Muslim women spend time at Shah-i-hamdaan in the old town.
A group of men gather before a vendor selling vegetables.

India: A Selection of Reality

 

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  • Buddhist monks pray to lord Buddha at Mahabodhi temple complex as a part of Buddha Purnima celebrations at Bodh Gaya, the place where lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Buddha Purnima (Buddha Day) is observed traditionally by Buddhists in different places all over the world. Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it actually commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.Buddhist monks pray to lord Buddha at Mahabodhi temple complex as a part of Buddha Purnima celebrations at Bodh Gaya, the place where lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Buddha Purnima (Buddha Day) is observed traditionally by Buddhists in different places all over the world. Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it actually commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.

    Buddha Purnima

    Buddha Purnima (Buddha Day) is observed traditionally by Buddhists in different places all over the world. Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it actually commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.

  • Nihang Sikhs display horse riding skills  during Hola Mohalla festival. Hola Mohalla is a three-day festival started by the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh for the Nihangs (holy Sikh warrior) to display martial arts techniques and indulge in mock battles. The festival usually begins on the day or the day after the Hindu festival of colors, Holi. It is also an occasion for the Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy town of Anandpur Sahib.Nihang Sikhs display horse riding skills  during Hola Mohalla festival. Hola Mohalla is a three-day festival started by the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh for the Nihangs (holy Sikh warrior) to display martial arts techniques and indulge in mock battles. The festival usually begins on the day or the day after the Hindu festival of colors, Holi. It is also an occasion for the Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy town of Anandpur Sahib.

    Hola Mohalla

    Hola Mohalla is a three-day festival started by the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh for the Nihangs (holy Sikh warrior) to display martial arts techniques and indulge in mock battles. The festival usually begins on the day or the day after the Hindu festival of colors, Holi. It is also an occasion for the Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy town of Anandpur Sahib.

  • Kushti or traditional mud wrestling is an ancient sport in India and had been patronized by kings and princes in the past. It still survives as a popular sport in many parts of India. Kolhapur in Maharashtra is one such place where kushti is taken very seriously. Many people come here to stay and learn the art while living and cooking together in akhadas (gymnasium). Wrestlers start their day very early and practice in a mud pit. The mud is carefully prepared with honey and water. Besides, they sprinkle mud on their bodies because that helps them get a better grip during bouts.  Every akhada has an idol of Hanumana as the wrestlers consider him to be their patron god. Since the success of Indian wrestlers in the Olympics there is an interest in practising on mattresses instead of carrying on the tradition of mud wrestling.Kushti or traditional mud wrestling is an ancient sport in India and had been patronized by kings and princes in the past. It still survives as a popular sport in many parts of India. Kolhapur in Maharashtra is one such place where kushti is taken very seriously. Many people come here to stay and learn the art while living and cooking together in akhadas (gymnasium). Wrestlers start their day very early and practice in a mud pit. The mud is carefully prepared with honey and water. Besides, they sprinkle mud on their bodies because that helps them get a better grip during bouts.  Every akhada has an idol of Hanumana as the wrestlers consider him to be their patron god. Since the success of Indian wrestlers in the Olympics there is an interest in practising on mattresses instead of carrying on the tradition of mud wrestling.

    Kolhapur Kushti

  • Babbu Bhaat operates puppets in the Kathputhli Colony (Puppeteers' Colony) in New Delhi. The colony is a slum where, for the last fifty years, more than 3000 families of puppeteers, magicians, acrobats, singers, dancers have lived. The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) in 2010 initiated the redevelopment project of the colony on public-private partnership basis and the project was granted to Raheja Developers. As per the plan, the residents of the colony will be relocated in 10-storey apartments on the 5.2 hectare plot. A portion of the land will also be used by the developer to construct its own commercial and residential buildings. There have been protests against the project since then. However, with time many clauses of the tripartite agreement (among the DDA, Raheja Developers and the residents of the colony) have been altered. The matter had led to a legal battle too. The court order says that the residents have to be convinced to shift without recourse to any forceful eviction. Many residents, being satisfied, have moved to the transit camp (developed by Raheja) some 2 kms away from the colony. They are expected to stay here for two years within which time the project will be completed. But many families are yet to be convinced as they think the project will not care of their interests. Therefore the plan and the future of the residents of the colony are still uncertain.Babbu Bhaat operates puppets in the Kathputhli Colony (Puppeteers' Colony) in New Delhi. The colony is a slum where, for the last fifty years, more than 3000 families of puppeteers, magicians, acrobats, singers, dancers have lived. The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) in 2010 initiated the redevelopment project of the colony on public-private partnership basis and the project was granted to Raheja Developers. As per the plan, the residents of the colony will be relocated in 10-storey apartments on the 5.2 hectare plot. A portion of the land will also be used by the developer to construct its own commercial and residential buildings. There have been protests against the project since then. However, with time many clauses of the tripartite agreement (among the DDA, Raheja Developers and the residents of the colony) have been altered. The matter had led to a legal battle too. The court order says that the residents have to be convinced to shift without recourse to any forceful eviction. Many residents, being satisfied, have moved to the transit camp (developed by Raheja) some 2 kms away from the colony. They are expected to stay here for two years within which time the project will be completed. But many families are yet to be convinced as they think the project will not care of their interests. Therefore the plan and the future of the residents of the colony are still uncertain.

    Puppeteers' Colony

    Puppeteers' Colony in New Delhi is a slum where, for the last fifty years, more than 3000 families of puppeteers, magicians, acrobats, singers and dancers have lived. The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) in 2010 initiated the redevelopment project of the colony on public-private partnership basis as a part of New Delhi Masterplan 2021 where the slum dwellers will be relocated in 10-storey apartments amidst other residential and commercial buildings. While many residents of the colony have moved to the transit camp and are waiting for the project to be completed, others refuse to shift from their houses. The plan and the future of the residents of the colony are still uncertain.

  • Khasi people enjoy themselves singing and dancing to traditional music near Shillong in Meghalaya.
Meghalaya is a state in north-east India which means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. Previously a part of Assam, Meghalaya became a state in 1972 when the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills came under it. English is the official language of Meghalaya and Christianity its main religion. Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents. The state is also the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm of rains annually.Khasi people enjoy themselves singing and dancing to traditional music near Shillong in Meghalaya.
Meghalaya is a state in north-east India which means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. Previously a part of Assam, Meghalaya became a state in 1972 when the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills came under it. English is the official language of Meghalaya and Christianity its main religion. Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents. The state is also the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm of rains annually.

    Meghalaya: The Abode of Clouds

  • Women pluck tea leaves at Makaibari tea garden. Set up in 1859 off Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills the Makaibari estate is the world’s first tea factory. Swaraj Kumar Banerjee aka Rajah Banerjee, the great-grandson of the founder (GIrish Chandra Banerjee), has taken it to an altogether new height. Organically produced tea of Makaibari fetched a record price of $1,850 (around Rs 1.12 lakh) per kg. It became the official tea partner at Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was served at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, a couple of years ago Rajah sold off almost 90% stake to the Luxmi Group as his sons were not interested to run the family business. But he still remains the chairman of Makaibari Tea & Trading Co Pvt Ltd and the face of the company. The Luxmi Group promises to bring in accounting expertise and develop distribution network further to help Makaibari become a much bigger brand.Women pluck tea leaves at Makaibari tea garden. Set up in 1859 off Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills the Makaibari estate is the world’s first tea factory. Swaraj Kumar Banerjee aka Rajah Banerjee, the great-grandson of the founder (GIrish Chandra Banerjee), has taken it to an altogether new height. Organically produced tea of Makaibari fetched a record price of $1,850 (around Rs 1.12 lakh) per kg. It became the official tea partner at Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was served at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, a couple of years ago Rajah sold off almost 90% stake to the Luxmi Group as his sons were not interested to run the family business. But he still remains the chairman of Makaibari Tea & Trading Co Pvt Ltd and the face of the company. The Luxmi Group promises to bring in accounting expertise and develop distribution network further to help Makaibari become a much bigger brand.

    Makaibari Tea Estates

    Organically produced tea of Makaibari fetched a record price of $1,850 (around Rs 1.12 lakh) per kg. It became the official tea partner at Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was served at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

  • To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of all the sixteen tribes of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. The festival was first held in the year 2000. It is named after the Indian hornbill, the large and colourful bird which is much admired by the tribes of the state. Hornbill festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, some twelve kilometers away from the state capital, Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. For visitors the festival offers an opportunity to understand the tribal culture of Nagaland. The Traditional Naga Morungs and the sale of indigenous artifacts provide additional attraction.To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of all the sixteen tribes of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. The festival was first held in the year 2000. It is named after the Indian hornbill, the large and colourful bird which is much admired by the tribes of the state. Hornbill festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, some twelve kilometers away from the state capital, Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. For visitors the festival offers an opportunity to understand the tribal culture of Nagaland. The Traditional Naga Morungs and the sale of indigenous artifacts provide additional attraction.

    Hornbill Festival

    To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of all the sixteen tribes of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. The festival was first held in the year 2000. It is named after the Indian hornbill, the large and colourful bird which is much admired by the tribes of the state. Hornbill festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, some twelve kilometers away from the state capital, Kohima.

  • Devotees enjoy themselves at Krishna temple in Nandgaon on Holi when the atmosphere becomes electric as colours are sprayed from every direction.
Barsana, a village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, observes Holi with tremendous enthusiasm every year. Men from Nandgaon come to play Holi  but are greeted, besides colours, with sticks by the womenfolk. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi. The next day, it is the turn of men of Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colours and of course, much music and fun.Devotees enjoy themselves at Krishna temple in Nandgaon on Holi when the atmosphere becomes electric as colours are sprayed from every direction.
Barsana, a village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, observes Holi with tremendous enthusiasm every year. Men from Nandgaon come to play Holi  but are greeted, besides colours, with sticks by the womenfolk. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi. The next day, it is the turn of men of Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colours and of course, much music and fun.

    Barsana-Nandgaon Holi

    Holi of Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, a village, 42 kms away from Mathura, is of particular interest. Here, men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji's temple. But, instead of colours they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi. Smart enough, men come fully padded as they are fully aware what kind of welcome awaits them and also the fact that they are not allowed to retaliate on that day. In this mock battle of sorts, they try their best not to be captured. The unlucky one's however, are forcefully led away and get a good thrashing from the women. Further, they are made to wear female attire and dance in public. All in the spirit of Holi. Renowned poets like Surdas, Nand-das, Kumbhan-das and others have picturesquely described how Lord Krishna received similar treatment and was forced to don a sari and wear make-up and perform dance before being released by the gopis. The next day, it is the turn of men of Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon and drench the womenfolk of Nandgaon in colours of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye and palash. Today, the women of Nadagaon beat the invaders from Barsana. It is a colourful site. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colours and of course, much fun.

  • A view of a decrepit bungalow that once belonged to an Anglo-Indian family. McCluskiegunj is a town founded by Ernst Timothy McCluskie, a businessman from Calcutta (now Kolkata) of Irish-Indian origin. He formed a co-operative, Colonisation Society of India, in 1933 by taking permanent lease of 10000 acre of land at Lapra, an insignificant place some 70 km from Ranchi, from the king of Ratu. His idea was to eventually build an enclave for the Anglo-Indian and Euro-Indian people living in India which would be a "mini England" providing solidarity and security to the minority community from getting its identity lost in the vast population of India. It attracted as many as 400 Euro-Indian families who were eager to realize the dream of McCluskie who died in 1934. But things gradually took a different turn as lack of economic opportunity for the younger generation and the general political atmosphere before the Indian independence made the Euro-Indian population doubt their future in a country where their culture was closer to the colonial British. With the passage of time many of the the old generation died while others moved away to seek fortune elsewhere. Today only a handful of them remain in McCluskiegunj reminiscing the glorious past. Quite a few of them have to face difficulty in making a living too. But with the opening of Don Bosco Academy school there has been an economic revival in McCluskiegunj as many residents have converted their houses into hostels for students. But it will never be what it once was or what it was first conceived to be. McCluskiegunj tried to look towards the future but ironically today it lives in the past.A view of a decrepit bungalow that once belonged to an Anglo-Indian family. McCluskiegunj is a town founded by Ernst Timothy McCluskie, a businessman from Calcutta (now Kolkata) of Irish-Indian origin. He formed a co-operative, Colonisation Society of India, in 1933 by taking permanent lease of 10000 acre of land at Lapra, an insignificant place some 70 km from Ranchi, from the king of Ratu. His idea was to eventually build an enclave for the Anglo-Indian and Euro-Indian people living in India which would be a "mini England" providing solidarity and security to the minority community from getting its identity lost in the vast population of India. It attracted as many as 400 Euro-Indian families who were eager to realize the dream of McCluskie who died in 1934. But things gradually took a different turn as lack of economic opportunity for the younger generation and the general political atmosphere before the Indian independence made the Euro-Indian population doubt their future in a country where their culture was closer to the colonial British. With the passage of time many of the the old generation died while others moved away to seek fortune elsewhere. Today only a handful of them remain in McCluskiegunj reminiscing the glorious past. Quite a few of them have to face difficulty in making a living too. But with the opening of Don Bosco Academy school there has been an economic revival in McCluskiegunj as many residents have converted their houses into hostels for students. But it will never be what it once was or what it was first conceived to be. McCluskiegunj tried to look towards the future but ironically today it lives in the past.

    McCluskiegunj: the Lost Anglo-Indian Dream

    McCluskiegunj is a town founded by Ernst Timothy McCluskie, a businessman from Calcutta (now Kolkata) of Irish-Indian origin. He formed a co-operative, Colonisation Society of India, in 1933 by taking permanent lease of 10000 acre of land at Lapra, an insignificant place some 70 km from Ranchi, from the king of Ratu. His idea was to eventually build an enclave for the Anglo-Indian and Euro-Indian people living in India which would be a "mini England" providing solidarity and security to the minority community from getting its identity lost in the vast population of India. It attracted as many as 400 Euro-Indian families who were eager to realize the dream of McCluskie who died in 1934. But things gradually took a different turn as lack of economic opportunity for the younger generation and the general political atmosphere before the Indian independence made the Euro-Indian population doubt their future in a country where their culture was closer to the colonial British. With the passage of time many of the the old generation died while others moved away to seek fortune elsewhere. Today only a handful of them remain in McCluskiegunj reminiscing the glorious past. Quite a few of them have to face difficulty in making a living too. But with the opening of Don Bosco Academy school there has been an economic revival in McCluskiegunj as many residents have converted their houses into hostels for students. But it will never be what it once was or what it was first conceived to be.

  • A view of Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir.A view of Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir.

    Kashmir

  • The Chinatown of Kolkata


 

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