Monday Jul 28, 2008

1/2 a Day Out in Kolkata

It was 9:15 A.M., when my flight took off from Bangalore in the direction of Kolkata on 26th July 2008, Saturday. I was excited because I hadn't been to Kolkata before, and I was looking forward for this journey. Flight landed in Kolkata exactly at 11:45 A.M., on the same day of course

Before I forget: my company sent me there. I had two talks to deliver: one at St.Xavier's College at Park Street and the second one at The Park Hotel, not so far from Xavier's. Both of it went well, except for an unnecessary argument with one of the Professors from a college in Kolkata during the event number two. It all concluded at around 9:30 P.M. on the very same day.



I held with me a ticket for a 2:00 P.M. flight from Kolkata to Bangalore the next day. That meant, after a sleep, I had just about half a day to wander around a city, totally new to me. It was to happen that way.

Got up very early on 27th July, picked up my friend Kapil and headed towards Kalighat. The place was fully crowded. We observed, with great interest, the various offerings of devotees to Kaali, one of the principal deities of Bengal. Much time wasn't spent there. The next destination was the famous Victoria Memorial.

No doubt, British left a number of beautiful imprints behind in India. Victoria Memorial is just one of it. Being a Sunday, it didn't open its door for us. So we strolled around the park and took some snaps, occasionally praising all the marvelous pieces of Engineering that came in sight. Figuring out the fact that my friend had a formal training in Photography, I handed over my camera, quite conveniently to him, and requested him to capture everything interesting. Some of it are right below:



From Victoria Memorial, passing through the well known Howrah Bridge we travelled to the Belur Math. Talking about Belur Math, the monastery of Ramakrishna order, there is something in even its name that brings peace and tranquility to mind. Not sure if Shakespeare would agree to it! Probably, it is more appropriate to quote another personality here, who took all the pain, along with several other monastic disciples of Ramakrishna, to construct such an ashram in memory of their beloved Guru: "“The blazing light of universal harmony that will emanate from here will flood the whole world.” I don't need to tell you how it feels to be in such a place as described above by the great Swami Vivekananda. I enjoyed, immensely, the moments spent at Belur Math facing the river Ganges. Visit to Belur Math wouldn't go out of my mind soon.

Lastly, we went to Dakshineswar Kali Temple, which is a few minutes drive from Belur Math. The place was heavily crowded and for that reason, we moved out from there in no time.

After all this, I did manage to get to the Kolkata airport one hour before departure. It was a good half a day spent at Kolkata, which I wouldn't forget for long!
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