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On the Hoogly–Matiari, Nabadwip and the Hari Krishna

November 1, 2009

On day five we took the country boat to the shore to visit the brass working village of Matiari.

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(You can see in this video that at first the lens kept fogging up going from an air-conditioned cabin to the high-humidity outdoors.)

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As we walked through the village, we heard the incessant beat of brass making.

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We wended our way down village lanes to the homes of families who now made small brass objects so that tourists from The Sukapha could buy them.

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The whole family worked at either making these objects or selling them.

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I bought a set of stacking brass water pots for my collection and Bill convinced me to get the little “bejeweled” elephant in the lower right corner.

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It was so good to know that our rupees went directly to this family–and then we were off to the next brass working family.

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The patriarch of this family sat in the background, occasionally leaning forward to oversee the work.

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The two small plates in the foreground with the floral and peacock designs are now in my living room.

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Our guide, Sumit Bhattacharyya, accompanied us everywhere explaining Indian culture and history and answering our questions.

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You may begin to recognize some of our followers who greeted us and stayed with us for our entire visit.

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The Manager of The Sukapha, Kunal Singh, held the baby from the first household of brass workers as Sumit reached out to her.

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There was a complete process for making brass in Matiari although we didn’t see it in order.  Here men are taking brass sheets and cutting them into circles to be worked into plates.

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At another home, brass bowls were being turned out.

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This man is shaping a bowl.

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The ubiquitous jute dried on the roof with haystacks elevated above it to prevent rot.

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Every home had its role.  In this one, large brass vessels were hammered out.

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This boy kept trying to stand in front of my camcorder and then dark behind it to look at himself in the screen.  Kids are used to seeing themselves in digital cameras!

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At the next home, brass scraps were heated in a wood fired kiln and pressed out into new larger pieces.

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After returning to The Sukapha, we sailed again and then stopped at Nabadwip on the opposite bank to visit the giant Banyon tree–and shop for Ganesha statues!

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Underneath were temples to Shiva and Kali.

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After another short cruise, we visited ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) or Hari Krishna so well-known throughout the world as the cult-like people passing out flowers in airports during the Age of Aquarius.  On the walk to the ISKCON temple (where no pictures were allowed) we passed more Shiva pilgrims.

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Back on board we cruised down the Hoogly River, as villages grew to towns.  There were only two more days before we were back in Kolkata.

mouthsganges

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