Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Back from Kolkata

Was home by 11 am today, it was a refreshing three weeks ...
Had a good time with cousins - visiting them and they coming over - I have plenty of cousins. One of them got married recently. It was a grand family reunion of sorts and getogethers, food and music flowed unhindered; Bengali culture - I am amazed to find everyone grows up to become talented singers and players of musical instruments - it runs in their veins I guess.

Also visited quite a few places of interest this time:

The Victoria Memorial - Storehouse of British paraphernalia and details of old Calcutta its history and growth and the luminaries it produced. The paintings on display are amazing depicting the vivid perspectives of the British on various places, events and aspects of India. Its strange that after so many years I have managed to visit this Calcutta landmark with parents and cousins. The monument is imposing in white marble and the intricate frescoes on the walls and color tinted windows along the domes. One huge portion of the monument is fully air conditioned, a respite from the humid heat outside though rains had brought down the temperature somewhat.

Apart from that the Birla Lakshmi-Narayana Temple was a magnificent piece of architecture with its elegant all white marble structure and the marble deities of gods and goddesses inside. The architecture reminded me of the Konark Temple in Orissa. Its just eight years old. We got drenched as it started pouring when we were about enter the temple.

Also visited the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum - a mammoth museum with antiques on all aspects of industrial progress made by mankind ranging from communication, transportation to biotechnology, robotics and AI. Had to glance over some of the things. The museum demands a whole day � we saw only about 50 percent of the whole stuff on display.
The other places I visited include Kalighat � The Kali temple; the spot is supposed to be a holy pilgrimage spot where the idol of Kali is supposed to have emerged from the within the earth.

The other spots I will elaborately describe in my next post � these include
The Belur Math � here The Ramkrishna Math was established by Swami Vivekananda, where the remains of the Swami are buried and the Dakshineshwar Temple where Sri Ramakrishna worshiped the goddess Kali and attained enlightenment.

The temperature was not very pleasant with the excessive humidity (95+ percent) it makes you all the more uncomfortable. After 2 and half years it was altogether pleasant though maybe a bit uncomfortable with frequent power outages. However the last few days heavy downpours cooled the city somewhat.