I took this shot at Maidan, Kolkata.. Shot taken at 6 am..
The Maidan (literally open field) is the largest urban park in Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a vast stretch of field and home to numerous play grounds, including the famous cricketing venue Eden Gardens, several football stadia, and Kolkata Race Course. Maidan is dotted with several statues and pieces of architecture, most notable being the Victoria Memorial. Due to the freshness and greenery it provides to the metropolis, it has been referred to as the "lungs of Kolkata". Maidan is a property of the Indian Army, and hosts the Eastern zone high command of the Indian Army in Fort William. The Maidan stretches from as far north as the Raj Bhavan building in Esplanade and as far south as the National Library on Belvedere Rd. in Alipore. The wide field stretches from the Hoogly River on the west to the Victoria Memorial on the east. It is a historical and cultural center of Kolkata as well as a center of leisure and entertainment for Calcuttans.
In 1758, one year after their decisive win in Battle of Plassey, the British East India Company commenced construction of the new Fort William in the center of the village Gobindapur. The inhabitants of the village were compensated and provided with land in Taltala, Kumartuli and Shovabazar. The fort was completed in 1773. “The tiger-haunted jungle which cut off the village of Chowringhee from the river was cleared, and gave way to the wide grassy stretch of the Maidan of which Calcutta is so proud. The formation of this airy expanse and the filling up of the creek which had cut off the settlement in the south, led the European inhabitants to gradually forsake the narrow limits of the old palisades. The movement towards Chowringhee had already been noticeable as early as 1746.”
In 1909, H.E.A. Cotton wrote, “The great Maidan presents a most refreshing appearance to the eye, the heavy night dew, even in the hot season, keeping the grass green. Many of the fine trees with which it was once studded were blown down in the cyclone of 1864. But they have not been allowed to remain without successors, and the handsome avenues across the Maidan still constitute the chief glory of Calcutta. Dotting the wide expanse are a number of fine tanks, from which the inhabitants were content in former days to obtain their water-supply.”
The Maidan was initially developed as a 5 square kilometre parade ground for the forces. While the Europeans moved to the area around the Maidan, the Indians moved away from the area. The richer families such as the Debs moved to Sobhabazar, the Tagores to Pathuriaghata and Jorasanko, and the Ghosals to Bhukailash (Khidirpur). The Maidan has been with the army since it was developed, they are the owners, but administration of the Maidan was one on the long list of duties of the police. Thieves, both Indian and European, were there as early as the 1860s. Legally also, the fort and the Maidan were excluded from the city as per Act 16 of 1847.
While the core of the Maidan has remained untouched except for roads and tram tracks across it, the surrounding areas have seen a lot of construction activity. In 1882, Calcutta Tramways Corporation introduced steam-powered trams across the Maidan from Chowringhee to Kalighat and Khidirpur. In 1889, came the electric trams.
"The oldest road on the Maidan is the Course, extending from the ‘Cocked hat’ in the north to the Khidirpur bridge. The ‘broad gravelled walk’ on the west side of that portion is the Red Road, constructed in 1820. To the south of the fort is the Ellenborough Course, meant for horse exercises, and towards the east is the Race Course, started in 1819. That was the scenario a century back."
he Raj Bhawan was built in 1803, the 48 metres high Octerlony Monument in 1848, the museum was started in the Asiatic Society in 1814 but shifted to the present site as Indian Museum in 1887, St. Paul’s Cathedral was built between 1839 and 1847, it was consecrated in 1874, and the Victoria Memorial came up in 1921. On Council House Street, at one corner of the Maidan was the long-defunct Fort William College, which played a pioneering role in the development of many of the Indian languages, particularly Bengali.
The cricket stadium at Eden Gardens came up in stages. Amongst the later additions are – Netaji Indoor Stadium, the M.P. Birla Planetarium,Rabindra Sadan, Academy of Fine Arts, and Nandan.
Chowringhee, part of the north-south lifeline of Kolkata came up with the Maidan along what was the old road made by the Sabarna Roy Choudhurys, the old zemindars of Calcutta, from Barisha, where the junior branch resided, to Halisahar, which was the seat of the senior branch. The Tollygunj-Esplanade section of Metro Railway took a little over seven years to build disturbing activity on the eastern end of the Maidan The stations bordering on the Maidan as one travels from the south are Maidan, Park Street and Esplanade.
The Howrah Bridge has been away from the Maidan but the second Hooghly bridge, Vidyasagar Setu, overlooks at least one corner of the Maidan and Fort William.
Critiques | Translate
Noel_Byrne (25222) 2013-12-21 5:56
a unique way to present the green lungs of Kolkata in black and white but it suits the image well and brings out great details in both the prior and the early morning fog. I live how we can see many people through the scene too showing how vital this place is. Thanks for the image and excellent note
krzychu30 (15498) 2013-12-21 23:17
great to see your new photos my friend(I was also quite busy last days,unfortunately)
This has really great,unique atmosphere I think even more intensified by your monochrome treatment(which by the way is superb!)
The morning fog in the BG adds some additional mood to the whole scene.
Have a nice sunday
aleXundar (1256) 2013-12-27 6:42
Arey bah bah!
Morning Maidan ambiance is nicely photographed.
For a long period in Nov and Dec., morning at Maidan had been fog and mist only. But you have very intelligently converted this one in BW. Good decision.
Aamio kore dekhbo?
It is a great shot dear. Bhorey ghum theke otha sarthak hoyechhe.
- Copyright: Indrasish Guha (Indrasish) (2873)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Black & White
- Date Taken: 2013-12-20
- Categories: Nature, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Nikon D5100, Nikkor 18 55mm
- Exposure: f/4.5, 1/60 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-12-21 1:11