The history of Bandel Church is mesmerizing. I am sure it will take your breath away.I have to dip you into a bit of a history to give context to what we saw. In 1498, Vasco Da Gama, a Portuguese explorer came to India and anchored at Calicut or Kozikode in Kerela. Ever since then India had seen Portuguese settlements across the Indian subcontinent. Bandel church has its design from Portugal. One of the oldest churches in India; dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosario, Our Lady of Rosary was presented to the visitors in the year 1650 by the Portuguese. It was founded, way back in 1599.Every room, courtyard we visited, pages of history unfolded. It is said that a Portuguese ship met near disaster of getting sunk in the sea. The ship's captain, prayed for safety for his ship and men. He promised to bequeath a mast of his ship to the first church he sees and it was this church which he caught up with. Till today, the mast of that stricken ship can be seen in the church.However, unfortunately we could not see it as the mast was blown away in a local cyclone in 2010. Fables also say that the word "Bandel"possibly, meant "a mast of a ship" in Portuguese. So, this was the background behind the church's name and the name of the place.The best way to explain, perhaps, is to give you a pictorial trip through the church.
Coffee House- located near College Street is one of the oldest cafes of the city that has seen the freedom fighters planning their next moves to generations till date. There you get the best of coffeeand fish finger, fish fries at amazingly nominal cost. You cannot miss out the multi-dextrous crowd visiting this place.
Chandernagore also known as the "City of Liberty" is a small town located 30 kilometers north of Calcutta. Situated along the banks of River Ganges, the city has been able to keep herself separated from all other cities and abide by her own characteristics. The Underground House (Patal Bari) is a beautiful example of the advancement in the knowledge of architecture and the aesthetic sense of the people of those earlier days. Its lowest floor is submerged in the river Ganges. You can also visit the Institute de Chandernagore, one of the oldest and finest museums of the entire region, which boasts a beautiful collection of French items (cannons used in Anglo - French war, wooden furniture of the 18th century)
St. Xavier's Institution
One day one of my school friends planned a visit in their college- St Xavier’s, Kolkata that stands amidst Park Street. The crowd and their dressing sense was not at all over the top but was so real, as if each people have dressed up basis their personality. You will find so many varieties of dress-ups in that campus. She took me to the campus auditorium which held a lot of different peer groups practicing variety of activities- from fashion shows, to theatres till dance and music extravaganza! Amazed, I asked my friend whether they are practising these art forms for any upcoming festival and to my utter surprise she stated that this is a normal evening for the “Xavierians” as they do not need a festival to practice their passion! Now I know what all is missing in my Delhi college campus! Rightfully, this city is the cultural hub of the country because every city might have a singer, a footballer, a cricketer or a dancer in it; but this city has thousands of such talented bunch in all most all the houses of the city!On the 20th day of my Kolkata trip, I had mixed emotions, something that was least expected after visiting a city. I did not fall in love with any one human being out there, but I believe I fell in love with all of them! I did not understand whether am I leaving behind my roots or am I taking my roots along with me! Whether am I a stranger in Delhi or am I a “Delhiite” who would love to go back to the land which made her encounter with her soul!Only then did I understand that I cannot be lured by a man who awaits me to snuggle in his arms but of course his land! After all a vagabond fall in love with the land and not the men!Well, even while composing this piece I had to cut short of my precious experience of the 20 days, but have skimmed through that preciousness which gifted a new “ME”! So would you still assume Kolkata to be an overrated city full of imperfections or would you visit this land which has love and warmth intertwined in all its individuals? Believe me, if you want to feel the love- the real emotion that binds the human race, then pack your bags and visit this place of India and feel for yourself what love is to them!