© Photo: Serge Bouvet | Don’t think the sadhu blesses a taxi. The driver is off camera, on right. The sadhu begs for 10 rupies. On the car, you can read the sentence “No refusal”. Sometimes, the focus disguises reality. I met him on suburb of Kolkata, near Howrah station.

Only four days in Kolkata

I stayed four days in Calcutta. I should have stayed longer there. I was agreeably surprised by the ‘City of Joy’. The city continues to inspire poets, writers and some photographer like me all over the world. 
Every street, every house, every person is a discovery. It’s a treasure for eyes and soul. Photos & text: Serge Bouvet.

© Photo: Serge Bouvet | 7:00 AM. On street of New Market, this man is waking up…
© Photo: Serge Bouvet | It was around 8:00 AM when I shoot this coal freighter and the grey bird.

Howrah bridge

If anyone mentions Kolkata, the first place that comes to the mind is Howrah Bridge. While visiting Kolkata, Howrah Bridge, like Eiffel Tower or Liberty Enlightening the World, tops the list of places to see in the City of Joy. This Bridge attracts my eyes for numerous reasons.

© Photo: Serge Bouvet | 6:00 AM, early in a morning, Howrah Bridge carries a daily traffic of approximately 100,000 vehicles and possibly more than 150,000 pedestrians, making it one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world.
© Photo: Serge Bouvet | In Kolkata, there is a famous quote:’If you don’t visit Calcutta and don’t see the Howrah Bridge, it means you are still in your mother’s womb.’ Near the bridge, people try to go in belly of the Hooghly river, a son of Ganga. I woke up early for this shot.

Kumartuli, the world’s largest market of Durga-puja…

Think you know everything about Kolkata? You have to visit the famous spot of Kumartuli. Kumartuli is a traditionally potters’ quarter in in Ward №9 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, mostly between the Hooghly River and Rabindra Sarani. By virtue of their artistic productions these potters have moved from obscurity to prominence. This Kolkata neighbourhood, not only supplies clay idols of Hindu gods and goddesses to barowari pujas in Kolkata and its neighbourhoods, but a number of idols are exported.

© Photo: Serge Bouvet |The settlement of Kumartuli, meaning “potter locality”, is over 300 years old. It was formed by a bunch of potters who came to the area in search of a better livelihood. Nowadays, around 150 families live there, earning a living by sculpting idols for the various festivals.
© Photo: Serge Bouvet | I came is this area by subway around 6PM. The nearest railway station is the Sovabazar Metro. Sovabazar Launch Ghat is also close by.
© Photo: Serge Bouvet | In the lead up to Durga Puja, thousands of artisans toil diligently in approximately 550 workshops to complete the idols of Durga in time for the festival of Durga Puja on Steptember every year. The idols are made out of environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo and clay.


Pilkhana is a slum in Kolkata. I discovered this slum when I was at Howrah Bridge. It is the slum the best-seller City of Joy has been written about. This famous novel was written by Dominique Lapierre and it was adapted into film by Roland Joffé in 1992. Kolkata is nicknamed as the City of Joy after this success of novel.

© Photo: Serge Bouvet | Not far from It is not far from Howrah Station, inside the poorest part of the slum of Pilkana, I saw a black pig and blue kid…
© Photo: Serge Bouvet | In this joyfull par of the slum, solidarity is essential to prevent the exclusion of poorest people.
While India’s economy continues to boom, its 360 million poorest citizens remain among some of the most impoverished in the world. I met this people in Pilkhana’s slum.

Photos & text: Serge Bouvet.