Month: August 2015

A Photo story of the Darjeeling Zoo

The Darjeeling zoo or the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is the largest high altitude zoo in India. Darjeeling is one of our favourite destinations and the zoo always adds to the charm of visiting Darjeeling. We are never really tired to visit this gem lying in the lap of the Himalayas. It houses the rarest and endangered Himalayan animal species. The zoo was opened in 1958 at an elevation of about 7000 ft. A 3 km walk from The Chowrasta Mall will take you to the Jawahar Parvat – the place where the zoo stands. Sprawled across an...

Read More

The Hemis Monastery – Ladakh

Hemis Monastery is the largest monastery in Ladakh, and perhaps one of the most beautiful one. Located about 49 km south from the town of Leh on the Leh-Manali route, Hemis is one of the richest monastery of this region. Hemis monastery follows the Drukpa lineage or the dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. GyaIwa Gotsangpa Gonpo Dorje a main disciple of the 1st Gyalwang Drukpa, Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorie (1161-1211), and one of the most celebrated yogis in the Himalayas, came to Ladakh in the 13th century and established the Drukpa Lineage hire. Gyalwa Gotsangpa meditated In a cave...

Read More

Beth El Synagogue Kolkata

Beth El synagogue is situated in the busy Pollock Street, one of the busiest roads in Kolkata. The place is surrounded by shops and thousands of people walk down the road giving the yellow gigantic structure a miss. In fact, on a busy day, you will see the white marble stairs of the building inviting you, but will barely notice it. So after visiting the Magen David Synagogue and the Neveh Shalome Synagogue, we walked down the busy Pollock Street looking for Beth El. Beth El stands tall with an arched entrance. Above the arch there is a glass panel...

Read More

Neveh Shalome Synagogue Kolkata

Neveh Shalome Synagogue is the oldest synagogue to be built in Kolkata. After an overwhelming visit to the Magen David Synagogue, we ventured for the other two synagogues of Kolkata. The Neveh  Shalome Synagogue was built by Shalom Obaida-Ha-Cohen in 1831 in the memory of his father Shalom Ha-Cohen. The Neveh Shalome is not as ornate and magnificent as the Magen David Synagogue which is situated right beside it. The entry to the synagogue is through a domed arch whose door is now hidden by the myriads of shops in front of the gate. The Neveh Shalome synagogue was...

Read More

Magen David Synagogue Kolkata

The Magen David Synagogue touching the skylines of Kolkata stands at the busy junction of Canning Street and Brabourne Road. You could hardly see the gate of the synagogue as the gate is flanked by shops selling make accessories and junk jewellery. But you will not miss the tall tower of the synagogue which is often mistaken for a church. Welcome to one of Asia’s finest synagogues! We reached the main gate and called out for the caretaker. The caretaker opened the door and we asked whether we are allowed to visit the synagogue. He was very cooperative and...

Read More

The Jews of Kolkata – Then & Now

My first introduction to the Talmud – Torah was during my tenth standard text book through a story called “The Needle” by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Later on read a little more in “The Class” by Eric Segal. But little did I know that our very own Calcutta had a thriving Jewish community back in the nineteenth century. Although in decline, there are landmarks of Jewish community. Calcutta had always been a potpourri of various cultures and traditions and the Jewish community which came to Calcutta were welcomed with open arms here. The Past: The Baghdadi Jewish community came to...

Read More

Darjeeling Himalayan railways – A romantic prelude to the mighty Himalayas

The toy train ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) is like a sweet lullaby in the midst of a dreamland. Though much has been said about the present condition of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways and Darjeeling itself, a toy train ride through the misty tracks from Darjeeling to Kurseong will definitely rekindle the romanticism in a person. First let me say a little about the history of this wonderful creation. The DHR was constructed by Franklin Prestage from 1879 to 1881. The toy train covers a distance of 88 km from Darjeeling to Siliguri on a 2 feet wide...

Read More