Skip to content

Grey Town–A Confluence of Cultures

September 20, 2009

“Calcutta Walks ( www.calcuttawalks.com) offers guided walking tours of Black Town, White Town and what it calls Grey Town, where Marwari traders, Baghdadi Jews, Zoroastrians from ancient Persia and others settled.”  Bill and I explored Grey Town on a Confluence of Cultures walk with Explorer Ifte.  If you want to experience Kolkata, contact Ifte at Calcutta Walks!

Grey Town is between White Town or Black Town for people who don’t belong in either.

IMG_2891

Although it’s impossible to recreate this fascinating adventure, I can share it with you visually.  Some of the pictures you’ll see are ones that Ifte took and sent to us, like the one below.  The goats are the local milkmen on their way to deliver milk.

P1160464

IMG_2894

IMG_2896

Sugar cane was squeezed on the spot for a quick, sweet drink.

IMG_2895

Bill was especially interested in the Parsis, Indian Zoroastrians. “Dharmashala for Parsi Travellers” is a welcoming place for Parsis to stay.

IMG_2899IMG_2900

IMG_2913

Bill noticed posters in Arabic for Muslims in Grey Town.

IMG_2901

Ifte took us to a Zoroastrian fire temple.

IMG_2902

IMG_2903

IMG_2904

A picture of Zarasthuthra and a Zorastrian priest.

P1160460

It seemed ironic that at a fire temple they had a fire bucket for extinguishing fires!

IMG_2907

IMG_2911

IMG_2912

P1160471

Ifte also took us to China Town where we talked with a store owner that sold only Chinese goods.  She had never been to China!

P1160466

P1160469

Then we wandered through the Chinese market.

IMG_2916IMG_2918IMG_2921

We stopped at a Chinese family temple where ancestors were worshiped.

IMG_2922IMG_2923

IMG_2926

These are the only cats I saw in Kolkata!

IMG_2927

IMG_2931Ifte shared a lassi with us.  Not a mango lassi like you can get at Indian restaurants in the US but a lassi made right in front of you.  In India there are mangoes and lassis but no mango lassis.

IMG_2929

Then we found an abandoned Zoroastrian fire temple that was owned by one family but now squatters had established their businesses there.

IMG_2932IMG_2935

IMG_2937

We visited a Jewish synagogue.

IMG_2938

IMG_2943IMG_2944

Even in Grey Town there was an image of Kali.

IMG_2947Next we saw a Jain temple.

IMG_2950

IMG_2953

And a Christian church.

IMG_2956

Then Ifte took us to another Jewish synagogue.

IMG_2959

IMG_2962Next we stopped at an Armenian Christian Church.  Who knew so many different places existed in Kolkata?  Ifte did!

IMG_2964IMG_2965

It was being renovated and materials were strewn on the graves in the courtyard.

IMG_2966IMG_2968

This building was dedicated to protecting cows throughout India.  They care for 50,000 cows.

IMG_2969

This is a poster of where each Hindu god resides in the cow.

IMG_2970

Our last stop was the main mosque in Kolkata.

IMG_2982

IMG_2978

The clocks above show the five daily prayer times.  Below you can see that because this mosque is in the middle of the city of Kolkata, it needed many stories.

IMG_2979

Every mosque has a place to cleanse yourself before prayer.

IMG_2983

IMG_2975

IMG_2989I wonder what you’re thinking about White Town, Black Town and Grey Town.  If you leave a comment, I’ll respond.  And remember if you’re ever in Kolkata, talk to Ifte at Calcutta Walks.

It was time for Bill and me to move on to the next part of this adventure in India–the Hoogly River.

Lanloi1

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: