I spent 24 hours, Kolkata gave back a century!

20th Sep 2017
Photo of I spent 24 hours, Kolkata gave back a century! by Krishnadev
Day 1

Staring across the windows of your car, making way through a narrow and crowded road in Kolkata, you read 'GT Road' or 'the Grant trunk road'. Yes, the same road built by Chandragupta Maurya two millenniums before, rebuilt by Shershah and then by the British. When you're in Kolkata, you walk through the streets of time, beautifully carved out of histories, histories unwilling to be buried under the invincible clutches of time.

To see trams run through the rails that have been laid from the past is like taking a ride through history. The fact that trams find a space in today's busiest roads of Kolkata itself is the proof that past and present coexist in the 'city of joy'.

A tram in Kolkata (source: google)

Photo of I spent 24 hours, Kolkata gave back a century! by Krishnadev

The Park street or "the street that never sleeps " has been and still is the most sought after thoroughfare in the 'city of joy'. It has been the entertainment hub, food hub and the location of major hotels in the city from the British era itself. Not for the 'Indianness' intrinsically woven into the street, the street would have reflected the streets in London.

Park street, Kolkata (source: google)

Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev

Kolkata is not mere 'Calcutta' , but the capital of 'Bengal', where philosophy, art, music, literature flourished, thus home to the greatest of pioneers of Renaissance like Iswara Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, RajaRam MohanRoy, Ravindranath Tagore and the greatest Swami Vivekananda. Belur math on the banks of Hugli has been the epitome of philosophical renaissance since its inception by Swami Vivekananda in 1938. Visit to this headquarters of Ramakrishna mission took a front seat on my visit to kolkata. The peaceful air cooled down by the waters of Hugli, untouched by the hustle and bustle of Kolkata, offers more than enough for a soul inquisitive to know the 'brahma'. The books of in-depth knowledge and the highest philosophies are available at cheaper prices.

Belur Math(source: google)

Photo of Belur Math, Belur, Howrah, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev

The spiritual guru of Swami Vivekananda, Shri Ram krishna paramahamsa got spiritual revelation here in Dakshnineswar temple. The temple on the opposite bank of the Hugli can be reached through a boat journey costing you Rs 10. But the locally operated boat, in its collapsible form might cost you your life, I assumed. After the monsoons the Hugli was in full capacity and I was lost in its vastness. The small ride offered sights to the dirtiest ghats and the polluted riversides. The people in the boat had an expression impervious to the surroundings, they seemed to be the least cared of anything.

The Hugli (snap from the boat journey)

Photo of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev

Dakshineswar Kali temple (source: google)

Photo of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev

The suspension type balanced cantilever bridge, third longest of its type during its construction, still remains an engineering marvel. It's the symbol of Kolkata and forgetting uber, a ride through this bridge in the typical yellow taxi of Kolkata gifts you an old world charm, exclusive to Calcutta.

Through Howrah bridge, in a yellow taxi :)

Photo of Howrah Bridge, Howrah, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev
Day 2

Legend has it, Calcutta or the new Kolkata got its name after the famous 'Kalighat' temple in the heart of the city. Reading MK Gandhi's autobiography, one would have come across a subtle reference to this temple during the mahatma's stay in Calcutta. The temple has the angriest form of Hindu deity Kali, and Kalighat gets etched in our memory with blood red flowers everywhere and noisy atmosphere in the background. The famous 'Kalighat painting' also has its origin in Kalighat.

Kali idol in Kalighat (source: google)

Photo of Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Krishnadev

The memorial built for the Queen Victoria in what would have been the capital of India but for the shift of capital to Luyten's Delhi before its construction, stands, ironically, as an attractive memorial to the unattractive colonial history of India. It hosts a museum that sheds light upon the colonial past of our great nation.

The victoria memorial, Kolkata

Photo of Victoria Memorial, Kolkata, West Bengal by Krishnadev

Thus I covered the old capital of India that has many adjectives to describe it within 24 hours. Kolkata is a journey in itself, from the past to the present, from the dirtiest to the cleanest. It's like turning the pages of history of India. It hosts the poorest and the richest. The remains of its unblemished culture , art, architecture, music, philosophy and literature try very hard to tell us something in the midst of today's busiest metropolis, the voices audible only to those who listen with a love for 'Calcutta'. The last thing I did was to grab some of the famous Bengali sweets, for sweetness is what represents the 'city of joy'. Happy travelling :)

Kolkata reminds us of Calcutta

Photo of I spent 24 hours, Kolkata gave back a century! by Krishnadev

Rasmalai, the sweet from Bengal(source: google)

Photo of I spent 24 hours, Kolkata gave back a century! by Krishnadev