February 19, 2015

Kolkata, India | Part Two.

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
and he has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end
.”
(Rabindranath Tagore)
Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
(grabbed from poemhunter.com)
JORASANKO THAKUR BARI or THE HOUSE OF THE THAKURS 
This is, perhaps, one of my favorite stops in Kolkata. I was impressed at how massive and beautiful this house is. I also found a lot of inspiration here. I was amazed by Rabindranath's life, his travels, the people he met, and the friendships he nurtured along the way. Both his genius and spirituality was impressive and inspiring. And oh, I was quite impressed he met (and had a photograph with) Einstein. :)

Jorasanko Thakur Bari is the ancestral home of the Tagores. It was built during the 18th century by Rabindranath Tagore's grandfather. It now houses a museum that features the life and times of the Tagores. Also in this museum is a gallery of Rabindranath's paintings, poems, personal photographs.

Jorasanko Thakur Bari also houses the Rabindra Bharathi University.

If the outer walls are painted in bright orange, the inner walls are white. This is the courtyard. And I love courtyards. They used to have plays and events here which Rabindranath was involved in, either as director or actor.

If you ever find yourself in Kolkata, do not miss the House of Thakurs. And if you've read Rabindranath Tagore's books, you'd definitely appreciate this place. Give about 2-3 hours to tour around the premises. Shoes are not allowed inside the museum, bring socks if you don't want to walk around barefoot.
Opening Hours: 10:30am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday
Fee: INR 10 (locals) | INR 50 (foreigners)

Jorasanko Thakur Bari | House of the Thakurs | The Tagore House
6/4 Dwarakanath Tagore Lane
Rabindra Bharati University Campus
Jorasanko, Kolkata, India

THE MARBLE PALACE
This neoclassical structure was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835. It is incredibly beautiful and stands out in the midst of the chaos and poverty outside its gates. It is made with different types of marble, giving this palace its name. The lawns are well-tended and are decorated with sculptures and fountains. The property also has a small zoo.

Inside, the palace contains collections of priceless paintings, sculptures, urns, furnitures, and other treasures accumulated over the years. Its ballroom is decorated with magnificent chandeliers. I was incredibly impressed and awestruck by the opulence.

Admission is free but you need to get permission from the West Bengal Tourist Department. There are guides inside the premises and they are not shy about telling you how much they charge. If I remember it right, they asked for INR100 from us. The guard at the gate isn't very shy, too. Picture-taking is not allowed, so savor every moment you are there. And like the Tagore House, shoes are not allowed inside. Bring socks if you are squeamish about walking around barefoot.
Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm | Closed on Mondays & Thursdays

The Marble Palace
46 Muktaram Babu St.
Kolkata, India

MOTHER TERESA'S TOMB
Our last stop in Kolkata was the mother house of the Sisters of Charity to visit Mother Teresa's tomb. This was one of my favorite stops in India because I've always been inspired by Mother Teresa's life.

It is in this house that Mother Teresa lived, worked, guided her congregation, and laid to rest. Adjacent to the room where her tomb is, is a small museum that houses photographs of Mother Teresa's life, handwritten letters, garments, and sandals.

Her room is also open for viewing but picture-taking is not allowed.

Mother Teresa was buried on the ground floor of the mother house on 13 September 1997. Many Christian pilgrims visit her tomb to pay homage to this person who, when she was still alive, was called a living saint. Many people also come here to leave petitions and attend Mass.

I had goosebumps the moment I entered the mother house. There was a sense of sacredness and peacefulness here that's quite the opposite of the life just outside its walls. We lingered there a bit, checked out the museum, prayed. It was, indeed, the perfect ending to our Kolkata trip.

A few reminders when you visit --
  • Switch your mobile phones to silent mode.
  • Maintain atmosphere of silence and prayer.
  • Mother Teresa's tomb is considered sacred, please wear proper attire.
  • Photographs of the tomb and Mother Teresa's statue is for personal use only. Permission is needed if you use photographs for publication.
  • Do not give money or encourage beggars outside the mother house.
  • Take care of your personal belongings.
  • Do not photograph or take videos of nuns and their activities around the house.
Opening Hours: 8am-12nn | 3pm-6pm Everyday except Thursdays

Missionaries of Charity
Mother House
54A A.J.C. Bose Road
Kolkata, 700016
India
. . . . .

How to apply for tourist visa to India, click HERE.

. . . . .

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Kolkata, India | Part Two.

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