castle or museum. But what I don’t like is the way it is documented and maintained. One foreign traveler was looking to some information in the board in the entrance, but was very unhappy with the outcome. It was some general guidelines to keep the premises clean, not to walk on the grass of the gardens etc. Its simply funny because every visitor expects some historical details in the entrance. What more surprising to me is photography is not allowed in the gallery (museum). May be it is because the flashes of cameras damage the paintings or because of the security reasons photography is prohibited here. We really don’t know how to promote tourism; don’t have the mentality to make something different. The concerns for this landmark has equally expressed in Ananda’s Blog, where he describe the mishandling of 'Angel of Victory' (as can be seen in the photo above, atop the dome). After fifty years of independence why there is no big architectures like this, why the initiative has not taken or we don’t have that projection. Because of we lack our vision; we prefer to work with our personal and self centric goals.
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Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekend Picture Upload 5 - Oslo City Hall, Norway

This is the hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is given. In 1979 Mother Teresa (India, Kolkata) got the prize for poverty awareness campaigner (India); and this year Muhammad Yunus (মুহাম্মদ ইউনুস), (Bangladesh) got the Noble peace prize, here in Oslo City Hall. This hall is just in the harbour and the view is majestic. I like the shot, because the Seagull bird is looking like a white pigeon, which is considered as the emblem of peace in India.
Wikipedia describes, The Oslo City Hall houses the City Council, City administration, and art studios and galleries. The construction started in 1931, but was paused by the outbreak of World War II, before the official inauguration in 1950. Its characteristic architecture, artworks, and the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony makes it one of Oslo's most famous buildings.
We met a Norwegian family, a couple with three sweet kids. By nature the Norwegians are very gentle and clam. I liked them, in my limited scope of interaction. Norway is considered as a peace loving country.
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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload 4: Oslo port - Norway

I posted some collage pics of Myrdal, a small city of Norway last weekend, and I am glad most of the viewers liked it. I took the trip to Norway 2 years back but still cherish the memories of that trip.
Here go some original shots of the sky in Port of Oslo, in April. Norway is known as “Land of midnight Sun”; so even in April, the light remains quite late in the day. The sky was very colourful, may not be like Aurora Borealis usually happens in winter, but it was captivating.
The series of lights in the port mesmerized me. So I didn’t miss to take the snap. Next to the port the famous Nobel peace Hall is situated, where the peace award is given. I will post the pics of that hall next week.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feeling Homesickness

British church in Kharagpur

I have seen Europe quite a lot, starting from UK, Scandinavia, Central Europe and Greece of course. But I haven’t seen many places in India, which are not only worth visiting, but some of the bests in the world.
My home towns are Kharagpur and Kolkata, in West Bengal, India. I am going to India for a month and eagerly waiting to see my homeland. I live in Kolkata, but my place of birth is Kharagpur, 130 km away from Kolkata. My parents are still living there and I still feel absolute peace in this small town.
In the above picture, look at the natural surroundings of the British church in Kharagpur. There is no din and bustles of traffic, so not polluted like big metros. One section of Kharagpur is well maintained because of the planned Railway Colony. These establishment was done by the British and still holding its majesty. But the other part is quite congested.

Small Villages between Kharagpur & Kolkata

While I drive from Kharagpur to Kolkata, it gives me immense pleasure, not because of the smooth road, not for coming back to big metro, but mainly for enjoying the typical country nature of Bengal. The changing landscape, kaleidoscopic nature of soil, small villages, green meadows, and yellow crop fields captivate me. That’s the reason poet told “ Chaya sunibir santir neer, choto choto gram guli” , the English meaning is somewhat like..

“In the midst of wide stretched meadow
Small villages in the lash green shadow
Where blows the gentle mild breeze
We find there absolute peace.”

The veil of emotion is torn once I enter the majestic gigantic second Hoogly Bridge of Kolkata, which lies over the sacred river Ganga. This bridge is called Vidyasagar setu, named after the prophet of modern Bengal. The former old Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu) is still popular for its unique architecture, but the new one is simply superb. These two bridges are the gateway of Kolkata, the crowded, congested metro city of Eastern India – which is often know as city of joy, for its charming lively nature, despite of having many poor and slams.

Vidyasagar setu - Kolkata
The reason being, I am writing this post is I am traveling to India next weekend and eagerly waiting to see my home towns after a long time. It will be quite hot and humid, the scorching heat may create some problem, but still I am happy to fly back for three weeks. Will not be able to post regularly during my visit to India, but obviously will drop some interesting photos from India after my visit to the great nation.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload 3: Norway - Some pics of Myrdal

Myrdal : It is a small town in the Oslo-Bergen railway. This is one of the scenic places I have seen so far two years before in April 2005, while visiting Norway.

If I have to mention five things about this place, I will write the following.

1)This is the highest mountainous station I have ever gone in any train. I wonder how the station is built in such a high altitude. Its one of the major station of the Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen which is recognized to be one of the 20 best railway experiences in the World.

2)This is a remote mountain station in Norway often shrouded in mysterious fog or molded with ice. When I was there, the platform was covered by ice sheet and the nearby houses were covered by thick layers of ice. I felt as if I am in North Pole.

3)Flamsbana – The Flåm railway, which starts here, is the most thrilling railway line in Scandinavia with its 20-kilomtre long track and an altitude difference of 865 meters. This is considered to be the highest gradient railway in the world.

4)Myrdal is famous for skiing and there is a beautiful water false nearby. I was able to capture one skier in my camera.

5)The breath taking landscape attracts many tourists, specially in spring. I have not entered the town, but taken all the snaps from the platform, which I have put up. (The night shot if of Bergen – and some places are between Bergen and Myrdal)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Skayen - Denmark; A Journey to remember

One can have many problems while traveling, starting from health problem, robbery to inadvertently violating rules (I was going through Cuckoo’s blog , and found an interesting story about her inadvertent stupidity). Health hazards are not new to me, happened many time while traveling in India, but fortunately not here in Europe. But once we experienced a scary incidence, while going to Skayen, from Arhus in Denmark.One new guy (A Sardar without turban) came from US in our project and was approached me to join a trip to Skayen. It was a typical Sardar, an over-smart underdog resource, behaves as if born and brought up in US. The reason for that is he has green card. But he has a nice charming personality and can easily mix with unknown people.

From the very first he started driving rashly, not caring anybody(we were 4 in the car) and scaring me, as I am a typical bong and used to get frightened easily. Yes, I am little more conservative and hardly take any additional risks. So he took the opportunity to create a heroic impression (don’t take it otherwise, that guy was married and had a child) but that never means we have to drive in 160 kph. I asked him to slow down, but he was not bothered about anything and pressed the accelerator to its maximum, almost reaching towards 200. We didn’t know the speed limit.

All of a sudden we hear police sirens and were not sure it’s for us. But one of the police cars asked us to stop. What have we done? I was puzzled, bit scared, and thought of all possible scenarios except the real one. The police told the max limit was 130kph, which we violated by far (Later we came to know that the speed limits can be tracked by the hidden cameras in highway) and he asked the CPR card (Residence Card) to fine directly in the official bank account. But that guy was in business visa and didn’t have CPR number; so I had to give my card. The policeman was already going to fine me 5000DKK, which is equivalent of almost 40,000/- (INR). It would have been a heavy fine for me if not they grace us.

We escaped luckily, and I thanked God (That time I used to believe in God); but the sardar was cool like a cucumber, casually teasing as usual, Dor gaya kaya!! Dekho dekho Dor gaya!!, as if he was successful in his intentions. Later I handled this psycho differently not reacting to his every rubbish words. I do not have anything against Punjabis, but that guy was exceptional, has pissed off everyone in the project, specially the south Indians. I like Sardars in general, but somehow could not manage with this guy.
Finally we visited the Kanyakumarika of Denmark, Skayen. This is the North most point of Denmark, in North Sea. [According to Wikipedia, Skagen takes its name from the region, which projects into the waters between the North Sea and the straits of Denmark. Skagen is considered the boundary between the Skagerrak (named after Skagen) and the Kattegat. At its very tip is a sandy, shifting headland known as Grenen.]

The landscape of this place was stunning and magnificent; specially the cost is very different from the conventional beaches. The light house is something worth to watch. The smooth serene breeze and amazing beauty helped us to forget the unfortunate incident quickly.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload 2 - Sea and Sky of Greece

Some of my Blog readers have asked many times, how blue is the Sky and Sea of Greece? Is it so BLUE because I play with colours ? I guess now they can find the answers in this post. All the pictures are uploaded, as these have been captured.
I am just back from a short wellness tour from my project (The details I will write in Random Thoughts). The whole client and project team went to a Sea Beach just after Glyfada on the way to Sunion, not that far from Athens. It was really an enjoyable day and First time I took a bath in Mediterranean, never taken before because I don’t know swimming.
The photos are taken in small aperture because of two reasons, to make the DOF larger, so that the landscape comes prominent, and it was a sunny day, so no need for high aperture. If I have used high aperture, the picture would be more glowing and brighter, the color of sky and sea would be different.
Have a nice weekend and will keep posting after a short trip to Sunion.