Monday, May 16, 2011

Day out in Kolkata

1st May
As I woke up, I remember about Behur math, my friend had told me before coming to Kolkata that it is a must visit.

But the laziness is in the air and  as I was living alone. Thought of going alone also discourages me. But visiting places alone is real fun according to last few experiences.
I continued lying but on couch , read newspaper, switched on the TV. I looked at it on the net. I thought it would be  worth going.   I kept on thinking about it and without doing anything. At around 11, a servant came and started changing the bed sheet and pillow cover.
I was in the Kolkata for 8 weeks and was given a 1 BHK by the company. I had not hired the servant, he was just a care taker to look after all the guests of the company. I asked him about Behur math and how good is the place, how to reach there. He answered my all the enquiries. But he was also irritating me. He was so talkative that many times, I stopped listening to him and continued watching television. If I was asking him a question, he  was answering the questions along with dozens of unasked questions.
It was a Hot day. Scorching heat was demotivating my plan. But finally, I thought it’s the first time I had came to Kolkata, enjoy as much as possible. I took out my Aviator, my prized possession, and my small bag and went downstairs. I hired a Taxi till howrah. 

Kolkata taxi. Courtesy: Google Images

I was staying in the Parnashree pally but it is pronounced as Ponnoshree polly by the great Bengalis. Howrah was not very far from here. I reached Howrah in 35 minutes. I saw a Victoria memorial, Eden garden and famous  Maidan of Kolkata and trams. Trams were looking very ultimate and giving the Kolkata 2 contradictory looks simultaneously, advanced as well as old city. Kolkata is the only place in India where trams are still functional. 

Tram Picture Courtesy: images
Maindan Pic Courtesy: Google images/

Whenever, I book a private taxi, I interacts with a driver a lot to know the local culture and all the irrelevant details and to cross check the information I had already gathered. Also, In taxis, I love to smoke so purchased a packet of classic regular.

From Howrah, I take a bus to Behur math and reached there at around 3 against my expectations of 3.30. I came to know that Behur math opens at 4 in the evening for the general public. I waited at a book stall outside math. All the books were spiritual and was authored by Swami Vivekanand, Swami Ramakrishna paramhans and the mission. I purchased 2 books over there. I visit a nearby meditation center. I t was so soothing, peaceful and satisfying looking at people sitting with their closed. That way, I pass my time. At 4, I entered in the Behur math. Lot of foreigners were also there. It was a huge place. I deposited my footwear at the counter and went on to see the temple. My heels were burningon the marble flooring. I speed up and visit a temple.
Belur Math is the most enchanting temple in Belur. In 1897 Swami Vivekananda founded Ramakrishna Mission in loving memory of his Guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa who preached unity of all religions. It is the international head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission. Swami Vivekananda is largely credited with the concept of the Math. This mission has branches all over the country. The architecture of the structure is very interesting. From any angle you look at it the structure is like a temple, a mosque or a church depending on the way you look at it. It was founded by Swami Vivekanda. (Bold Text Courtesy:

On the back side of the temple, there was a huge lawn with Ganga river on the other side. Quite beautiful! . Photography was banned there and also I didn’t had any camera. People were sitting along the Ganga river and enjoying the cool breeze in this hot summer. I spotted certain ferries in the river. I enquired from the Local people. Ferries were mostly for the transport purposes for the local people. One of them said you can take a ferry to visit a Dakshineswar Temple. I purchased a ticket and it was only 8 bucks one side.
I asked the ferry person about the time it will take to reach. He told me 25 minutes while going and 15 minutes while coming back. All the funda’s about upstream and downstream that we read in high school came in my mind. Nice!!
Ferry journey was nice away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was a small boat carrying around 15 persons. I was sitting on the front on the floor made of wood. We pass under the Howrah bridge. 
Howrah Bridge Courtesy: Google images

The waves were very strong. At this point, I pictured a scene in my mind. One from the novel Hungry tide, girl sitting on the boat in the river in sunderban. I was very muck feeling like her. I was exhausted by the Bengali language of people on the boat of which I wasn’t able to understand a bit. My  longing for a camera further deepened.

Dakshineswar Temple Courtesy: Images
Dakshineswar temple is dedicated to goddess Kali. The temple is a large elongated building standing on a high platform with a flight of stairs. The three-storeyed south-facing temple has nine spires distributed in upper two storeys. The roof of the spires is beautifully ridged resembling Pirhas. A narrow covered verandah serves the purpose of an audience-chamber attached to the sanctum where the goddess Dakshina Kali stands on the breast of Shiva.(Bold Text Courtesy:

It was nice temple but the only problem was there was a huge rush. And, I also become tired after sweating in buckets from the morning. I expedited my visit. After that, I went to nearby restaurant and had tea. I asked the waiter if I had to go back to Behur math or I can get a direct bus from here to Parnashree pally. Direct buses was also available. I opted for that. It took me 2 long hours to reach the home. The journey in the bus was quite tiring but the real fun is not in taxi but in local transport of the city where you get to know the city, its culture and its people.

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