KOLKATA – THE CITY OF JOY. PART 1

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The presence of the same political party was what related to Kerala with Kolkata while growing up. Many statements and other news covered in morning dailies were similar. My first visit to Kolkata after many years gave me a big surprise. Almost the entire city of Kolkata looked similar to my home town. Whether it is the roads or precisely the condition of roads that traveled or the way political posters were pasted were looked the same. And even the geographical appearance all around looked more or less the same which made to feel homely.

Why Kolkata Is Special

Many trips followed afterward mostly official and with every visit, I fell in love with this lovely city. And like Kerala known as God’s Own Country, Kolkata is called the City of Joy. And in the literal meaning, they gave joy during the visit to this place. With their unconditional love, their hospitality, warmth they showered every time irrespective of their designation from office boy to Manager in the office was priceless. The level of affection remained the same from the unknown strangers outside, the same care, same love which still makes nostalgia.

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Why Kolkata Remains Close To My Heart Ever

And no wonder during the lonely and hard phase of my life it was a Bengali friend who had taken the responsibility of making my life colorful, stayed with me as a close friend who was nothing but an Angel to inspire and motivate with her words and unconditional love. I could write a big novel with the number of impressions and the positive impact that left behind in my heart through her selfless approach in keeping me happy always. That’s another story though.

The Divine Connection Of Kolkata.

One such visit was a little long enough to get a weekend that finally I decided to visit a few famous tourist spots. The first one was the famous Kalighat temple located within the city. Without this temple, Kolkata looks redundant or like a non-existing entity. And even the name Kolkata that modified from Culcutta is derived from the temple itself. The name implies Kali in a ghat long time back.

It is also one of the 51 Shakti peeth across India. For those who love to hear Myths, this is the location where the toe of the right foot of Sati Devi fell during Lord Shiva was carrying her lifeless body after her death. And the 51 location wherever the body parts were fell down is known as Shaktipeeth.

Early mornings are normally the best time to visit a temple. It is not only with a divine perspective but with the convenience of avoiding the hot climate too. So I was on the streets to enjoy the cool mornings of a distant place that was never thought to make ever. As expected it was comfortable too with less crowd than it used to be seen on the other days as per the locals.

The only irritating part of the visit was the presence of Dalals or middlemen. They were everywhere. From the place that supposed to remove the chappals to till inside. Somehow it looked like expert marketing guys offering help for all the stuff associated with the temple. They offered speedy darshan avoiding the long queue or the promise of providing specially made pooja items directly from the priest. It was something that may affect the significance of a devotional place.

One is to be smart enough to save from them but as usual, I have to get the service for a charge of 500 rupees for all the things mentioned above. But in the end, it was very helpful in completing the visit much earlier with all Poojas and Darshans. Others were still then waiting in the queue as I was about exit from the temple.

The Atmosphere Of Devotion With Fearful Anxiety

Unlike many Durga and Kali temples back in the home state, the temple premises here seems to be spreading an atmosphere of devotion with fearful anxiety than that of spiritual relief. It was like a Goddess who was so aggressive that no mistake from any devotees is unforgivable. That is my personal thoughts though.

Credit: Sukanya Basu (@suku95) | Unsplash Photo Community

The distant reason for this strange feeling was that, once inside it is seen that the Color of the statue of the Goddess was like fluid red. The color of Sindoor using in the temple was red and it happened to be the color of blood too. Along with the way how the idol is looked like. 3 big eyes in opened condition, tongue coming out from the mouth, and hands holding swords and severed heads of demons. I am not sure but that is how I analyzed it.

When an influential Dalal is nearby, It was easy to do the prayers standing close to the deity. Alos making necessary arrangements to get blessings along with pooja items directly from the priest. These rituals were completed fast and easy though with a payment that I never endorse. But in a temple most likely when it may happen like a first and last visit together in a lifetime it was not a matter to be bothered with such principles, to be honest.

The Pot-Shaped Tea Cup

As there was enough time after darshan, I took a walk on my return. This was to experience little raw Kolkata gullies in an off day morning. And the immediate requirement was a hot tea and it was available nearby. Streetside tea shops were already opened. Many Bengalis especially old ones in white kurtas were seen reading papers and sipping hot tea. How it made an entirely different experience that the tea was served not on glasses normally like in other places. But it was in a pot-shaped cup equal in size that of a normal Chai glass. The specially designed cup was made with clay and throws away after a single-use. These cups are known as Bhaars in Bengali. It’s a special and famous too, needless to say, that tea was so tasty.

There were more exciting things and places to explore and I took a local taxi to see the other streets of Kolkata. Wait for my remaining posts.

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