Taking a break from the story writing to talk about the small trip that I made today. Will get to the Mahabharata after this.
The plan for the trip had started a few days back when it was decided to go to Kalighat in Kolkata.
The problem here in Kolkata is commute. If I am on the road, alone, public commute works for me. All I would do hop onto buses, walk a bit, take the metro, use the Kolkata Auto and get to my destination. In this, parents were there along. So I needed a proper commute.
I had to book a radio taxi. That was a project by itself. The last time I had booked a taxi from WheelzIndia, the driver Rajive had taken us for a nice ride – literally. What would have been 50 kilometers ended up as 90 kilometers and so paying at 14 rupees a kilometers, I had to pay over 1200 rupees for a trip from Diamond City North Jessore Road, to Harish Mukherjee Road, to Dakshineshwar, back to Diamond City North.
When I made the taxi book online, I was a bit skeptical. I was afraid that the same driver would turn up. I had made the booking on Wednesday and yesterday, Thursday, I called to confirm my taxi booking. The help desk person informed me that I had called a different number, but he would make sure someone would call me back in 30 minutes. That was 10PM then. The call never came. What I was afraid of was, I would now have to call the taxi company the next morning to get my refund , and also make alternate arrangements for going out. Thankful, the taxi came. It was supposed to come at 7:35AM, it came at 7:15AM. About the refund, when I made the booking, I had to pay 175 as advance , the balance to be paid when I release the vehicle.
Even going out in the morning was debatable. My mum wanted to go in the evening and I wanted to go in the morning. Dad agreed to the morning trip so mum agreed. Her excuse was – she would have the maid come and clean up and she could leave home in peace. After all she was going to visit a temple.
There was another objective of going today. There was a Shivlinga that Mumwanted to immerse in the Ganges.
We left at 7:30AM sharp. The first trip was Kalighat. I took a look at the car dashboard. The last 2 digits on the milometer were 16. Which meant I could travel till was 66 and pay for extra kilometers after that.
AC on, no sweat inside the car, we reached Kalighat – we had covered about 18 kilometers from Diamond City North.
This time the visit was different. Everytime I go to Kalighat I have to tussle with the pandas. They will push against you, tell you to buy things, ask for money etc. This time I decided against the payment and got and started walking towards the main temple, slippers left in the car. We were at the gate just next to Nirmal Hridaya, Mother’s Theresa’s center.
While walking in, there were people pushing to sell things. One person said he would see flowers and sweets as offering to the holy Mother, another person said pay me 51 and I will take you right inside the sanctorum. Decided against paying anything to anyone and walked in with parents.
A slight walk off from the gate and we were inside. Pushed through the crowd, had a darshan.
The sight of Kali at Kalighat is always awesome. In that crowd, you suddenly see the Mother. A big face looking upto you. Grand. Beautiful. Serence. Black. Large eyes. Huge Tongue. That was all I could see. I had mother’s darshan.
Leaving Kalighat, on my way out, I had a glimpse of the Radha Krishna Temple closeby. A very small idol. I am not sure I had seen that earlier. Then I saw the Shiva Linga there. I had seen a Shiva temple, but this wasn’t the one.
Came out of the temple, and in the car. I told the driver about the Shiva temple. He knew about that. That was the Nakuleshwar Shiva Temple. It is outside the main Kalighat temple behind the Kalighat Police Station. This temple is a Swayambhu Shiva temple – there is no man made idol or Shiv linga there – the Shiv linga is a piece of rock, jutting from the earth.
After darshan of Shiva, we went off to DurgaBari.
This is a Durga Temple behind Ashutosh College. They call it 23 Palli Durga Mandir. The road on which this temple is, is called Harish Mukherjee Road. It has a huge Ashtadhatu (eight metals) Durga Idol. It is said , that once during a Durga Puja years back, when it was time to immerse the Durga in the river, there were tears in the eyes of the idol. It was taken as a sign that Ma wanted to stay and a Ashtadhatu idol of the mother was constructed, looking like the idol which had cried.
There is a huge jackfruit tree in the courtyard of the temple. Whenever I go there I see it laden with fruits. Its a strange tree, the jackfruit tree. The fruit does not grow on branches, but on the stem of the tree.
The ceiling of the main sitting area has pictures from the Ramayana. On the right side of the main Durga Idol is a small temple having Shri Krishna and Radha, and on the left is a Shiva temple, with a Shiva linga and a statue of Shiva.
This temple is usually not crowded and is a peaceful place to go to. I discovered one more thing. If one wants to explore Kolkata via public commute and wants to visit this temple, then the Jatis Das Metro is the closest Metro station. From the metro go towards Ashutosh College, and follow the lane and you are at the temple.
From this temple it was towards Dakshineshwar, the famous Kali Temple. Made more famous by Shri Ramakrishna.
Not sure if this was the best way to go, but we reached Dakshineshwar without much trouble. We went via Dunlop. No sure if it that is the best way to go.
Once there, the car went to the parking lot and we went , kept our slippers outside and entered the temple courtyard.
When you enter the courtyard, you have the twelve Shiva temples of the right, and the Radha Krishna and Kali temples on the left.
Photography of the idols is not prohibited but I managed to get a few pictures of the temple.
Managed to get a good darshan of Kali. There was something today. Big queues. Later discovered, it was New Moon yesterday, an auspicious day to visit and see Ma Kali.
After seeing Ma and a few of the Shivas, I went to see the river Ganges, on whose bank the temple is built. A bathing ghat is built there. Throngs of people were taking dips in the river Ganges . I saw a banana tree there. The funny thing about the tree was no had plucked any fruits from the tree. So the tree had fruit in it which had ripened on the tree, and was drying away on the tree itself.
From Dakshineshwar it was back home.
The 50 kilometers became 55 and I have to pay the balance plus 70 rupees for the extra kilometers.
It was a nice day, well spent.