Monday, 27 March 2006

Another side of Calcutta

As promised a few days ago, here are a couple of pictures showing a somewhat different side of Calcutta.

This is Victoria Memorial, one of the city's most impressive and famous landmarks. Of course it was built by the british (using plenty of Indian labour of course), it has been kept well unlike so many other colonial buildings in Calcutta.

Park Street, the street where the rich and famous go to dine, shop and all those other things rich and famous people do. The restaurants and shops here are very chic and trendy. The picture itself wasn't that successful, but I think it still conveys the sense of a modern, busy, lit-up street.
Religious life is still very important in India, and Calcutta is no exception. The most important temple in Calcutta is the Kalighat Temple, dedicated to the bloodthirsty wife and incarnation of Shiva, Kali. Kali demands blood constantly, so up to several hundred ritual beheadings of animals (primarily goats) take place at the Temple each day. The people standing at the gate are observing the sacrifical pavillion.

The sacrificial pavillion up close. Notice the birds hanging out here to get in on the action. It all seems very brutal and almost barbarious to the western outsider, but it has to be said in all fairness that all the meat from the goats is being used (as far as I could understand to feed the poor).

A shop outside the temple sells all sorts of religious artifacts. Everything a devotee could wish to gift the Goddess or hang up on the wall at home.

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