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Photographer's Note

What does the name Calcutta (or Kolkata as it is now known) signify to a generalised western traveller? I guess it brings to mind Mother Teresa, the slums, the lepers and beggars she worked with, it brings to mind Dominique Lapierre and his book 'City of Joy', it brings to mind a city groping in darkness, in filthy unhygienic conditions. But having grown up in this city, I strongly disagree with this generalised vision of Kolkata. Without denying the problems and the poverty that has plagued this city in the past, it is above all a friendly city, a city of rich cultural traditions, a city with a big heart, and if you care enough for it, you can feel its heart beat. But that is not all : I see beautiful cities here on TE, places like the Neva waterfront in St. Petersburg, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Tower Bridge in London and I say to myself, 'Can't I show a different face of my city?'. With this aim in my mind, with my tiny camera in my hand i went strolling in the Kolkata Maidan this afternoon. This is what I got for you, horses grazing right in the heart of the city. No comparison with New York or London, not even with Singapore or New Delhi closer home - this is just to show you that Kolkata is not all about darkness, it has its bright patches as well.

The Maidan is said to be the lung of the city and it stretches over a vast expanse right in the centre of the city bordering the business district of Chowringhee. In an area that was once a dense jungle, the Maidan is an expansive park with open spaces, sports fields, and some of the city's chief attractions. The open area was created by clearing of the forest by the British in 1758, in order to provide clear lines of fire from Fort William, now one of the park's attractions. Maidan is the venue of the city's favourite sports - cricket and football, and in season the visitor can see several spirited matches taking place.
The famous Eden Gardens, the cricket aficionado's paradise, is situated at one end of the Maidan, and at the other end, overlooking Chowringhee, is the famous Victoria Memorial hall, (1905) a marble monument fashioned after the Taj.
Behind the Memorial is the historic and fashionable Royal Kolkata Turf Club, which holds some of the most prestigious races in the country. On the western side of the Maidan is Fort William now housing the Indian Army. It overlooks the river Hooghly, alongside which the Strand is a popular promenade.

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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