A Sunday morning Sketchwalk

Sunday mornings come after a long gruelling week of tasks, breathing fresh air into our monotonous lives with some time for self-retrospection and ‘me-time’. It’s that window of space when one can take up some passion or hobby and essentially be able to create something out of it. Many people tend to become Sunday moviegoers, some delight in their gastronomic adventures while some others go out for Sunday sketching. That’s right, Sunday urban sketching is an activity where citizens reconnect to the spaces they inhabit with the help of pen, ink and paper, reinterpreting the different types of spaces that are encountered within the city. Every sketch is a different take on the interpretation of human observation which is exhibited through paint and paper as a medium. Every month such a Sunday activity is commonly seen on the streets of Kolkata, where a group of Urban sketchers occupy and mingle within the cultural landscape and visualise it in a unique way.

The members of the Heritage Society of The Bhawanipur Education Society College joined one such sketch walk organised by Kolkata Architecture Foundation (KAF) on 30th September 2018, where the hidden locality of Tollygunge near the Adi Ganga River (Tolly’sNullah) was explored. The walk was forwarded by Mr.Kinjal Bose, an eminent blogger and an important authority on temples built throughout the length and breadth of West Bengal.

The main focus of the walk were the Bawali temple complexes, an example of the remnant of many other such temples in that region that speak of a glorious and prosperous locality which thrived around the Adi Ganga. Now the river has shrunk, sedimented in gloom and filth: looking more like a dirty sewer than a flowing canal. On such an overgrown locality, where houses jutted out of every nook and cranny, was a clearing on which stood a dilapidated mandir: the ChotoRasbari (Choto: Small; Rash: the Vaishnav festival associated with the worship of Radha-Krishna). This temple is a unique amalgamation of the PanchaRatna (Five Pinnacles) and Nava Ratna (Nine Pinnacles) style of Bengal temple architecture. The marble chequered floor lies in neglect and emits an ethereal aura to those who enter the temple complex. As Mr Bose forwarded the session, elucidating the participants about the history of the temple, many participants soon became busy with their sketchbooks as they scribbled away. Some children living around the temple joined in the fun as they tried to replicate what the participants were doing. The priests of the temple welcomed the activity as they recounted about the old and glorious days when the temple was a much-visited place and a landmark of the neighbourhood.

At the end of the session, there were a variety of sketches made by the participants, interpreting the landscape from their views. This is an interesting analysis in itself, where not just the observation of the sketchers can be distinguished as well as the appeal of the different elements to the viewers. The range of the sketches together brings out the poetry of the space.


Written by: Debika Banerji


**First published in “Sunday” Curated for Women’s Empowered India’s WE view edited by Somrita Urni Ganguly

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