Documenting the worship of Rama in Bengal history

The curious case of Rama in West Bengal Mahakavi Krritibas Ojha (1381–1461), a well known poet from Bengal, was the author of “Sri Rampanchali,” the Bengali version of the Sanskrit Ramayan. While he had largely changed the narrative of Valmiki’s Ramayan and made many additions of his own (making Ram quite different from the original…

Rabindranath Tagore and a glimpse into some of his paintings

“From our very childhood habits are formed and knowledge is imparted in such a manner that our life is weaned away from nature and our mind and the world are set in opposition from the beginning of our days. Thus the greatest of educations for which we came prepared is neglected, and we are made…

Gaganendranath Tagore- A forgotten part of Bengal Art History

Few days back I came across a news link that spoke of the recent installation of paintings by Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore in the Victoria Memorial museum gallery (Kolkata). The first feeling was of immense happiness seeing the two artists finally receiving their due places in the hall of fame. The second feeling was of…

Paintings by the colonial era Company artist: SitaRam

During the late 18th century as the East India Company expanded its control over Bengal and parts of  northern India, Indian painting technique and style underwent revolutionary changes. The Mughal style of painting using natural pigments and minerals were abandoned for the newly learned watercolour technique, and old painting themes that were based on historical…

Exploring the history of tea

Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things ~ Chaim Pot. “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky Where did the culture of tea drinking start? No, the habit of drinking tea as regular beverage did not originate in…

Durga Puja : A Daughter’s Homecoming

Durga Puja. The very name sounds musical to the ears of any Bengali. The festival, which celebrates the worship of the devi Durga, is synonymous with clear blue autumnal skies, white fluffy clouds, bright sunshine, and fields full of kash phool. The festival also signifies a long holiday: to the Bengalis that stay in Kolkata,…

The Journey of Kalighat Patachitra

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” as Plato had once said and it holds true for Kalighat patachitra. With their lack of symmetry in human figures and sense of proportions, they often fail to impress the eyes of a realist. However, these paintings appeal to many art lovers with their bright colours, bold…

Calcutta- The Colonial City

Calcutta, once the city of palaces, so beloved of the British, has various  interesting theories regarding its name and origin. The name Kolikata first appeared in the 15th century writings of the Bengali poet, Bipradas Pipilai, and later in the 16th century, on the payroll list maintained by Akbar’s court. Some contend that it is this name…