Calcutta rare photos – A collection from British era
recognize these photos? This collection is from a military photographer, Mr Claude Waddel, who was posted at calcutta during 1945-46. a rare collection, indeed. you can see the entire collection here
Chowringhee Street—Calcutta’s main throughfare, an amazing parade of fascinating sights and sounds. Every soldier who has trod its length retains memories of one of the most colorful and interesting streets in the world.
this is not a google earth photo! Aerial view of Calcutta downtown. In upeer left background is Hindusthan building, U.S. Army HQ. The oldest part of the city starts at the esplanade and extends upwards. The city was founded in the early 1700’s.
A strong contrast to the splendor of the Jain temple is the Kalighat temple, built in the 1600’s, worship place of Hindus. It is famous for the practice of sacrificing goats, as many as 1500 having been slaughtered in one day. On the bank of a canal cut from the original Ganges bed, it is the temple of the Goddess kali.
Indians are the bravest commuters in the world. They hang from every handhold. The two shown here, however, are bent on clinching a seat before the car fills. Ancient double-decker buses sway and chug under the strain of double overloads and trams make packed neew York subways seem comofortable by comparison.
The noon snack is taken by many at a fruit vendor such as this one. Verboten to troops by Millitary order, sanitation isn’t even considered and peels litter the streets. Greatest menace of this dealer is the threat of Cholera, carried by flies from open garbage bins to sliced fruit.
Highlight of the out-of-bounds visit is of course, a look-in on the lassies. These dusky ladies of the night ask from Rs 100.00 to xx for the dubious pleasure they offer. The GI seems to find making choice hard.
Indians seem to be great travelers. Wartime transportation priorities have forced many wary travelers to remain in stations waiting for long periods. Because of no other means, many must set up house- keeping during the long vigil, cooking their food on the spot and sleeping on the bare floor.
the river ganjes – The Hooghly river is lined with bathing ghats likke the one shown here. The troop transports in the back- ground seem out of place in the old-world atmosphere created by the temple at left and the sampans at anchor.
howrah bridge – Calcutta boasts the third largest cantielver bridge in the world. Its real importance, however, lies in the fact that it serves as Calcutta’s gateway to the wese, being the city’s only bridge spanning the Hooghly. Taking 7 years to build, it cost $10,000,000. It towers 310 feet as the city’s highes structure, is 2,150 feet long with a center span of 1,500 feet. It was completed in 1942, opened in February, 1943.
nimtolla burning ghat – where people burn the bodies of their dead and commit the remains to the Hooghly river. Several funeral pyres still burn while abandoned baby in foregroud awaits burning.
Chowringhee Square. The Mohammddan mosque, Juma Masjid, is shown at left. This is actually one of thequiet moments when GI trucks, taxis, bicycles and other modes of transport can move with comparative freedom.
Howrah Bridge: View looking east across the Howrah Bridge towards Calcutta, from Howrah. The 1,530 foot bridge was built on floating pontoons (clearly seen here) in order to obviate possible silting which permanent piers might have caused. It was designed by Sir Bradford Leslie and erected in 1874. It was replaced by a cantilever bridge in 1943. The photograph is contained in: Massey, Montague (1918), Recollections of Calcutta for over half a century. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Company. The photograph was taken circa 1918.
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