Colourful trip through India for Probus Club

Chris Greene introduced Tony Rance, who gave a talk on his trips to India to members of Inverbervie Probus Club at their meeting on March 25.

A colourful illustrated journey from Calcutta to Fort Kochin, Agra, Munnar, Kumily and Allerpey was presented by Tony on his trips in the last two years.

A diverse collection of India’s indigenous flora and fauna encountered on the journey was presented, from exotic birds to rare primates and elephants.

While in Calcutta, he visited The New Light, a secular nonprofit charitable trust, for which he has carried out some work, founded by Urmi Basu, that operates as a creche-cum-night-shelter to protect and educate young girls, children and women at high risk in a red light area of the city.

The 1450-mile train journey from Calcutta to Fort Kochin takes around 31 hours, following the east coast for much of the way.

Fort Kochin was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi and remained in Portuguese possession for 160 years. In 1683 the Dutch captured the territory from the Portuguese and destroyed many of their institutions. The Dutch held Fort Kochin for 112 years until 1795, when the British took control by defeating them. Foreign control of Fort Kochin ended in 1947 with the Indian Independence.

At Fort Kochin, fisherman make a very popular tourist attraction with their unusual fishing method.

The Chinese fishing nets they use are fixed land installations operated from the shore. These nets are set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms which lower them into the sea and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes. They are left deployed for a few minutes before being raised by pulling on ropes and the modest catch recovered.

After answering many questions, Tony was thanked by Chris Greene.