Friday, December 18, 2015

Kolkata Darshan

I had a full day Kolkata Darshan trip planned for the day. The west bengal tourism department organized this. I knew it would be hard, for my friend, to take me around to every place in Kolkata, so I decide to go on this trip. Another important learning from this journey was in store for me. When ever you travel, find a way to entertain yourselves. Your host had a life, before you came. All that will not stop, to take you around and entertain you, when you are in the city. Ask for help when needed. Don't be fully dependent. I did some research. The west bengal tourism department organized the full day tour of the city. It was a full day tour with an ambitious schedule. It started at 8 am and ended at 5 30 am. These were the places listed out,

Starts at Kolkata Tourism Center
a) Raj Bhavan
b) Akashvani Bhavan
c) Bidhan Sabha and High Court
d) St Johns Church
e) Writers Building
f) Belur Math
g) Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
h) Raja Ram Mohan Museum
Lunch
i) Town Hall
j) Eden Gardens
k) Princep Ghat
l) St Pauls Cathedral
Ends at Victoria Memorial
We had planned a visit to the Princep Ghat earlier in the week. I got to see the ghat for a second time during the Kolkata Darshan Trip. Now if I had to rank, my four favorite spots in all of India, they would go in this order,
a) Marine Lines, Mumbai
b) Kanyakumari, Sunset Point
c) Taj Mahal, Agra
d) Princep Ghat, Calcutta

Our taxi, stops at the entrance and then I see the magnificent structure reveal itself. There was a huge bridge in the background, and it overlooked a small, 'Temple of Zeus' like greek structure. I found out later, that the bridge was called the Vidyasagar Setu and the structure was built in memory of an Anglo Indian scholar and antiquary by the name of James Princep. There is a railway structure close by. We walk further inside and then I see the Hooghly river flowing by us in the distance. There is a long pathway, lined with landscaped gardens, along the shore near the ghat. It is a very famous recreational spot in Kolkata and families and young couples often came here for evening walks or a some ice cream on a hot summer day. The part I liked best was the staircase, just behind the Zeus like Princep structure. It led to the river. Boats and boatmen, waited at the end. A ride around the river, was promised by them for a few hundred rupees. I had to go. This was insanely beautiful. Also, it was sometime, around 545 pm, and the sun was about to set. I could see the shattered reflection of the sun in the river below the bridge. Everything was just perfect. The seven of us, on a boat, with the sunsetting, at just the right time. Our boat, is now under the bridge. I lay down in one corner, I feel tiny and powerful at the same time. Conversations around me, the last rays of the sun falling on my face. A moment of complete presence and awe. I wish I could just freeze time there forever.

The museum at the victoria memorial structure and the architecture at belur math were highlights of the day. There was a lot that happened over this 6 month long journey across India. I wish I could record the tiny details. But for now, me, my friend, and two of his childhood friends, were on a train to our next destination. Guwahati. Here we come.

Sat-chit-ananda
@AbhishekShetty_

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