Archive for Calcutta

River of Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2012 by stevemccurry

KOLKATA TO KABUL

Kolkata/Calcutta

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias,pilgrims -and potters -all the world going and coming.
It is to me as a river from which I am
withdrawn like a log after a flood.
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle.
Such a river of life as no where else exists in the world.”
- Rudyard Kipling, Kim

Kolkata

Howrah Bridge

For more than 20 centuries, travelers have walked, ridden, prayed, traded, invaded, escaped,
fought, and died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.

On the GTR in Bihar State, India

Here are some pictures of people and places I have taken along the route of the Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

Agra, India

Near Agra, India

 Red Fort, Delhi

Allahabad, India

Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India

 Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.

Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India

Amritsar, India

Amritsar, India

Sikh Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

 The Grand Trunk Road served as the two way escape route for
75 million refugees caught between Indian and Pakistan during Partition.

Lahore, Pakistan

Rawalpindi, Pakistan


Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Peshawar, Pakistan

Peshawar, Pakistan
Peshawar has been a haven for Afghan refugees during decades of war.

Outside of Peshawar, Pakistan

Peshawar is strategically located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia.


Landi-Kotal, Pakistan
Near the border with Afghanistan

 Khyber Pass connects Pakistan and Afghanistan

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

This ribbon of humanity stretching Northwest from Kolkata, the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees, prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

On the road to Sarobi

Along this road, forged by conquerors and invaders,
the GT facilitated some of the most significant historical developments which affect us today.

Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have  invaded the valley for its
strategic location along the trade routes of Central and South Asia.

 Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Along the route of the GT there is a  struggle between secular modernity and the conservatism of ancient religions.

Importance of Elsewhere

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by stevemccurry
INDIA-10206

Calcutta, India

In Paul Theroux’s new book, The Tao of Travel, he writes,
“As a child, yearning to leave home and go far away, the image in my mind was of flight — my little self hurrying off alone.
I wanted to find a new self in a distant place, and new things to care about.  The importance of elsewhere was something
I took on faith.  Elsewhere was the place I wanted to be.”

AFGHN-12211

Afghanistan

 “The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human; the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to
change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger,
to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown …”   – Theroux

BRAZIL-10013NF5

Brazil

NIGER-10001NF

Niger

MALI-10035

Mali

INDIA-10887

Mizoram, India

00707_08, Shanghai, China; 1989, CHINA-10080

Shanghai, China

CUBA-10022

Havana, Cuba

“…The tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a
few weeks or months,the traveler, belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly,
over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another.”
– Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky 

TIBET-10510

Tibet

TIBET-10093NF2

Tibet

THAILAND-10075

Thailand

INDIA-11443

India

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust

INDIA-11042

India

Mazar-i Sharif, AFghanistan, 2003, AFGHN-12341NF

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan


“All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the
midst of terror and wonder. “
– Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

INDIA-11030

Varanasi, India

BANGLADESH-10007

Bangladesh

BANGLADESH-10010

Bangladesh

 

PHILIPPINES-10028

Sulu Sea, Philippines

“There is a change that takes place in a man or a woman in transit.
You can see this at its most exaggerated on a ship when whole personalities change.”
– John Steinbeck


BURMA-10228

Burma/Myanmar

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

TIBET-10720NF

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet


COSTA_RICA-10006, Papagayo, Costa Rica, 05/2007, Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux, Papagayo, Costa Rica

 

“Travel is flight and pursuit in equal parts.”
The Great Railway Bazaar, Theroux

INDIA-10711NF-(1)

Agra, India

 

Travelers’ Tales

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2011 by stevemccurry

INDIA-10711NF-(1) Agra, India

Stories about travelers are as old as humankind.  

One of the earliest travelers’ tales was Homer’s Odyssey, from 800 B.C.E., the story of Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan Wars.

INDIA-10839Howrah Station, Calcutta, India

From Homer to Dante,  Xuanzang , Marco Polo and Cervantes to Halliburton, to Kerouac, Durell, Theroux, Iyer, writers have taken their readers along on their travels, whether the journey is  fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of both.

BURMA-10451, Burma, Myanmar, 02/2011Train Station, Burma/Myanmar

“The traveler sees what he sees.The tourist sees what he has come to see.”
- G. K. Chesterton

BURMA-10314Burma/Myanmar

He who does not travel does not know the value of men.
– Moorish proverb

AFGHN-10231Kandahar, Afghanistan

00163_01. Sri Lanka, 1995 Sri Lanka

_SM10433_2, Myanmar, Burma, 02/2011, BURMA-10373 Burma/Myanmar

“The World is a book,  and those who do not travel
read only a page.”
- St. Augustine

TIBET-10198NFKandze, Tibet

AFGHN-12295Kabul, Afghanistan

BURMA-10384; Myanmar, Burma; 02/2011Burma/Myanmar

AFGHN-12369Maimana, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12254Hindu Kush Mountains, Afghanistan

BURMA-10404; Myanmar (Burma); 02/2011Burma/Myanmar

AFGHN-10154Kabul, Afghanistan

EUROPE-10121, Russia, August, 2008, Final print_NovartisRussia

On the Road

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by stevemccurry

Stories about roads and journeys are as old as humankind.  One of the earliest “on the road” stories was Homer’s Odyssey, from 800 B.C.E., the story of Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan Wars.

AFGHN-12211Southern Afghanistan

NIGER-10001NFMadaoua, Niger

 

From Homer to Dante,  Xuanzang , Marco Polo and Cervantes to Halliburton, to Kerouac, Durell, Theroux, Iyer, writers have taken their readers along on their roads, whether the journey is  fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of both.

MAURITANIA-10003Tiguent, Mauritania

 

  The words, “on the road”, can mean many things.  To the salesman, it is a time away from home trying to sell products.  To the explorer, it means setting off on an  adventure.  A road trip for athletes means that they’re playing in a different city.  To a homeless person, being on the road means the search for food and shelter.  To a Buddhist, the road may symbolize the path to enlightenment.  For refugees, the road is an escape route and symbolizes hope and safety.

AFGHN-12804NFBamiyan, Afghanistan

 

 

AFGHN-12880Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

 

 

BURMA-10129Myanmar/Burma

 

 

AFGHN-10072NF5Kabul, Afghanistan

 

 

KUWAIT-10007NFAhmadi Oil Fields, Kuwait

 

 

INDIA-10837Calcutta/Kolkata, India

 

 

INDIA-10461Calcutta/Kolkata, India

 

 

INDIA-10841Rajasthan, India

 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

BANGLADESH-10013India

USA-10208Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA

CUBA-10022Havana, Cuba

 

 

 INDIA-10206Calcutta/Kolkata, India

 

 

BANGLADESH-10016NFBangladesh

 

 

AFGHN-12499NF2Kabul, Afghanistan

 

 

INDIA-10405NFPorbandar, Gujarat, India

 

 

CAMBODIA-10082NF2Angkor, Cambodia

  

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

- Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

 

TIBET-10403Kham, Tibet

 

TIBET-10510Amdo, Tibet

Solitude – The Power of One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by stevemccurry
TIBET-10303NF

Barkhor Quarter, Lhasa, Tibet

 

Religious figures from Moses to  Jesus, Mohammed and the Buddha all found great value in solitude.

AFGHN-12235

Old Kabul, Afghanistan

 

In this wired age of non-stop communication with little time for reflection and contemplation, many find it vital to carve out time in order to have time to be creative, innovative, and  imaginative.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.

 

Octavio Paz Mexican writer, poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature said  “Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition.”

CAMBODIA-10306

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

 

INDIA-10640

Himalayan India

 

INDIA-10381

Howrah Station, Calcutta, India

 

LATIN_AMERICA-10055, February, 2009, final print_Novartis

Brazil

 

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.”

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

EUROPE-10111, Novartis,  august, 2008, Final print_Novartis

Moscow, Russia

 

KASHMIR-10022

Dal Lake, Vale of Kashmir


“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone;  if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. ”  –  Arthur Schopenhauer

My pictures on people reading around the world will be featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 5.

A Third of Our Lives

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by stevemccurry
INDIA-10688

Calcutta, India

 

CAMBODIA-10096

Tonle Sap, Cambodia

 

Recently, I have been reviewing the pictures in my archive for a new book project.    I have been looking for activities that are shared by people in every culture and tradition. My blog on reading generated over 25,000 views, and it has been great to read many comments from people who are passionate about reading and literature, and the impact that they have on our lives. I discovered that I have a very large collection of people who are in some form of sleep.  It may be a nap or a snooze, a siesta or a deep slumber, but it is something we all need, but something many of us don’t get enough of.

CAMBODIA-10236ns

Angkor, Cambodia

 

We sleep as much as a third of our lives, so it is clear that we are actually doing some important “work” during that time.  From consolidating memory and learning,  to repair of our bodies, sleep isn’t so much a luxury as a necessity.

THAILAND-10034

Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

For Shakespeare, sleep was the balm of hurt minds.  He wrote in Macbeth:

“Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

INDIA-10205

Bombay, India

 

CHINA-10067

Beijing, China

 

FRANCE-10046

Paris, France

 

AFGHN-12931NF

Outside Jalalabad, Afghanistan

 

THAILAND-10017

Bangkok, Thailand

THAILAND-10017

Bangkok, Thailand

 

“Now, blessings light on him that first invented sleep!   It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot.  It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap, and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even. “
-Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605

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