Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Alluring Aura of Anoopshahr – Personal Photo Album Part 7

It may sound rather strange to anyone that I should be writing about a nondescript, sleepy and backward small town called Anoopshar in Bulandshahr district of western Uttar Pradesh.  When I learnt that I was to go there in the third week of January this year on an official visit with two professional colleagues, I had not known anything about it other than that a college was located there, with a number of under-graduate and post-graduate departments, one of which was the object of my mission.  Nothing had prepared me for what I was to experience for two memorable days there.  As I later discovered, the (Durga Prasad Baljeet Singh) College was located in a large campus on one side of the town’s main road.   Just opposite, on the other side of the road, was another large campus containing two schools, one a small English medium school and the other a large government school. These institutions were all generously supported or run by the well known Jaypee Group of industries with ancestral links to the town.  Between the two campuses there were three helipads attesting to the VIP status of the place and its occasional visitors.

We were escorted to the town late on the rather cold night of January 20th and lodged in a guest house that was, incredibly, as good as any I have stayed anywhere in the country.  It was located within the school complex.  Except for a modest exterior, it was very much like a five star hotel.  Apart from an excellent dinner, its hospitality included a large tray full of assorted dry fruits and nuts placed conspicuously in the room, perhaps in royal Arabian tradition. For most people it could have lasted a week.  But I love dry fruits and nuts so much that the tray was emptied long before I left the place.  I thought it would be indiscreet to ask for its replenishment!

Early next morning, I went out on an exploration of the neighborhood in brilliant but chilly sunshine, with my camera in hand.  The following two pictures show the guest house and the flower beds in front of its entrance.  In the first picture the focus is as much on the great tree as on the building.  Incidentally, the tree neatly hides the flower beds of the second picture where the magnificent dahlia stands out in splendid isolation.  This was my first view of the great flower scattered plentifully in magnificent splendor all over the two campuses.  It is the focal theme and the piece de resistance of this album.

[As in my previous albums, all pictures are in high resolution and can be blown up to their full size by clicking on a picture and opening it in a separate window] 

The Jaypee Vidya Mandir appears in the next picture with the flowers on its frontage not as conspicuous as in the subsequent pictures.

The next three pictures capture the great flowers in front of the school building.  The second one appears to be greeting the early morning Sun and the third trying to open its arms out to it. 

The following picture captures the rich variety and diversity of the majestic trees lining the open space adjacent to the school.  Observe the bench, one of many in the place, which appears to be inviting the viewer to sit and bask in the sunshine and soak up the glory of the surroundings.  This is another piece de resistance of the album and I shall revert to it at the end. 

During the next two days we visited the college campus as part of our official assignment, but I was captivated a great deal more by what I saw outside than inside the several impressive buildings.  The dahlias and the benches were again the center pieces of attraction and I went on a shooting spree with my camera. The next two pictures show two of the buildings, but the focus is unmistakably on the rich greenery in front of each.  Again, observe the inviting bench in the first picture.

The great dahlias are back in the next two pictures.  There was plenty of this everywhere in the campus.  Again note the inviting bench in the second picture.

The next four pictures present different views of the college campus, but the recurring focus is again on the rich greenery and gardens; the buildings are just incidental though the gardens would not have existed without them.  Once again, observe the great benches in two of these pictures.

I would like to return to the great flowers once again and present two more alluring pictures here.  The interplay of light and shadows in the second one is particularly pleasing.

I can’t help repeatedly alluding to the benches as much as to the dahlias in this post.  The two are the most fascinating memories I have of Anoopshahr.  I have written about the garden benches in an earlier post [see: “Eton of India: Mayo College Ajmer – Personal Photo Album Part 4 (Nov 10)] where I also recollected sitting on one such fabulous bench in Kensington Park in far off London ages ago.  Although I have seen more of these in different places within India in recent years, nothing compares to the grandeur and allure of the man-made benches I saw in the two educational complexes of Anoopshahr.  Of course, this is equally true of the nature-made dahlias and the greenery.

In the Mayo College campus at Ajmer I didn’t really have the time to sit on the inviting bench and soak in the surroundings.  Here at Anoopshahr, I was determined to relive the London experience.  So I sat on one such great bench and contemplated the surroundings in unadulterated joy for several minutes.  Here is visible proof of this, captured by a member of the college staff with my own camera.

Anoopshahr is located on the banks of the great river Ganga, which is within walking distance of the two campuses.   I had a chance to look at the vast expanse of the river and a long bridge across it some distance away.  I realized that I was looking at the fabled Ganga within touching distance for the very first time in my life.  The approach to the river bank from the main road was ill maintained and rather repulsive; not so the river itself.  There was enough water in the river for boating, but I didn’t opt for it.  I observed one of my escorts get into a row boat and followed his movements.  At that moment, the image of the legendary musician Bhupen Hazarika singing the equally legendary song titled Ganga behti ho kyun a long time ago flashed by my mind’s eye.  I have heard this stirring and thrilling piece of music any number of times, both in its Hindi and Bengali versions; that day I attached a special significance to it though the particular video clip featuring Hazarika must have been shot somewhere else.  Those who wish to share this experience may like to hear the mp3 audio version of this piece at:


At the guest house in Anoopshahr, Cdr (Retd) S J Singh, secretary to the educational institutions I visited and a key official of the Jaypee Group, spent considerable time with me in enthralling conversations and previewed the entire picture gallery from which I have presented only a small sample here.  I am grateful to the stimulus he provided for my sharing this photo essay with my readers, including everyone connected with the host institutions.


A V G Rao said...

Appears to be well maintained campus. What about the academic environment?

Dr Vijay said...

Surprised to see such a nice coverage about the campus... it is hard to comment anything about academic environment in such a short trip. I am alumni of this college and I can say its a nice campus equipped with good academic and well disciplined environment, but with limited outer exposure... I know many DPBS's alumni working inside and outside India on respectable position. Please let me know if you like to have more information. Dr. Vijay (