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Sunday, 1 April 2012

17. BELUR MATH, KOLKATA (INDIA) - (TRAVELOGUE)


Shastrarth going on above the gate?

We had heard so much about Belur Math, the seat of Ramakrishna Mission that we factored in a visit to Howrah where it is located. On reaching there, we realised that all the peace and tranquillity that we had heard about this place from so many of our friends, was missing. Hordes of people from all walks of life were walking in. There were buntings all over the place loud-speakers playing loud music. 



There were  roadside shops on both the sides selling all kind of knick-knacks, from artificial jewellery to cheap plastic toys and from artificial flowers to balloons of all size and shapes. 
It was more like a carnival than a religious peaceful place. What a come down!




The impressive building of  the famous Belur Math

Soon we were close to the impressive building which houses whatever is to be seen there. The long stationary queues of people standing and waiting patiently holding their umbrellas under the hot sun put us off. One, we did not have any umbrellas and two, we did not have any patience. So we kept walking until we reached the end of the land on the banks of river Hooghly. 




There also, it looked as if people had come for some sort of picnic.  There were Ice-cream wallahs, puchka (goal-gappa) wallahs and vendors selling roasted chana/ daals/ matar with chopped onion and green chillies with a dash of lime. Saw two guys sitting and chopping away green chillies with amazing speed and dexterity.
Admired the speed and dexterity of chopping


Small eats look tempting













Puchkas waiting to be unpacked


A boat moving lazily in Hooghly river




We could see Howrah Bridge in the distance and were told that the famous Kalighat Temple was on the other side of the river. There were boats in the river taking passengers lazily from one ghat to another and many devotees were taking bath in the river washing away their sins.





Washing away the sins of life-time

The entire scene looked like a leaf taken from the previous century. The pace was slow, the mood was relaxed; the slow breeze seems to be sweeping away all the worries of the world. But why does everyone look so serious here? Why do they look so suppressed? Or are they too serious a people. I could not find an answer to this.


As the sun was burning hot, we decided to take shelter in the hall selling books on life, philosophy and religion and despite our decision of not buying anything, we ended up purchasing a number of books which appealed to us instantly. One day, perhaps I will have time to read them.

Aha! Tender coconuts...Love them!


For more TRAVELOGUES, please visit my dedicated blog on travels  http://globalhindustani.blogspot.in


Coming out of the complex, the most pleasing sight was that of tender coconuts which helped me survive the hot and humid weather of the eastern part of our country.
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