Where The Soul And Senses Are At War..

8th Nov 2018

The sky walk in Dakhineshwar is functional and that is just one part of the story. The other story is not quite as bright.

Those who have visited Dakhineshwar will agree that this pilgrim holds the same appeal for devotees and tourists alike.

In 1875, a miniature replica of Dakhineshwar was constructed in Barrackpore. This is equally beautiful and situated very close to Rani Rashmoni Ghat. This place is popularly called Annapurna Mandir

This plot on which the temple stands, a hundred feet tall, was purchased by Mathur’s (Rani Rashmoni’s son in law) eldest son and therefore, this place is locally referred as the temple built and maintained by Rani Rashmoni’s daughter Jagadamba Devi

Diwali is still in the air. During Kali Puja and Diwali, obviously all Kali temples are crowded. I and my mother decided to visit a Kali temple yesterday. I searched for the images of Annapurna Mandir in Google and was amazed to see the striking similarity between the two – Annapurna Mandir and Dakhineshwar.

I made a mental note of the address (which I soon forgot), visiting time – when the temple remains open, asked a neighbor for directions and got started from home after some rest post lunch.

Frankly, once we boarded the bus, I had no idea what to tell the bus conductor as I did not know the bus stop. My mother asked the lady seated next to her, who said in excited tones, that it is in Monirampore.

I almost believed, God is guiding us only to realize later we ended up in a completely different Kali Temple, which was beautiful however not remotely close to Dakhineshwar. People were busy collecting Prasad.

Photo of Monirampore, Barrackpore, West Bengal, India by Kakuli

Kali Temple, Monirampore

My school and college were all around that area, so it is a pure pleasure for me to hang out there, anytime. It is a peace trip, and this place is so good that I even mentioned this in one of my short stories.

We saw a couple of pandals based on different themes. It was all worthwhile but then this was not exactly what we had set out for. In fact I had raised my mother’s anticipation so much that I felt guilty about it.

As my phone charge dropped, I called my nephew to quickly Google and give me the exact address and directions to Annapurna Mandir. Within minutes, he gave clear instructions

a) On B.T.Road, go to Talpukur

b) Ask for Rani Rashmoni Ghat

So a Toto dropped us in Barrackpore Chiriamore, another auto to Gandhi More. We crossed the road to take another Toto to Annapurana Mandir. As we found none, we just walked and as we walked, our anticipation and expectations soared.

I almost crossed the temple without noticing it because I think there was just one street light and it was quite dark. I was expecting crowd, lights, people’s voices, Dhaak, music – While I was glad to finally find the temple, something inside me snapped. The whole courtyard was so dark.

Photo of Barrackpore, West Bengal, India by Kakuli

I did not miss the crowd, lights, voices or music really. I am perfectly alright with the tranquil atmosphere. I was saddened by the state of maintenance of this beautiful structure – It was so similar to Dakhineswar and in such a poor state.

We were very fortunate because we saw mother at this distance (Three arms perhaps). As we stepped down the stairs, a person stopped us to give us bhog. It was all worthwhile. I asked permission and was allowed to click this for the world to see how blissful she is. It was just one more family and us.

Photo of Where The Soul And Senses Are At War.. by Kakuli

I will update this blog soon, after I reach out to a few influential people regarding its maintenance. I will soon go there with my sister during the day and click better photographs to highlight the state of walls and floor before I start a campaign.

I had no plans of going there today. It is only because my mother proposed to visit Kali temple that I thought of covering this place - Annaparna Mandir.

Now the question is - was it my mother’s idea alone or was it the divine mother’s idea - that I visit his place and see not just the temple, but its state now. Then, with a burning soul fighting with my senses, I use some words, some wisdom, some women power, some world power, some wit to get the authorities go for some really long guilt trip.

This is my/our bit to save this beautiful structure, so close home.

Originally published here