Friday, July 24, 2009

Palace for a Queen - Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, India

This beautiful white marble edifice was built from 1906 - 1921 as a memorial to Queen Victoria of U.K. (1837 - 1901) and Empress of India (1876 - 1901). Now it serves as a museum. It is a top tourist draw as can be seen by the long line of paying patrons. I was lining with the locals until I was spotted by the staff and invited straight into the museum.
This little boy of school-going age was out begging for a living around Victoria Memorial. Starts early and finishes around 4-5 pm. I asked him through an interpreter how much he earns a day. Paraphrasing him, "In one day I can rake (very confidently) in RM5.00. By evening I will be happily home with my family." I found out that home is a small ramshackle hut built with flimsy materials using a wall by the roadside as its back and plastic sheets as its roof.

Thank God that Kolkata has another famous lady. If Queen Victoria was borne to rule, Mother Teresa dedicated herself to serve. She found her calling here in the gutters. I saw an infant being breast-fed by the mother in the five-foot way with their meager belongings in a open space called home. Though she is gone, she had left behind many pairs of hands in the Missionaries of Charity.
Howrah Bridge. Opened in 1943, it was an engineering marvel when it was built across Hooghly River. 450m long with no pylons in the river. It was fully suspended. During peak hours it takes 45 mins to cross the bridge.
View from the bridge. Rivers play an important role in the life of Indians.
And flowers too.
It a simple eatery serving hot naan, prata, and enticing curries. I ate here a few times.
A very quiet morning!
Wholesale market in the suburbs. A huge cauliflower costs less than USD0.10.
Prata anyone? Innovative cooking! Prata placed on the bottom side of the wok to cook:-) I called this "Thinking out of the wok."
Radish by the tri-cycle load.
Mustard seeds. Check out the pods. Once pods are dried, open it up for the mustard seeds, the peculiar tasting and smelling like it or hate it Indian spice.
Potato Patch
Wheat Field
Postscript: Selba came closest in her guess work. Said it was an Indian building! This Victorian-styled building incorporated Mughal (Islamic) features.


Big Boys Oven said...

gosh I got it wrong! :( but nice to know !

Selba said...

I only got the correct on the country :)

Thanks for sharing these photographs, so interesting!

foodbin said...

like the phrase"thinking out of the wok" great! lol.

Pete said...

Interesting post. The radish are sure very huge! Price of the cauliflower is real cheap. Sadly there is a hugh gap between the poor and the rich there. Well, I guess in a country with that high population is not easy to control!

Pete said...

Added your link to my bloglist. Thks and Cheers!