Sunday, November 13, 2011


The most noticeable difference in this city is the noise. Talking to each other on the street is difficult, we have to shout over the honking of the taxis, which is constant. It is a very crowded and fast paced city.

The area we are staying in is very nice. It has a lot of shops and great restaurant options, but outside of this area things are very different. There are more street food vendors that crowd the sidewalks and more people using the well pumps to take their baths. The people are still helpful and kind, but in a less friendly way, which probably has a lot to do with the crowding.

We have enjoyed our time here overall though, and have enjoyed some delicious food including a popular Kati roll that is ubiquitous street food.

There is a large open space in the center of the city known as a Maidan. It is a place for people to relax and enjoy some space:

The Indian Museum is said to be one of the largest in South Asia. It is in a lovely building, but there is not actually a lot to see. I was hoping for more artifacts from the many cultures that make up the country's history. Here is the courtyard at the museum:

This guy just doesn't care:

For a reason that neither of us were able to determine there was a "Pen and Pencil" exhibit:

Near Calcutta University:

Walking on the sidewalk down the main street is challenging with the hawkers lining both sides. Often we would opt to try our luck walking in the street with many other people who wanted to avoid the browsers who stop to bargain. This is even more of a challenge in Kolkata then it has been in previous cities for us as the driving here is much more aggressive and the drivers pay very little attention to things like red lights.

The Kali temple is a very high energy place crowded with devotees of all types and many beggars who sit in rows with their hands out hoping for a few rupees to fall into them. Animal sacrifices are still conducted at the temple which I was fully aware of before visiting, however I am not sure I was fully prepared. While walking around the courtyard we saw a small puppy chewing on what turned out to be the scalp and horns of a black goat. The devotees of MAA Kali sacrifice only black goats for her. Through the fence I noticed 2 baby goats with red flower garlands hanging around their necks, I watched for a while until a large man grabbed on of the goats roughly. The baby goat made a bleating noise that sounded to me exactly like crying and I am sure I will hear it again as I sleep. Intellectually I can accept cultural and religious differences but apparently my heart could not and tears involuntarily rolled down my cheeks. As we got a bit further from the temple Matt asked if Kali was still one of my favorites, and I decided she was.


  1. Honey badger - highlight of the trip!
    The pen and pencil exhibit is for people like me who are entertained by things like that.
    And stop with the sad animal stories or I'm going to have to stop reading your blog.