SPRING NEWSLETTER LONDON MAP FAIR

British Isles Ortelius 1570

British Isles Ortelius 1570


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/M3485-british-isles-ortelius/

The superb London Map Fair at the Royal Geographical Society, next to the Albert Hall, will be held on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of June.
A great selection of maps from most of the World’s leading Map Sellers will be on offer from as little as £10 and up to £100,000+.
More Information of times and exhibitors can be gleaned from visiting http://www.londonmapfairs.com/
I can be found as usual in the Drayson room.
I have just launched my all new WEBSITE which is more tablet & mobile friendly ..In transferring the maps across there are a few broken links so please email me if you need more information.
Below a few of the new additions from the thousands of maps and decorative prints that can be found on my website http://www.maphouse.co.uk

AFRICA

Sebastian Munster AFRICA FIRST AVAILABLE MAP OF THE CONTINENT £875.00

Sebastian Munster
AFRICA FIRST AVAILABLE MAP OF THE CONTINENT £875.00


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3457-africa-first-available-map-of-the-continent/

Beautiful Hondius of Africa 1631 £1150

Beautiful Hondius of Africa 1631 £1150


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3297-africa/

Large chart Capetown to East Cape Rare 1700 £585

Large chart Capetown to East Cape Rare 1700 £585


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/south/M3458-south-africa-sea-chart-rare/

ANON  SOUTH AFRICA CAPE PENINSULA CAPETOWN £85.00

ANON
SOUTH AFRICA CAPE PENINSULA CAPETOWN £85.00

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http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/south/M3439-south-africa-cape-peninsula-capetown/

ASIA

Cluver 1690

Cluver 1690


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3200-east-indies/

East Indies Singapore Chatelain 1719

East Indies Singapore Chatelain 1719


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3419-east-indies/

China Tirion 1750c £245

China Tirion 1750c £245


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/china/M3328-china/

China , Japan & Philippines Bellin 1750c  £225

China , Japan & Philippines Bellin 1750c £225


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3456-china-japan-philippines-indonesia/

BRITISH ISLES

Munster  England 1570c £325

Munster England 1570c £325


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/england/M3407-munster-early-map-of-england-wales-and-part/

Scotland Wall Map Laurie & Whittle 1794 £500

Scotland Wall Map Laurie & Whittle 1794 £500


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/scotland/M3436-scotland-wall-map/

London Wyld 1826 £385

London Wyld 1826 £385


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/london/M3441-london-folding-map/

London Homann 1720c £585

London Homann 1720c £585


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/london/M3355-london-map-and-views/

NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA ISLAND

Ogier 1702 £325

Ogier 1702 £325


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/north-america/M3460-north-america-california-island/

La Feuille Orig Col 1706 £395

La Feuille Orig Col 1706 £395


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/north-america/usa/M2334-california-island-lamerique-septentrionale/

EUROPE

France Ortelius 1580c £265

France Ortelius 1580c £265


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/france-country/M3409-france-ortelius/

Munster Northern Atlantic 1580  £465

Munster Northern Atlantic 1580 £465


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/europe-continent/M3408-north-atlantic-iceland-fictious-islands-fre/

Algarve Sea Chart THEUNISZ 1662 £445

Algarve Sea Chart THEUNISZ 1662 £445


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/spain-portugal/M3404-algarve-sea-chart-coastline/

Venice Chatelain 1719 £495

Venice Chatelain 1719 £495


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/italy/lombardy-north/M3340-map-view-of-venice/

ISOLARIOS OF BORDONE & PORCACCHI

Maiorca Bordone 1528 £295

Maiorca Bordone 1528 £295


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/spain-portugal/M3471-maiorca-mallorca-ibiza/

Madagascar Bordone 1528  £285

Madagascar Bordone 1528 £285


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/south/M3476-madagascar-zanzibar-ceylon-by-bordone/

Cuba  Porcacchi 1575 £245

Cuba Porcacchi 1575 £245


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/west-indies/M3221-cuba/

East Indies Porcacchi 1572 £225

East Indies Porcacchi 1572 £225


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3470-south-east-asia/

MEDITERRANEAN

Mediterranean Danckerts 1690 £385

Mediterranean Danckerts 1690 £385


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3361-mediterranean-west/

Malta Valetta Lasor 1703 £225

Malta Valetta Lasor 1703 £225


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3448-malta-rare/

WORLD & POLAR

WORLD BY VAN DER AA £565.00

WORLD BY VAN DER AA £565.00


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/world/M3412-world-by-van-der-aa/

SOUTH POLAR REGIONS  Cook / Bernard 1778 £350

SOUTH POLAR REGIONS Cook / Bernard 1778 £350


http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/polar/M3406-southern-hemishere-south-pole-cooks-voya/

Please email me if you are looking for any map in particular I might have it or be able to find it for you.

For anybody visiting the French Riviera this summer I am available up to the middle of August. Contact me and I can pick you up from Antibes Cannes etc, and you can join me for tea and peruse the entire stock of maps & prints.

Elaine Dotson of Old World Auctions visited the Mclean Collection in Chicago and many of you interested in maps might be interested in reading her account here http://www.washmapsociety.org/000/0/9/8/22890/userfiles/file/MacLean_Collection.pdf

For those of you following my travels, I am a little behind but photographs of Sudan were published in Edge Of Humanity magazine in March here and my blog of Calcutta can be seen https://mickjennings.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/calcutta-a-city-of-culture-and-refugees-draft/

*Please email for original email and to be placed on mailing list

Best wishes

Michael

Michael Jennings Antique Maps And Prints
1684 Chemin De St Julien
Biot 06410 FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0) 4936 57252 +33 (0) 4936 57252
Mobile:+33 (0)610 753 988 +33 (0)610 753 988
michaeljennings@orange.fr
Follow me on twitter @jenningsoldmaps
Links to Antique map & travel blog https://mickjennings.wordpress.com

Posted in ANTIQUE MAPS, ANTIQUE PRINTS, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CALCUTTA A CITY OF CULTURE AND REFUGEES..draft

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” Poverty and Pride..Side by Side”  Rudyard Kipling on Calcutta

“You are never alone in Calcutta” Michael Jennings

The Howrah Mail  ( “ the superfastmail train of Indian railways connecting two metropolitan cities of India, Kolkata and Chennai” ..Fast is all rather relative when it comes to Indian Railways) arrives at four in the morning at Calcutta station.. and everyone stumbles out after 30  hours travel, relaxing for me in First Class AC sleeper, but for the multitudes from third class, laden down with boxes and cases it looked as though it had been an ordeal.

Dhobi wallahs on train ride up to Kolkata

Dhobi wallahs on train ride up to Kolkata

From past experience I queued up for the prepaid taxi, usually the best way not to get ripped off , but my yellow Ambassador cab driver had no idea of where we were going, another friend of a friend who got the chance to drive that night to earn a few rupees.

Calcutta home & business

Calcutta home & business

The streets are very badly  lit at night and with a light  drizzle one could just make out some of the many who sleep outside, often in or on their place of work; a tea stall, a roadside snack bar or a table selling clothes and the ever present street food stalls; and of the many rickshaw wallahs asleep in the back of their carts. There was  lots of blue plastic waterproofing moving  against the black background.  At five in the morning it was a strange,  surreal sight to see so many people creeping out from under their covers to start their day. It was a sight that will remain with me forever ..more fantasy than reality. It was my first experience of some post-apocalyptic world outside the cinema.

Wel-come

Wel-come

Venturing out from my hotel a few hours later, the sun was out and the temperature and humidity was already high..of a magnitude  I hadn’t experienced before.  The heat was accompanied by the noise, smell and the Calcutta crowds.

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One noticed that the old 18th and  19thcentury British buildings were in a bad state with trees and bushes growing from the top and even out of the sides of these previuosly stuccoed  edifices; and each building had a  covering of tropical green moss and slime …rather like my hotel bathroom which had a fine coat of black/ brown growth,   and I felt because of this humidity  that if I stayed in one place too long I would become part of these aged green buildings of Kolkota and also be covered in green moss and perhaps even with  a bush growing from my head.

The Ambassador ..It will be a sad day when they've gone !

The Ambassador ..It will be a sad day when they’ve gone !

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Cafe near Kalighat Temple..

Cafe near Kalighat Temple..

Close to my hotel is the extraordinarily good and world famous  bookshop, ‘The Oxford Bookshop’, a modern and well ordered place in the middle of chaos. I asked the staff who was the best contemporary Kolkata writer and without exception they all plumped for Amitav Ghosh, so I bought the recommended ‘Shadow Lines’, which turned out to be appropriate as it deals with post partition India (and Bengal) and the subsequent riots in both Dhaka and Calcutta. The air conditioning inside was  outrageous, slightly uncomfortable while inside but the full effect is felt on leaving as one’s body has to cope with an unnatural change in temperature and  my glasses, close to  freezing  took sometime for  to demist as I stumbled around the tea stalls, vendors and hucksters.

Tosh's Tea

Tosh’s Tea

Culcutta is not an old Indian City like Varanesi, Surat or Delhi but according to British & Raj legend entirely a construct of the British.

Shrine to Hanuman the monkey god..there are shrines just about every tree in Calcutta

Shrine to Hanuman the monkey god..there are shrines just about every tree in Calcutta

In the Seventeeth century there already existed on the banks of the Hooghy a number of small villages and an old burnt out trading Factory / Warehouse. According to legend .Job Charnock , employed by the East India Company and Governer of Bengal gave sacrifice at the Kali temple Kalikata, pitched his tents and proclaimed that the trading city of Calcutta would be built here. The  British built Fort William in 1696 and during the 18th century the merchants of the east India company built mansions along side the river, and the city grew rapidly to be not only The Raj’s capital in India but the second city of the Empire.
However in 2003 The Calcutta High Court ordered Charnock’s name be expunged from all records. It was decided that a ‘highly civilised society’ and ‘an important trading centre’ had existed on the site of Calcutta long before the first European settlers came down the Hooghly; and that the name  Calcutta was taken from the village of Kalikata and the city was therefore not founded by the British.

Young Kolkatans.

Young Kolkatans.

Kolkota is the cultural capital of India, and unlike  other countries like China, Where Beijing has the Power and Culture  and Shanghai Commerce; Turkey Istanbul being the cultural centre and Ankara the power; India has 3 capitals, Delhi for politics and power, Mumbai for commerce, business and banking and Calcutta for Culture.

 

Tea

Tea

The British era architecture, the faux mogul and the copies of 18th and 19th century Euro/classical architecture lends itself to a cultural centre.

In the late nineteenth century more books were printed in Calcutta than any other city in the world except London. This was during the late 19th- to early 20th-century, when you had a collision of British and Bengali culture leading to what is known as the Bengali Renaissance.Among famous Bengalis from this period were Rabindranath Tagore the first non westerner to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the the physicist C. Bose. It is surprising because today we think of Calcutta,  as the epitome of Third World deprivation and poverty. But for a while it was a place of genius. Today some of the best Indian writers were born in here among them Amitov Ghosh, my current favourite writer.

 

For the last few weeks during my stay in both Chennai andKolkata I had always made sure that I had pockets of change and today I could give  too which always helps blend in. As with previous religious ceremonies  was the only western tourist and became a centre of attention for them and as usual many wanted their photograph taken with me.

 

Calcutta is one of those cities you can walk and set off in any direction and street life will reward you ..there are always people who want to chat, there are transactions, not only commercial being carried out where one can be entertained by  just watching street life and of course partaking of the street food and endless cups of chai massala.

 

One day as I was crossing the Maidan I noticed groups of people heading in the direction of the river ..

Heading towards Baboo Ghat with purpose

Heading towards Baboo Ghat with purpose

Again just by chance, as in Chennai and Madurai, I was caught up in a religious ceremony and the exuberance and good humour of the occasion. I joined the crowd heading towards the river.

I asked one of the men dressed only in his lungi what was happening and I understood that everyone was heading to the Ganges / Hooghey  for a ritual to do with Durga Puja. In fact I found out later that this festival of bathing and giving of offerings was the Mahalaya, where the goddess was called down to earth for the Festivities of Durga Puja , Bengalis most important religious festival. The eyes are drawn on the idols of the Goddess on this day, in an auspicious ritual called Chokkhu Daan. Durga Puja is a celebration of the Mother Goddess and victory of the goddess Durga over the evil Buffalo Demon Mahishasura.The Festival honours The powerful Female Force SHAKTI.

Mahalaya Most give to the poor and infirm

Mahalaya Most give to the poor and infirm

Th road leading to the Baboo Ghat was a line of not only of the poor begging but it seems on this special day the deformed, handicapped  and blind had pride of place and that all the pilgrims on their way to bathe and give offerings also gave generously, money and sometimes food.

For the last few weeks during my stay in both Chennai andKolkata I had always made sure that I had pockets of change and today I could give  too which always helps blend in. As with previous religious ceremonies  was the only western tourist and became a centre of attention for them and as usual many wanted their photograph taken with me.

Mahalaya Most give to the poor and infirm

Mahalaya Most give to the poor and infirm

 

Fiesty

Fiesty

 

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Preparing offerings

Preparing offerings

The semblence everyone together was pervasive and gifts and snacks were passed around. A Babu said a prayer for me and smeared a redspot, Bindi, on my forehead not asking for money, unusual in India.

 

 

Preparing to bathe in the Hooghly

Preparing to bathe in the Hooghly

Shaving before bathing

Shaving before bathing

Many were having their heads shaved before bathing and nearly all bought small offerings on a large leaf to float on the river.

The crush to get to the river at its most auspicious point was rather frightening and I was carried along with the crowd to the waters edge only just surviving a dunking by some friendly worshippers.

Bathing collecting the Ganges water and leaving offerings

Bathing collecting the Ganges water and leaving offerings

 

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The Hooghly for Mahalaya

The Hooghly for Mahalaya

 

Praying for the goddess Durga to descend to earth

Praying for the goddess Durga to descend to earth

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The Babu of Baboo Ghat

The Babu of Baboo Ghat

Ceremonies like this bring out the best in everyone including me and I left with a feeling of euphoria.

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Street life

Street life

Bengalis are different from the rest of India in so many ways. Culturally and Politically.
The fight for independence from the British was strongest here in Bengal, and later West Bengal with Chandra Bose being the most famous of Independence fighters . Breaking with Gandhi in the 1930’s he went on to ally with the Germans and Japanese during the Second World War in the hope of an Axis victory. His Free Indian Legion was finally defeated with the Japanese at the Battle of Kohima in Indian  Nagaland (which I visited recently ..more later).

The paper& cardboard collector

The paper& cardboard collector

After Independence West Bengal continued it’s different and long standing anti-establishment political path to Delhi and in 1977 democratically voted in power The Communist Party of India after a number of years of a left dominated United Front. Near the Maidan there are  Statues of Marx, Lenin and Chandra Bose, in little gardens still well tended.
Bengal was both a highly developed  Industrialised and Peasant farming  society under the British and both sectors were highly developêd with organisations  with demands for workers rights and strikes in the Industrial sector and demands for a third of the crop they produced by the peasants. The British had built a number of world class eductional colleges and left West Bengal with  a strong civil society, more  likely to vote freely and not coerced by landlords or on religious or caste lines.

Living on street ..many women ..after husband dies women often thrown out by husbands family

Living on street ..many women ..after husband dies women often thrown out by husbands family

This raised  class consiousness , combined with a more secular and multi religious population, led to the election of the Communist Party party dominated United Front and later ruling on their own.
Religion and caste was less important here and Sati was first banned here along with developed  womens rights in general, even widow remarriage was organised , developments unheard of today in many other regions of India.
Since 2011 a union of the two Congress Party factions have controlled West Bengal, some saying they are further to the left than the CPI-M.

West Bengal under The Communist party, with little help from central government,  extended education and the Universal healthcare system and therefore  like Kerala produced a literate workforce that attracted companies there.

further reading
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Communism-so-successful-in-West-Bengal.

Mulik Ghat

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

For great entertainment the Mulik Ghat Flower market next to the River and Howrah Bridge is a must. It is reputed to be the largest in India and although nothing dominates the market like the orange and yellow marigolds, which are widely used for religious rituals there are roses and other flowers and of course the ubiquitous beetle leaf used in the narcotic Paan. Paan is a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut, lime  and sometimes also with tobacco. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects and is not only very addictive but rots teeth.

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

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Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market Beetle leaves for Paan.

Paan is a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut, lime  and sometimes also with tobacco. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects and is not only very addictive but rots teeth.

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

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Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

It is really a mini city on it’s own, with lots of shanty restaurants and with most traders living  in their small huts with their merchandise, and washing in the river in the morning. A sight I missed is the wrestling at dawn by the river.

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

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Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

 

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Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Marke

 

Street food & Calcutta

Street food & Calcutta

Bengali street food in Kolkata is the best in India and there is so much choice. Every inch on every corner is taken by semi-permanant or commando food stalls.

This arrangement of shops and stalls, whereby that of the pavement next to the road became a second line of commercial though less permanent structures, first came about after partition when many traders from the eastern part of Bengal fled to Kolkota and was reinforced with more refugees after the creation of Bangladesh in the seventies.

Kolkota is a city that has grown on waves of refugees from the early nineteenth century onward. And for the most part the British were the cause of these waves of refugees, from famines, ousting of peasants from their land for non-payment of  taxes to short sighted political divisions.

There is firm belief that the origins of the Mutiny and so called Black Hole of Calcutta lay in the onerous taxes the British, in the form of the East India Company, levied on the small farmers forcing them off their land.

 

Street food

Street food

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Fast food

Fast food

Central Kolkota from the New Market area to Nehru Road ( the old Chowringhee Road) is the seriously busy part of town. Nehru Road has one such double row  of shops and eateries, the second taking over the pavement area next to the street, leaving only a narrow pedestrian pavement to negotiate both the traders from the old established shops and the once fly by night but very now stalls and restaurants. Cloth and plastic was hung overhead to keep the fierce sun from both peddlers and customers.

 

Street dweller

Street dweller

The 1943 Bengal famine, or the Forgotten Famine  was the a combination of weather but the British comandeering food for the war effort was the main cause.. The British were often behind famines in Bengal, notably forcing peasants to grow opium poppies rather than food but the famine of 1943 could be laid firmly  at the door of the british diverting rice to Europe ..Churchill was directly involved and asked why he did it he replied
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

There are many wild estimates of how many deaths were caused during the 300 years of  by the British rule either  through famine, war and retribution. They range from around 200 million to 1.8 billion, but it is generally assumed that a conservative 300 million is correct.

                                                      

Bengali fish head soup

Bengali fish head soup

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Rickshaw puller

Rickshaw puller

The Kalikata Temple area has a different feel to central Calcutta. Perhaps it is because it is part of the oldest part of the city standing. Part of the area near the Black Hole and the old city was raised to the ground by the British.

There are many pilgrims here and consequent merchants and beggars but it was quite relaxed.

 

Near temple at Kalikata

Near temple at Kalikata

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The temple at Kalikata

The temple at Kalikata

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Trinket seller outside Kaligat Temple

Trinket seller outside Kalikata Temple

Calcutta Is the book capital of India

Calcutta Is the book capital of India

 

Books and Politics

Books and Politics

Central Kolkata is a busy place with many people spending most of their lives on the Streets. Many sleep where they work, beg and play so one sees everything from sleeping, washing, eating or even having a dispute. But generally everone appears to get somehow get on.

Washing ..there's lots of places to wash

Washing ..there’s lots of places to wash

Cards..

Cards..

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Even a good dispute is for all to see

Even a good dispute is for all to see

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Street cricket .the second religion

Street cricket  the second religion

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Nap time

Nap time

Babu

Babu by Kalikata temple

Victoria Memorial.. Forever a reminder to Calcutta of the Raj

Victoria Memorial..
Forever a reminder to Calcutta of the Raj

Probably the most remarkable building, along with the Court House is the marble Victoria Memorial. Planned in 1901 on Victoria’s death, construction started in 1906 and finished finally in 1921 ten years before the capital  moved to New Delhi. Kept immaculate on the outside the exhibits in the museum, especially the maps, prints and paintings have suffered Under Calcutta’s climate.

An anecdote to finish
The Oberoi hotel chain started in Calcutta in 1939.
The previous hotel was closed down after7 people died of Typhoid. Mohan Oberoi bought cheaply a lease on the building and cleaned the drains and disenfected the rooms, and his breakthrough as war started was to offer rooms to the British Army well below market rates as he realised he would make a fortune selling soldiers drink. So much so that by 1943 he bought the hotel outright…..

 

I have only shown a few images from this exceptional city and few more can be seen at

1

 

Next ..Durga Puja in Katmandu …

Posted in INDIA 2014, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MAMALLAPURAM AND CHENNAI… first draft

Mamallapurum Beach

Mamallapurum Beach

 

The road from Pondicherry to Mamallapuram followed the coast, for the most part around a kilometre inland, offering views from time to time of endless golden beaches glimpsed in between luxuriant tropical vegetation.

Family out in the Butterball & temple park

Family out in the Butterball & temple park

The little hamlets of thatched huts looked idyllic but in reality hide the poverty of these subsistance farmers. The farmers, with much darker southern skin, working in the fields, slim in their white tamil lungis. There is something proud and noble about them, but the fact is that there is little left over after just about feeding their families.

The local bus bounced along the typically potholed Indian road and with the heat and humidity it was easy to slip into a dreamlike revery.

Chewing on the local dried figs, much as I ate sticky Egyptian dates from the western Oasis villages many years before.. I wondered why I had that inate desire, something hardwired into my DNA, to see and photograph what was round the next corner, over that hill, from the need to continue from Cairo to southern Sudan, to explore the villages and mega cities of China, Trabzon and the eastern Anotolian Plains, to the current anti-clockwise tour of the subcontinent. Bouncing along in that local bus with the Coromandel coast to my right, the thatched villages,palms, that unbelievable tropical vegetation and heading towards another Indian town with whatever serendipitous event lay in wait,  I knew why.

Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram is a small town packed with interesting sites and blessed with a beautiful tropical beach. It has only two main streets, one parallel to the coast and the other full of tourist shops, cafes and monkeys performing gymnastics, running down to the shore.

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There is a vast UNESCO protected monuments park in the centre of town with the famous Krishna’s Butterball and The Descent of the Ganges, depicting in bas-relief is the story of the descent of the sacred river Ganges to earth from the heavens.

The Descent of the Ganges

The Descent of the Ganges

While wandering around behind one of the temples I bumped into three lady boys, who at first were a little wary and slightly aggressive soon became friendly and were happy to show off for the camera.Tamil Nadu state has about the most progressive policies towards transgenders in the world. These consist of free housing programmes, special citizenship documents,full scholarships for higher studies, protection from sexual harassment and help with income generating programmes. In a global ground breaking move the Tamil Nadu state created a third gender for admission to government colleges.
I love the shape of the body in the photo below.

Lady boys Mamallapuram

Lady boys Mamallapuram

There are a couple of raised restuarants next to the beach that serve great fish curries and one night I was entertained with a spectacular monsoon storm out over the ocean while I ate. I ignored the calls from tourist tat shop owners , textiles from Rajasthan and badly cast buddhas but later wandering around the less tourist part of town near the stonecarvers workshops was invited to tea by middle aged temple designer. Yes they still build lots of temples here , even if you can never visit a fraction of them. His grandfather was an artisan sculptor of Gods. I bought 2 small exquisite marble statue of Ganesh and Shiva.

Stonecarvers workshop

Stonecarvers workshop

The Shore Temple

The Shore Temple

Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, famous for it’s Shore Temple and stone carvers, has a long and important past. From a port in Roman times to Marco Polo extolling it’s 7 pagados or shore temples of which there is only one left standing today. It has not only exported it’s local produce but also ideas, form of Hinduism and temple building.

Pancha Pandava Rathas

Pancha Pandava Rathas

The southern Dravidian culture and Hinduism, different to that of the north expressed itself in one important way, in it’s construction of temples and it’s carvings. The Pallavas dynasty from the 6th to 9th centuries were inveterate temple builders and carved temples out of huge boulders as well as dressed stone, all intricately carved and for the most part dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

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The site of the Pancha Pandava Rathas, the 5 temple chariots and an elephant carved from single monolithic boulders is a testament to the quality of seventh century craftmen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC3S2jTwqN4

The subsequent Chola Empire of southern India extended into Cambodia and Thailand and there is evidence that the style of Temple building from the Mamallapuram area was a strong influence on the construction of the later Angkor Wat.

 

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Today large sculptures carved in Mamallapurum are exported all over the world.

Mamallapuram ..Indian tourists

Mamallapuram ..Indian tourists

Mamallapuram is relaxing small Indian town, with a beautiful beach, wonderful sculptures and unlike the bustle of many Indian cities one is not hassled, in fact the opposite, more than once I was invited to drink tea or eat, just to chew the fat !

CHENNAI

CHENNAI

A couple of very local buses took me from Mamallapuram to Chennai, or Madras as it was named before 1996, and the last twenty odd miles the offices and business parks by the side of the road were a roll call multi-nationals. Microsoft, Sun, Cisco, Infosys, Accenture, Intel, Amazon, Deloitte, Accenture….I could go on & on ..and I later found out that Chennai is not only known as the Detroit of Asia with companies such as BMW, Ford, Hyundia, Nissan Renault and Mitsubishi .. but is known as the Banking Capital of India.

Chennai Old town

Chennai Old town

Once past the very modern south Chennai and into the Marina Beach and Old City of the once British Madras it was a rather different picture.

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I presume that the majority of the employees of these new industries lived far away from the old town and in the new gated communities that are springing up and dividing todays India into the new minority middle class and the ever burgeoning poor. A census in 2011 showed that only 4.6 per cent of India’s population had ownership of the following   four assets – television, computer/laptop, scooter/car and telephone/ mobile phone, and although India has a phenomenal growth rate it wiil be a very long time before India actually has the middle class that the politicians daily predict.

Chennai old town

Chennai old town

My hotel was in the Marina Beach area, where many of the hotels for Indian tourists were and the impressive MA Chidambaram Stadium, the Madras cricket ground. I checked but unfortunately there was, as everywhere I’d been no cricket while I was there.

Chennai Marina beach

Chennai Marina beach

The beach is the social life as well as the lungs of the city.

Marina Beach

Marina Beach

Marina Beach is something a little special, a sort of throw back to Victorian or Edwardian Britain. Around three every afternoon the place comes alive.

 

From nowhere a multitude of restaurants set up, some with barbeques others deep fried samosa stalls ..There are freshly squeezed fruits stands and others selling cold junk drinks and snacks from american multinationals. There are the enterprising shoot the balloons stalls and coconut shies, the kids carousels are assembled..football games are started and there are horse rides on offer. Whole families come down with their picnics, and over there an outing from an orphanage with perhaps the kids first ever view of the ocean.

The Beach photograph..

The Beach photograph..

The sea is dangerous here but young and old rush and jump in rather than swim, and even little old ladies hoist their saris and paddle.

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The children begging here, from the beach shanties, were some of the most aggressive I’d come across in India, they worked in small packs, the younger ones naked and and if rebuffed snuck behind and pinched you. They operated in the zone between the road and the tideline where all the tourists and mounted police were.

Chennai ..Beggar and Vedic numerology ?

Chennai ..Beggar and Vedic numerology ?

The decision to give or not to anyone begging is one of the hardest things I had to do on a regular basis. Even a poor westerner is infinitely better off than the majority of people in India. Political desire for an increased population, farmers having to leave the land when sub-division makes even subsistence farming impossible has led to a huge urban underclass with little possibility of work. I tried to collect coins to give, and in many situations did so, but here faced with small gangs of I have to say probably desperately poor children, if you gave to one, you would be surrounded by scores of others. I always thought that tipping to the poorer in hotels, restaurants and other service sectors was the best way of giving in India.

The Raj built many of it’s important buildings here facing the sea from the University, two large private Schools, the Police headquarters and many Public administration buildings.

Cooum River centre of Chennai

Cooum River centre of Chennai

The city is divided by the Cooum River, with the Old town and the magnificent Raj built railway station to the north. The Cooum river is surrounded by Shanty towns and is extremely polluted with shacks right down to the black coloured waters edge. It reminded me of documentaries of whole groups of people living on rubbish dumps, and I presume that here, people gained some form of living recycling Madras’s rubbish.

The Old town is full of life and like all parts of the Old Towns in
India are lively with street traders, street food and everyday life spilling out from the cramped flats onto the street.

 

Chennai

Chennai

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Chennai Postal workers out back of main post office

Chennai Postal workers out back of main post office

Old town Chennai Porters

Old town Chennai Porters

The Old town is full of life and like all parts of the Old Towns in India are lively with street traders, street food and everyday life spilling out from the cramped flats onto the street.

As always it is not just the visual that excites but the bombardment of noise and the combination of heat and the aromas of India that heighten the senses. One doesn’t just observe in the narrow streets of an old town, you are also part of the show. There is always someone who wants to talk, always someone who offers you a chai, always someone who wants to sell you something, but more delightful than anything else are the smiles and ‘Namastes’ of many people and all the, mainly young, who want you to take their photo and howl with laughter when you show them themselves.

 

Farmers protest Chennai

Farmers protest Chennai

 

OLd town Chennai

Old town Chennai

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Old town Chennai

Old town Chennai

 

As an aside …That English is spoken today in India is down to the people of Tamil Nadu and especially Chennai. Ghandhi was in favour of Hindi as the only language in India and it became Congress Policy with a 15 year period of grace for English from 1950 after Independence.

The 1965 Riots in Chennai, lasting 2 months, against the forceable imposition of Hindi as India’s only official language in a Tamil speaking State, with over seventy people killed by the police, and the subsequent adoption of both Hindi and English as official languages led to English continuing in India today.

 

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About an hours walk from my hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Chennai, the Parthasarathy temple dedicated to Krishna.

One or two temples in Tamil Nadu were not that welcoming to westerners but in this 8th century magnificent temple complex everyone was smiles and namastes. Wheras in Madurai cameras were not allowed here everything was more relaxed and the priests and worshippers were quite happy to have photographs taken. The water from the five wells that fed the tank are considered in the South to be holier than Ganges water.

Sturdy Priest at the Parthasarathy Tample

Sturdy Priest at the Parthasarathy Temple

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Handing out powder for Bindi spots on forehead

Handing out powder for Bindi spots on forehead

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Parthasarathy Temple

Parthasarathy Temple

With the desire for English as the official language and the differences not only in Hindu religion, the south with it’s ethnically different peoples and culture, there has been and still exists in a very small way a separatist movement in the south , originally named Dravida Nadu it is now the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army and is  labelled a terrorist organisation by the Indian state. While I was in Chennai the newspapers were full of 3 Liberation Army members who were in court for a bomb planted the previous year.

 

Religious festival Chennai

Religious festival Chennai

 

My last day in Chennai I decided to go back to the old town and buy some packets of southern spices and wander the streets, and I couldn’t believe my luck when I ran into a religious procession.

Religious Procession, The waman who led it

Religious Procession, The waman who led it

There were forty or fifty young men holding large mainly purple parasols with a group of mainly women leading holding a bouquet of flowers , the usual four piece band,  the priest sitting in a yellow van with the bronze statue of the god on top,.At the end of the procession I was invited into the temple to join the hundreds of marchers who were relaxing, drinking water and making financial offerings to the priest. Most had a look of exultation on their faces, or was it the exhaustion in the heart.

The band !

The band !

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Relaxing back in the temple

Relaxing back in the temple

 

It was a fitting and crowning moment to my stay in Chennai and in fact my last day in the Dravidian South.

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The Under the road bridge cricket team

The Under the road bridge cricket team

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Next Kolkota…

 

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CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER 2015

P1210586

Christmas is once again upon us, it seems to come quicker and quicker, and an Antique Map or Print is always an interesting, different and unique sort of present. And, moreover it is ecologically sound.

There is still time to ship anywhere in the world and don’t forget even recipients can exchange maps with me.

Below are a few of the new additions from the thousands of maps and decorative prints that can be found on my website www.maphouse.co.uk.

The itinerant mapseller has been in a few interesting spots the last few months, Kashmir, Nagaland ( meeting a retired headhunting Burmese King, with four kills..!) and Indian Tibet.. and a few photos can be seen here.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickjennings/albums/72157659447012144

 

Venice 1719

Venice 1719  £495

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/italy/lombardy-north/M3340-map-view-of-venice/

World eng Chamouin £345

World eng Chamouin £345

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/world/M3356-world-map/

Daniel's Dream World 1566 £495

Daniel’s Dream World 1566 £495

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/world/M3304-world-cartographic-curiosity-daniels-dre/

London Homann £595

London Homann £595

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/london/M3355-london-map-and-views/

Essex by John Speed £550

Essex by John Speed £550

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/essex/M3303-essex-john-speed/

Middlesex by Zatta £125

Middlesex by Zatta £125

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/middlesex/M3346-Middlesex/

Paris by Merian . £595

Paris by Merian . £595

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/paris/M3238-merians-panorama-of-paris/

Norway Chiquet £135

Norway Chiquet £135

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/scandinavia/M3353-norway/

Malta by Ortelius £245

Malta by Ortelius £245

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3264-malta/

Antibes & Cap D'Antibes Vernet £1750

Antibes & Cap D’Antibes Vernet £1750

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/south-east/M3342-antibes-port-cap-dantibes/

Provence Mercator £385

Provence Mercator £385

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/south-east/M3309-provence-provinciae/

Africa Homann £750

Africa Homann £750

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3306-africa/

The Cape £140

The Cape £140

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/south/M3326-cape-town-carte-du-pais-des-hottentots/

Asia Homann 1712 £495

Asia Homann 1712 £495

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/continent/M3302-asia-homann/

California as Island Christmas special 1719 £220

California as Island Christmas special 1719 £220

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/world/M3345-world/

AND MANY THOUSANDS MORE

——————————

I have added many new David Roberts lithographs to my website and there is a good selection of the sought after Folio lithos.

THE GREAT SPHINX

THE GREAT SPHINX

I have written a little about Robert’s lithographs and Naopleon’s expedition..  https://mickjennings.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/antique-prints-of-egypt-by-david-roberts-and-from-napoleons-expedition/

 

Please email me if you are looking for any map in particular I have many yet to be put on website or be able to find it for you.

For anybody visiting the French Riviera I am always available.. Contact me and I can pick you up from Antibes Cannes etc, and you can join me for tea and peruse the entire stock of maps & prints.

My current blog of tavels and interesting Antique Maps can be found at https://mickjennings.wordpress.com/

 

Best wishes

Michael

Michael Jennings Antique Maps And Prints
1684 Chemin De St Julien
Biot 06410 FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0) 4936 57252
FREE Mobile:+33 (0)610 753 988+33
(0)610 753 988 FREE
michaeljennings@orange.fr

Follow me on
twitter @jenningsoldmaps and https://www.facebook.com/Maphouse-Antique-Maps-329036852532/

Links to Antique map & travel blog https://mickjennings.wordpress.com

You have been sent this email because you are in our mailing database. To unsubscribe, click here.

 

 

Posted in ANTIQUE MAPS, ANTIQUE PRINTS, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Antique Prints of Egypt by David Roberts and from Napoleon’s Expedition.

THE GREAT SPHINX

THE GREAT SPHINX

Prints from these two large folio publications have fired the world’s imagination about Egypt for the last two hundred years, leading to gentlemen archaeologists and treasure hunters digging throughout Egypt, and not only initiating a whole design movement, but the science of archaeology and of course many horror movies involving mummies.

The Pyramids at Giza from the Description

The Pyramids at Giza from the Description

In reality the publications, because they are not mere books, are the chalk and cheese of the depiction of Egypt, one scientific and methodical whereas the other came from pure artistic sensibilities and a touch of romance.

All these original prints and more are available through my site at..http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-prints/egypt-and-middle-east/napoleons-expedition/

and http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-prints/egypt-and-middle-east/david-roberts/

Pyramids at Giza ..David Roberts

Pyramids at Giza ..David Roberts

Although there were a few publications before Napoleon’s expedition, the ‘Description De L’Egypte’ a massive opus, eclipsed virtually everything from before and nothing came close to the accuracy and quality of engravings. It also pushed the limits of size with some plates that could be produced at the beginning of the nineteenth century with some plates up to 100*70cms.

Temple at Luoqsor from the 'Description'

Temple at Luoqsor from the ‘Description’

TEMPLE OF LUXOR DAVID ROBERTS

TEMPLE OF LUXOR DAVID ROBERTS

About 160 civilian scholars and scientists, known popularly as the savants, accompanied Napoleon‘s expedition to Egypt in 1798 to 1801 as part of the French Revolutionary Wars with the General planning to make Egypt part of the new Republic.

THEBES MEDYNET-ABOU

THEBES MEDYNET-ABOU

TEMPLE OF DENDERA ..DAVID ROBERTS

TEMPLE OF DENDERA ..DAVID ROBERTS

Along with 2,000 surveyors, draughtsmen and artists every building and artifact was measured and recorded in absolute detail. Later 400 engravers would complete this work back in Paris.

EDFOU APOLLINOPOLIS MAGNA

EDFOU APOLLINOPOLIS MAGNA

THE GREAT COLOSSI AT THE MEMONIUM

THE GREAT COLOSSI AT THE MEMONIUM

The intellectual rigour of the Description was a direct follow on from Diderot’s Encyclopédie, famous for representing the thought of the Enlightenment. According to Denis Diderot in the article “Encyclopédie”, the Encyclopédie’s aim was “to change the way people think”…Diderots work included numerous plates explaining all forms of science and manufacturing from opthalmics to bridge building.

Stone fragments at Thebes

Stone fragments at Thebes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclop%C3%A9die
After the destruction of Napoleon’s fleet by the British and the overland return of Napoleon and the army through the Levant, the scientists, savants and artists managed to take with them the huge collection of notes,drawings and artefacts that later, back in Paris, took over 20 years to turn into the 30 volumes and approximately 850 plates of the Description as it finally became.

 LE KAIRE PLAN ET ELEVATION D'UN ABREUVOIR

LE KAIRE PLAN ET ELEVATION D’UN ABREUVOIR

So accurate were the plates that in the 1980’s I visited an important medieval merchants palace/ house in Cairo that was being rebuilt by french architects with the plates from the Cairo section. I was told it could only be done due to the precision of the drawings.

CARP & HERRING

CARP & HERRING

Jules-Cesar Savigny was responsible, along with Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, for the Natural History sections of the Description de l’Égypte. This was an enormous undertaking in it’s own right with up to 5 volumes of plates of Birds, mammals, coral, fish etc. These are some of the largest original Natural History prints available.

SHELLFISH

SHELLFISH

One of the most interesting things is that some of the plates contain such purity of lines and subject that today the large prints from Description sit equally as well in a modern house as an old one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Description_de_l%27%C3%89gypte

I have had an affection for Egypt since 1980 and 1981 when I spent a few months travelling from Alexandria to Aswan (and beyond into the Sudan) including the the western Oases of Daklah and Kargah.

Egyptian family

Egyptian family

The people were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble..we were hardly ever hassled for baksheesh …people wanted to talk , practise their english and tell us of their woes of not being able to marry without money to buy the bedroom furniture..

Egyptian Women Wadi Daklah

Egyptian Women Wadi Daklah

One could walk safely anywhere.. Cairo slums or middle class suburbs. I have wanted to return recently and regularly ask my friend, a coptic bookdealer, is it OK this year and it is always the same reply.. not now Michael, Wait..Will it ever be OK to travel with my camera around Egypt.

It is so sad that religion and the army have destroyed a beautiful and friendly country that has so much to see.

Luxor Roberts

Luxor Roberts

David Roberts started as a circus scenery painter in his native Scotland, then a renowned theatre scenery painter in London.

David Roberts ..painted himself into the scene..Thebes

David Roberts ..painted himself into the scene..Thebes

It was Turner who persauded him to be a full time painter and soon after he spent the best part of two years sketching and painting water colours in Egypt and the Holy Land. Whereas the Napoleonic expedition numbered thousands David Roberts travelled up and down the Nilme with a retinue of between six and eight.

 

The Gates of Cairo

The Gates of Cairo

The story goes that he produced two monumental oil paintings of Egypt and they were put on display at the Tate, inviting the rich of london to subscribe to the planned work of fine lithographs to be produced by Louis Haghe. Sketches in the Holy Land & Syria and Egypt and Nubia. I only stock the Egypt & Nubia plates. It was one of the most successful artistic ventures of the nineteenth century with over 400 subscribers, Queen Victoria being number 1. The publication was issued part by part from 1842 to 1849. About 1,600 of the standard edition were published at the same time. In all not more than a couple of thousand were ever produced.

Luxor Roberts

Luxor Roberts

David Roberts was from the beginning a theatre scenery painter , involving the romance and story telling of the imagination. Unlike the Description which was accurate to the centimetre Roberts works sometimes moved Statues of columns for dramatic effect. And Dramatic they are.

Cairo Dancing girls

Cairo Dancing girls

David Robert’s lithographs of Egypt and the Holy Land are some of the best prints of the Victorian era.

Cairo Coffee House

Cairo Coffee House

These and more at http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-prints/egypt-and-middle-east/
Or email me for others at michaeljennings@orange.fr

Cairo

Cairo

Philae

Philae

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j36

vases

vases

 

 

 

 

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Posted in ANTIQUE MAPS, ANTIQUE PRINTS, Egypt | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PONDICHERRY A BEAUTIFUL CITY AND SCANDAL AT AUROBINDO ASHRAM

The sea front .

The sea front .

Walking along the sea front at Pondicherry you could be anywhere except India..

At 5 in the afternoon before the ‘passeggiata’ starts and just after the road has been closed the sea front is almost devoid of people. A little later there are families and groups of friends buying snacks or toys for the children and enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean, but they are overwhelmingly middle class Indians. P1110466.jpg.6 After the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Marina beach in Chennai, where one encounters not only a mass of people but a cross section of class and caste, here in Pondicherry there is something rather odd.

Sea front snacks

Sea front snacks

the evening ‘passeggiata’

the evening ‘passeggiata’

Earlier that day I arrived at the wonderful Maison Tamboule in the Tamil Quarter ..The rooms were full of old funiture and tall ceilings, and I even had a dressing room between the bedroom and bathroom. I was the only guest at this calm ninetennth century hotel laid out around a covered central courtyard resplendent with rich velvet cushions in the oriental style, but luckily every evening other diners arrived to eat the best fish curry in town, and break my sense of isolation.

There are three distinct bands from the front going inland based on wealth as is always. Most of Pondicherry is laid out exactly as it was under French colonial rule, and according to one guide book is a little like New Orléans a city not yet visited.

Blessed by Lakshmi the elephant at the Ganesh Temple

Blessed by Lakshmi the elephant at the Ganesh Temple

The town is a great place to walk around with surprises everywhere, from beautiful temples to an English bookshop where none of the staff spoke English, Parisien squares with wonderful flowers and french style cafes.

One of the Ashram private houses

One of the Ashram private houses

The first up to a canal / sewerage ditch is that part of old Pondicherry that was and still is in the southern half French, but now occupied for a large part by the Aurobindo Ashram and the houses of the rich and often corrupt members of this odd sect. In fact all the buildings on the front, facing the sea are owned by the Ashram (painted in their two-tone grey) except for the Pondicherry Legislature surrounded by the tentacles of this secretive avaricious quasi religious group.

The Franco Indians playing boule near the sea front

The Franco Indians playing boule near the sea front

The next band, from the canal to the main commercial street, Mahatma Gandhi Road, is full of old tamil houses and mainly occupied by wealthier Indians..and many of the 4,500 Indians and their descendents, who took up the option to become French citizens in 1954 .. and a few hotels but increasingly being taken over by Ashram followers and I must admit that the houses now owned by the ashram are being beautifully restored.According to a local there is a surfeit of architects in Auroville with no-one to build for.

 

One of the Tamil houses

One of the Tamil houses

In 1954 the Tamil inhabitants of Pondicherry were given the option of French passports and citizenship and around 10,000 did so with about 5,000 of their descendents still living in the city ( many others live in Paris and return for the summer), they have to renew their Indian Visas every 5 years. This largest French colony east of Suez has the right to vote in the French Presidential Elections, and a polling booth is set up in the French Consulate. This group known as the ‘Renoncants’ after renouncing their Indian nationality, is regarded as the second richest in Pondicherry, after the Ashram people, as they still receive generous French pensions.

The fish market Pondicerry

The fish market Pondicerry

And then the last band that carries on into India and starts at Mahatma Ghandi Drive is the commercial area and the Tamil Indian part of town.

The market Pondicherry

The market Pondicherry

Most of the travel writing and photographs of Pondicherry appear to cover the old French quarter, The Aurobino Ashram and Auroville; but the Indian part of the city with it’s temples and markets is more vibrant. The huge central mainly covered market is about the most interesting part of town. In the centre is the large covered fish market, run entirely by women, with the only men bringing in the fish and blocks of ice. Near a small Tamil temple is the flower market for the town.

flower sellers

flower sellers

flower seller

flower seller

In the market many gods

In the market many gods for sale

Returning to my initial impression that Pondicherry is an odd sort of place, not unakin to something out of the Prisoner with  me playing Patrick McGoohan’s role as Prisoner Number 6. I googled Pondicherry and Ashram, and found that the absence of many ordinary Indians  along the sea front or even the French / Ashram part of town is that there is a deep suspicion of the whole Aurobindo Ashram complex. There are accounts of much corruption, sexual harassment, theft of property, rape and paedophilia etc in the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry with at least 160 cases against the Ashram in the High Court at Madras..and most bizarrely of all, one group from the Ashram taking the other to court for changing Aurobindo’s words in new publications of his writings..there are links at the end .. Here a bit of contextualization is necessary. The Ashram was founded by Mirra Alfassa – known as the Mother to devotees based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. From a trust founded with borrowed money, the Ashram has grown to become the largest property owner in Pondicherry. To become an inmate, one has to go through a probation period, following which a contract of complete surrender is entered into with the Ashram. The Ashram allocates the inmate work in one of its departments based on his or her skill sets and qualification and in return provides for food, shelter, medical care, clothing and so on – but strictly no monetary benefits. This contract (called prosperity list) till recently also had clauses that prevented inmates from approaching the police or media. However, a caveat needs to be added here – the contract does not prevent an inmate from leaving the Ashram – and all inmates believe in the surrender! Without any effective internal grievance redressal mechanism – this means absolute power. Over a period of time there have been allegations from Ashram inmates ranging from sexual abuse, pedophilia, physical abuse, medical negligence etc. When some of the inmates protested, their prosperity was withdrawn – meaning that their food and shelter too was withdrawn. Some inmates left the Ashram. A few others, rather than leave the Ashram and retract from their leap of faith and surrender, decided to go to court to get their food and shelter restored. After, a long protracted legal battle one of the cases came before the Supreme Court of India. The apex court turned down the prayer in the case. That is a different story requiring different legal analysis that I would not want to go into here. In the meantime some inmates got together and formed an association to protest what they saw as gross human rights abuses. When their complaints fell on deaf ears, they organized two dharnas in January and February 2012 – and the inmates who participated in the Dharna were show-caused asking why their prosperity list should not be revoked – against which these inmates have gone to court. With some of the organizers of the Dharna – they have been removed from their allotted jobs and few privileges have been taken away. Since then, the inmate association has been trying to draw attention to their plight in whatever form possible. Given the Ashram’s insular nature these efforts seem to have met with little success – leaving the protesting inmates cynical about the larger society. Now they seem to believe that the only recourse for them is a state takeover of the Ashram management. The logic for this demand seems to be hinged on two simple requirements – transparency and effective grievance redressal mechanisms. They point towards the government takeover of Auroville – another institution founded by the Mother – through the Auroville Foundation Act of 1988 “for the better management” as a precedent. A small diversionary note is required here – though the Ashram is the centerpiece of Pondicherry’s economy – beyond employment; there is hardly any interaction between the local Pondicherry citizenry and the Ashram. In fact, the local populace views the Ashram with deep suspicion. On the other hand given the vast resources owned by the Ashram, there seem to be a background political struggle to gain access and control of these resources. These resources are hidden behind some 40 trusts and a further 30 subtrusts. Apart from being the biggest property owner in Pondicherry the ashram owns many businesses including petrol stations.. Unfortunately, avoidable death of 3 women allegedly abused by the Ashram management (according to their suicide note) and four others in critical condition in the Government Hospital in Pondicherry – all of them from the same family – had to happen before the issue has come to centre stage. The Tamil media at least is abuzz with the news and all political parties in Pondicherry including the ruling party are going on a Bandh on the 20th December demanding exactly what the Prasad family (Those who attempted and committed suicide ) have been demanding for over a decade – the takeover of the Ashram by the State from the present management. Too little, too late – 3 lives are already lost.

The police in Pondi with the french Kepi

The Police in Pondicherry still sport the French Kepi

Photo exhibition
Photo exhibition

Organised by PondiArt  the blowups of their photos on the old walls of an industrial building were striking.

Photos by Dhruv Dhakan and Swarat Ghosh

Photos by Dhruv Dhakan and Swarat Ghosh

 

 

The old brewery on the sea front front was the location of  great photographs by Dhruv Dhakan and Swarat Ghosh. The international and cosmopolitan side of Pondicherry with the Alliance Français and it’s French schools, cafes and bakeries helps to alleviate the oppressiveness  of the grey walls  of the ashram buildings and guest houses.

Inside the Catholic Church Pondicherry

Inside the Catholic Church Pondicherry

 

I visited Auroville on a day tour ( a snip at £3) from the Pondicherry Tourist Office, which also included a church, a temple and the forlorn city museum.

the gold plated Matrimandir built for meditation

the gold plated Matrimandir built for meditation

Both UNESCO and the Indian Government for some reason decided to fund and provide land to build this city planned for 50,000 people..

“to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.”
Although the planned city of 50,000 has after 60 years only about 2300 people around half Indian, Unesco and the Indian government still help finance this secretive village.
It is a very slick operation with a visitor centre where one has to watch a video before you are allowed to visit a small part of Auroville, the rest is off limits to the visitor.
I must admit that I arrived with mixed feelings I do find the concept of communal living rather seductive but am very sceptical of communal living attached to a cult, and as it transpires a rather dangerous cult.
This new form of living was the dream of the Mother a one time Egyptian occultist and according to the biography of Aurobindo by Peter Heehs a previous member of the Ashram, his lover.
At the centre of Auroville, set in a rather poor area of Tamil Nadu, is the gold plated Matrimandir built for meditation, containing apparently the world’s largest Crystal.
There are only 1800 adults in auroville , and only about 700 non Indians and again according to official figures only 4% are in the 20 -30 age group., many are now old and need domestic help and gardeners who come from the nearby Tamil villages. It is this foreign master and and Indian servant relationship that has led to many Tamil blogs against Auroville describing it as a new form of colonialism. Tamil land given by the Government has recently been sold at vast profit, while it has been acquiring other parcels cheaply. However there is a darker side and Auroville like the Aurobindo Ashram has been beset by claims of child abuse, sexual harassment, financial irregularities and even murder, a BBC documentary in 2008 outlined among other things the abuse of local children by white aurovillians.

P1100982

It is on the surface a peaceful and beautiful place to visit and those, sometimes vulnerable people not aware of it’s darker side are often sucked in, to what from many disclosures and court cases show, that like virtually all cults side, it has a more sinister side.

P1100635.jpg.1

A communist trade union poster

A communist trade union poster

Typical Tamil Hindu temple

Typical Tamil Hindu temple

Thi Indian part of Pondicherry

The Indian part of Pondicherry

Wood carving important craft in Tamil Nadu

Wood carving important craft in Tamil Nadu

P1100725

P1100696

 

P1100991.jpg.1

Links to the Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville

https://nandhivarman.wordpress.com/tag/aurobindo-ashram/

http://www.tehelka.com/scabs-beneath-the-serenity/

http://archivenews.blogspot.fr/2008/07/aurobindo-ashram-ex-lawyer-target-of.html

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-03-23/news/mn-8932_1_pondicherry

 

Posted in India, INDIA 2014, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MICHAEL JENNINGS ANTIQUE MAPS ..SUMMER NEWSLETTER

P1140100
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/west/M3226-sea-chart-spain-west-africa-azores-canari/

I hope everyone is having a good summer, I realise in the UK it hasn’t arrived yet but here on the Riviera it has been a tad too hot.
Last months London Map Fair was a great success for map buyers and sellers alike and it was a pleasure to meet so many new and old customers. I am sure everyone enjoys visiting the Royal Geographical Society in Kennsington with those paintings of intrepid explorers.
Below a few of the new additions from the thousands of maps and decorative prints that can be found on my website http://www.maphouse.co.uk

AFRICA

P1170543
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3285-africa/
Sebastian Munster
AFRICA £145.00
P1140200
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3246-africa/
AFRICA £295.00 SANTINI Francois

P1170610
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3297-africa/
AFRICA FOLIO HONDIUS
P1170601
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/africa/continent/M3296-africa/
HONDIUS Family
AFRICA £225.00

ASIA

P1170567
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3287-sumatra-malasia/
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin
SUMATRA MALASIA £135.00

P1140227
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/continent/M3254-asia-munster/
Sebastian Munster
ASIA MUNSTER £435.00

P1170542
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/continent/M3283-asia/
Gerard Mercator
ASIA £235.00
P1170569
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/asia/east-indies-philipp/M3288-sumatra-malasia-borneo/
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin
SUMATRA MALASIA BORNEO… £155.00

BRITISH ISLES
P1170490
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/scotland/M3266-scotland/
MOLL Herman
SCOTLAND £175.00

P1140229
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/M3255-british-isles-munster-ptolomaic/
Sebastian Munster
BRITISH ISLES MUNSTER PTOLOMAIC £295.00

P1170485
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/ireland/M3265-ireland/
MOLL Herman
IRELAND £175.00
P1140245
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/M3257-lancashire/
Robert Morden
LANCASHIRE £195.00
P1170582
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/counties/M3291-oxfordshire/

Robert Morden
OXFORDSHIRE £185.00

P1170588
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/british-isles/surrey/M3278-surrey/
Blaeu Family
SURREY £450.00

EUROPE CONTINENT

P1170545
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/europe-continent/M3295-europe/
LANGENES Barent
EUROPE £145.00
P1170541
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/europe-continent/M3284-europe/
Gerard Mercator
EUROPE £195.00

FRANCE

P1170509
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/M3272-france-ptolomey-modern-france/
FRIES Lorenz
FRANCE PTOLOMEY MODERN FRANCE £585.00

P1140175
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/france/south-east/M3245-monaco/
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin
MONACO £325.00

ITALY

img041
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/italy/rome-south/M3273-sicily/
Abraham Ortelius
SICILY £185.00
P1140248
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/italy/lombardy-north/M3258-genoa-genua-carta-geographica-genova/
Homann J.B et Heirs
GENOA GENUA CARTA GEOGRAPHICA GENOVA £550.00

MEDITERRANEAN & ISLES

P1170537
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3281-malta-island/
Alain Mallet
MALTA ISLAND £235.00

img040
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3264-malta/
Abraham Ortelius
MALTA £245.00
P1140184
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/mediterranean-and-islands/M3248-the-mediterranean/
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin
THE MEDITERRANEAN £325.00

NORTH AMERICA

P1140224
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/the-americas/M3252-japanese-map-of-the-americas-rare/
JAPANESE MAP OF THE AMERICAS RARE

aaa porcacchi
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/north-america/M3060-north-america-mondo-nuovo/
PORCACCHI Tomaso
NORTH AMERICA MONDO NUOVO £725.00
P1170468
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/north-america/M2488-north-america-franklin-state-charte-von-no/
Walch.J
NORTH AMERICA ‘FRANKLIN STATE’ CHARTE VON NORDAMERICA £495.00

PACIFIC & AUSTRALASIA

P1140211
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/pacific-australasia/M3253-sandwich-isles-hawaii-3rd-voyage-of-cook/
Benard
SANDWICH ISLES HAWAII 3rd VOYAGE OF COOK £495.00
m3213
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/pacific-australasia/M3213-new-zealand/
BONNE Rigobert
NEW ZEALAND £595.00

RUSSIA

m3072
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/russia/M3072-russia-st-petersburg/
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin
RUSSIA ST PETERSBURG £165.00
P1140205
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/russia/M3249-russia/
HONDIUS Family
RUSSIA £595.00

SCANDINAVIA
P1170514
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/scandinavia/M3271-norway/

ANON
NORWAY £250.00
P1140236
http://www.maphouse.co.uk/antique-maps/scandinavia/M3256-baltic-sea-and-scandinavia/
MOLL Herman BALTIC SEA AND SCANDINAVIA £425.00

Please email me if you are looking for any map in particular I might have it or be able to find it for you.
For anybody visiting the French Riviera this summer I am available up to the middle of August. Contact me and I can pick you up from Antibes Cannes etc, and you can join me for tea and peruse the entire stock of maps & prints.
After that I will be back in India for 2 months continuing my photographic odyssey, but it is internet business as usual with twice weekly shipping days.
Latest blog https://mickjennings.wordpress.com/
Best wishes
Michael
Michael Jennings Antique Maps And Prints
1684 Chemin De St Julien
Biot 06410 FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0) 4936 57252 +33 (0) 4936 57252
Mobile:+33 (0)610 753 988 +33 (0)610 753 988
michaeljennings@orange.fr
Follow me on twitter @jenningsoldmaps
Links to Antique map & travel blog https://mickjennings.wordpress.com

Festival to the goddess  Mariamman

Festival to the goddess Mariamman

Posted in ANTIQUE MAPS, Antique maps..maphouse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment