Places covered– Kolkata Local (1stday), GangaSagar (2ndday)
Our train from Puri to Kolkata “12838 PURI HWH EXPRESS” reached Howrah @5:00 AM. We were received by taxi driver which we had booked in advance for local Kolkata and GangaSagar tour.
Kalighat Kali Temple & Belurmath
We wanted to stay at Belur Math and visiting Kali temple both at Kalighat and Dakshineshwar temple was on our hit list. To make it easy, we booked in advance Nivedita cottage at Belur math for our stay. Nivedita cottage are owned by Belurmath and to get the booking, you need to contact Belurmath authorities and need to send mail to email@example.com. We had also pre-booked our taxi with a tour operator for both days ie. Kolkata local and one-day trip to Gangasagar. As the taxi was booked for 2 days, so same driver was provided to us for both days. Our driver picked us up from Howrah railway station @5:15 AM. The driver was local to Kolkata so was having very good knowledge about the city and area around.
He suggested that we should visit kalighat kali temple first before checking in Nivedita cottage to avoid Kolkata traffic. We agreed to this and he drove us towards kalighat kali temple. On the way we stopped at “Balwant Singh tea shop” quite famous for its steamed tea served in Kulhad. To enjoy its Nimki samosa which we purchased to be eaten after Kalighat kali temple darshan.
All roads were empty and we reached the temple with-in minutes and had a great darshan of Kali Maa. Temple complex was also empty and did parikarma of temple as well. We were blessed to touch Maa Kali’s divine feet and offered flowers.
PareshnathJain Temple & science city
On the way we stopped at Victoria memorial and spent some time in its garden. Museum was closed being it Monday.
Clicked some great snaps and reached Pareshnath Jain temple.
We were quite impressed by its cleanliness and mirror work & silver European styled statues. A scenic garden is also there in temple premises. Many fountains were looking excellent when water was gushing out of them. The temple left a very calming effect on our mind, body and spirit. We had darshan of a lamp (Akhand Jyoti) which was burning with ghee since 1867. Felt really blessed to have such a great start of the day. Today was devoted to Maa kali and we were really excited to reach Belur math. It also impressed us a lot specially the discipline, cleanliness, greenery of place. We got issued the entry pass from Belurmath itself which we had to carry with us for Nivedita cottage stay.
Every Rs even if is paid for using washroom at Belurmath is accounted for was really impressive.
We checked into Nivedita cottage. It was extremely clean 6 bedded family room with large bathroom with every modern amenity. Newly constructed building with all amenities and very caring care taker. We all had hot shower and were ready for the day. It was 10 AM by now. We asked our driver to take us for breakfast. He drove us to Haldiram outlet. It was enormous and quite spacious. We had a sumptuous breakfast.
On the way we had decided to go to India science city. Reached there and spent more than 2 hours. It is largest science center in india sub-continent and provides fun way of learning science. Our both sons helped us to understand the explanations given for various science gadgets.
We came out and asked the drive to spend some time at Park Street. On the way we saw Princep ghat and Eden garden from outside and explored park street are on foot from one end to another. Our driver explained each and every building which come on way and acted like a guide for us. Many sky scrapers were there.
Then we boarded the car and were stuck in Kolkata traffic and asked the driver to drop us to ferry ghat boarding point in Belur so that we can go to Dakshineshwar temple by ferry. We wanted to enjoy the ferry ride and also to avoid road traffic. It was indeed a good idea. Ferry ticket was Rs. 11 per member. Mandir darshan timings for evening are from 3 PM to 8 PM. We boarded the Ferry and reached the temple on time in around 30 minutes. Kept shoes and mobiles in locker available there and stood in queue which was not very big and approx. may be having 50-60 persons. With-in next 30 minutes we were in front of Maa Kali. We could not take our eyes off Maa Kali Bhavatarini, made of silver.
The idol of Maa kali stands on the chest of Lord shiva who rests in a lying posture. The two idols stand beautifully on a thousand petal lotus made of silver.
There are 12 shrines dedicated to shiva along tha riverfront which we visited. We also had darshan of Radha Krishan temple. It is said that Sri Rama Krishna Paramhans himself used to perform puja at this temple.
We were really feeling blessed that we were able to visit the place where Sri Rama Krishna Paramhans attained his divine enlightenment and witnessed a holy glance of Goddess kali.
Upon coming out of temple complex, we ate famous hot “Hing ki Kachori” with fresh aaloo sabzi. Small samosas were also quite mouthwatering. Now it was time to return to Nivedita cottage. We reached the boarding point of ferry and took tickets (11 Rs per person) & in around 40 minutes we reached our destination, the great Belurmath.
Belurmath bathed in evening lights was looking superb. We had darshan of Vivekanand temple, RamaKrishna temple and Sarada devi temple. The Ramakrishna temple resembles a temple, a mosque, a church if seen from different positions. People from all over world come and visit this temple irrespective of their religion. The serenity and tranquility of place charms you and diffuse peace into the inner soul. We spent a good time and came back to our cottage, rejuvenated for the next day trip to gangasagar.
Lot No. 8/Harwood Point, Ferry and Gangasagar
Next morning at around 05:00 AM we started our trip to Gangasagar.
My wife was quite eager to visit GangaSagar. Her will was fueled by the saying “Saaray teerath baar baar, gangasagar ek baar” At God’s will, we were ready to visit to Gangar Sagar. Ganga Sagar Snan is a very religious and important ritual for Hindu devotees. To release own souls from pain, sin & to earn virtue people come here from all over India & take a holy shower into this holy Sagar (Island) & earn blessings & worship the great saint Kapil Muni.
We booked our entire gangasagar trip online in advance which included everything from our pick from Belurmath and drop at IIM Joka.
Taxi took us to Ferry Ghat, i.e Lot No. 8/Harwood Point. There we were greeted by local guide who had already brought Ship tickets for us. We boarded the ship to cross the Muriganga river for Katchubaria.
On other side, another taxi took us to Sagar Island from Katchubaria to Ganagsagar. We were dropped before 2 KM of GangaSagar. From there Thela rickshaw were hired to drop us to Gangasagar. This charged us 240 Rs for 5 persons including our local guide. One can also walk to Gangasagar rather than using Thela rickshaw.
We spent around 2 hours in gangasagar and enjoyed a lot and clicked a lot of snaps. After completing the Ganga Snan rituals, devotees also visit the Kapilmuni Temple, located nearby. It is a unique and one-of-its-kind temple in India that is dedicated to Saint Kapil
After that we had our lunch which was included in the package itself. Thereafter our local driver dropped us to Katchubaria. Here our local guide had already collected the ship tickets for us. The last ship from here is at 3 PM. After which the only one ship is there which starts at 09 PM. We boarded the ship and landed Ferry Ghat, i.e Lot No. 8/Harwood Point. Again the same drive which had dropped us there, was waiting for us.
Campus of IIM Kolkata, is fondly called as “Joka”. We headed to IIM Joka from there and reached around 08:00 PM at Joka and spent our night in IIM Joka guest house. Next day in the afternoon, we had train for Jasidih (Baidyanath Dham).
Our son had already booked the accommodation in The Tata Hall inside JOKA for our one-day stay. Staying at Tata Hall was a right decision as while staying in Tata Hall, we were also near to our elder son whose hostel was nearby. The accommodation facilities provided at Tata Hall was of prime quality.
We enjoyed a lot during our stay in IIM JOKA. After having yummy dinner in JOKA mess we explored the JOKA campus on foot. It was lush green area all. Campus is having 7 Lakes which symbolize seven of the most legendary professors of the institute. These are two of the most iconic structures in the campus. The times you spend here, would remained carved in your memory forever. No wonder, these places hold a special place in the heart of any Jokar. During our stay, we also enjoyed Billiards, Table Tennis and other games in JOka.
Next morning, we left our elder son in Joka who studies there. Myself, my wife and my younger son headed towards Hawrah railway station to catch our train “12369 KUMBHA EXPRESS” for Jasidih. Our next destination was “Deogarh” for Babadham or also known as “BaidyanathDham” which is around 7 KM from Jasidih railway station.