Have you seen the entire complex? Have been to the back of
the Mazar? The man constantly followed us while we were busy trying to
photograph each and every section of the mausoleum. At one point the man
assertively pointed out to the various Hindu mythological characters still very
much visually present. He then smiled and said, “Sir, I am a Hindu and I
come here often, not only me but many like me have been coming here for
generations and seeking the blessing of the Ghazi. You wish out here and it
will be fulfilled by the Ghazi”.
It took me five years to write this blog, not because I was
lazy but because to start with my first set of photographs of this place was
not clear as it had become dark during my first shoot way back in 2015 and
finally when I could again shoot the entire complex I had to deal with various
conflicting version of Zafar Khan Ghazi.
For some historians, he was an Islamic crusader while some
legends talk of him as the worshiper of Ganges while some refer to him as the
Sufi who built Madrasas and Mosques. Do you know who Ulugh-i-A’zam Humayun
Zafar Khan Bahram Itgin was? Probably not, do not worry even I did not know
before finishing my last blog in the Chinsurah series. Today I am going
to take you to Tribeni, which is a small town in the Hooghly
district in West Bengal, India. This small town has the tomb of Ulugh i
A’zam Humayun Zafar Khan Bahram Itgin or better known to all as Zafar Khan
Ghazi Mosque and Dargah or was it someone else who was buried there?
Bond, James Bond and it completely blew my mind off; it was
the very first Bond movie that I was watching and I fell completely in love
with Mr. Bond. I still remember the hotel room where I completely glued myself
to the television set watching From Russia with Love. What I have noticed in
every Bond movie is that they highlight different countries and its unique
tourist places. Bond has come to India, Iceland, Russia and in this movie The
Man with the Golden Gun, Bond had come to Thailand and during a particular chase
scene, he can be seen running away from goons around Damnoen Saduak and
its famous Floating Market.
Last month when I had visited Thailand a part of the tour which was organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Smile Airways included a trip to Ratchaburi Province which is around one hour drive from Bangkok. This place is famous for its Floating Markets. A trip to Floating Market can be a good half a day tour from Bangkok and can be easily combined with the Maeklong Train Market. Usually, tourist visits these two places together as a part of a day trip out of Bangkok.
One of the most common videos that you will see coming out
of any Thailand trip would be that of the Train Market. Being
from Kolkata (India) it is something that I have seen from my childhood days but
slightly is a different way. For our daily fresh vegetables and meat, my father
used to go to the market located beyond the railway line and sometimes I have
faint memories of going along with him. While most of the shops were located
after crossing, the railway lines I still remember some vendors especially
fruit sellers and household accessories being sold on the abandoned and less
used railway tracks. The railway gateman would often make an announcement over
his loudspeaker to warn people of incoming trains.
On my recent trip to Thailand, our group was taken for a
tour of the outskirts of Bangkok to a place called Samut Songkhram. This
place is located on the outskirts of Bangkok and one needs to take a private
car, taxi, bus and other means of transport to reach this province. This place
is however more famous for its slow train which people often refer to as the Maeklong
I have been lucky enough to travel to quite a few Visa on Arrival countries. In fact, the very first country that I had visited was Sri Lanka, which then had a visa on arrival for Indian citizens. Things, however, were very complicated when I was traveling to Europe, which required a Schengen Visa and that meant tons of paperwork and then waiting for the application process to go through.
Thailand off late have exempted Visa requirements for Indians which means you can just plan a trip overnight and head out. Especially tourist from Kolkata have an advantage considering the distance between Kolkata and Bangkok. Prior to my recent trip to Thailand, I had quite a few doubts and found it difficult to find a single source to get all the consolidated information. Therefore, I had decided that when I come back I would write one consolidated blog covering all the variables.
One of the very first countries that my father visited
nearly four decades back was Thailand. I would often see photo frames hung
around our staircase with collages of photographs from his Thailand trip. The
dancing girls, seafood, people always amused me and I really wanted to visit to
see these myself. Over the years and decades, the photographs slowly faded
away, after some time the photo frame also disintegrated with termite attack.
What remained was a plastic wall hanging flower holder but that too was lost
over time. The memories also slowly faded just like those photos in the frame.
After a decade of blogging, I got my first ever chance to go for a familiarization trip organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to Bangkok. The opportunity was not pre-planned and within a week I was ready with my bags packed for my first ever trip to Thailand.
When we were young my grandmother used to keep telling us about how her father that is my great grandfather had lost quite a significant amount of money due to a bank run. I was too young to understand the meaning of a bank run and was assuming that the owner of the bank had run away with all the money. Much later during y college days when I was studying Economics at university did I really understand the actual meaning and the basic reason why such things happened in the first place.
For the last couple of years during any heritage trail around Dalhousie area of Kolkata, you are sure to pass in front of an ornate red and white building with the name “Reserve Bank of India” on it. Located right opposite of yet another famous landmark St. John’s Church this building is usually referred to as the building that once housed the “Alliance Bank of Simla”. A couple of month’s back I had the chance of visiting this building on coming to know that RBI (Reserve Bank of India) had recently opened its one of a kind museum out here.