Flower market and Marigold Garlands
23 01 2011
Leena our guide took us round Kalkota today. What an exciting city! It is bursting with life, 100 year old trams trundled by crammed to bursting, a whole family went by in a tricycle truck, what a fit Dad they had! And little tut-tuts wove in and out. Overhead there was a jungle of electric cables looping over every lamp post. We went to the wholesale flower market covering several acres beside the Hooley river , a branch of the Ganges. There were coils and coils of marigold garlands as tall as me and stacks of banana leaves. Every family needs flowers every day for religious rituals. Families of children were plaiting roses into strands. In the river people were bathing,, no swimming costumes, just walk in fully clothed. Old men came out wringing water from their dhobis and paddled back to the market through the mud while the dogs ,basking on discarded piles of greenery eyed them lazily.
Next we visited a Jain Temple with exquisite mirror and coloured glass mosaics, and then on to the Victoria Monument a magnificent marble edifice incorporating Grecian Italian and Islamic styles of architecture which amazingly works very well. Its full of Victorian memorabilia.
After lunch we visited the cemetery ,overcrowded with obelisks urns and great plaques. It was sad to see how many young wives did not survive beyond their 20s and many of the children died in infancy. Malaria and fever took its toll no doubt. Then we saw the Indian St Pauls Cathederal, another massive marble building. It has lovely stained glass and as the late afternoon sun shone through the whole altar was lit up in pink and green. Next door we saw an art exhibition and by then we were exhausted.