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On the Hoogly–Baranagar

October 10, 2009

We began the morning cruising down the charming Hooghly, twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards, jute fields and rice paddies, watching rural India wake up.

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We noticed men dressed in orange, walking in solemn lines.  They were Shiva worshipers on pilgrimage to visit local shrines to Shiva.  We saw them on and off the rest of our trip.

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The anchor was raised and The Sukapha started to cruise.

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I took pictures of haystacks for Bill (who was still asleep).

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We dropped anchor and took the country boat to the delightful, sleepy village of Baranagar.  We walked through the fields to visit three gorgeous miniature terracotta Hindu temples.  This is rural India at its most idyllic.

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We saw a local Hindu shrine (above) and the typical patting of cow dung on to house walls to dry for fuel (below).

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The first terra cotta Hindu temple was dedicated to Shiva.

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The terra cotta reliefs told stories from Hindu mythology.  They were sculpted individually from clay on the surface of each brick.

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Inside was the symbol for Shiva, the Lingum, decorated with offerings of flowers.

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We came upon a village school and a kind teacher who invited us in.

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This is the school cafeteria!

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Symbols of Shiva were everywhere.

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There were also offerings to Shiva.

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We headed back to the country boat and The Sukapha.

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It was only mid-morning.  We had yet to sail further downstream past riverside mansions and on to palaces.

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