Let’s start the story on the day we left home. Me and my two friends Sudipta and Avinandan, were supposed to meet at Durgapur station. We were a bit late, still we managed to catch the train to Dakhineswar, the Jammu Tawi Express. We had general compartment tickets, but seeing the general compartments packed full; we decided to get on the sleeper coaches, which is illegal. Bad luck, we were caught by the TT soon. He was hell-bent on slapping a fine on the three of us. Thanx to Avinandan, we somehow managed to convince him and he let us go. He gave us strict orders to get off at the next station or go to the general compartments. So we did. Just as the train reached the next station, we got off and ran. Bad luck again, we were into the coaches near the end and the general coaches were right next to the engine. After running the whole length of the train panting for breath, we hopped on to the general coach and the engine gave the whistle. There was just space for the three of us and our backpacks. We were a bit tense if we would have to stand throughout the journey, but thank God! Halfway to our destination at Burdwan station, the crowd lightened up and we got seats. It was raining hard, so all the windows were closed. In such a closed coach if someone next to you farts every minute, what would it be like? It was horrible. It was like getting drowned, literally I could not breathe. Someone really needed to go to the toilet, I just could not guess who. At last, around half an hour to our destination I got up from my seat. I could not have sat there for another minute without killing myself. So, finally we were at Dakhineswar.
This place is the famous for a temple complex of the Hindu goddess ”Kali”. Legend says that Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra to destroy the body of Sati, then her right hand thumb fell at this place, so a temple came up here. Also, this is the place where the legendary Ramakrishna Paramahansa was a priest in the East India era.
It was still raining, I wanted to go straight to Sealdah, but Avinandan was adamant about visiting the temple. He is damned good at convincing others, so I didn’t have much of a choice. We 3 were off on foot for darshan. The rain was attacking us from all sides in turns so we were adjust our umbrellas at different angles. On entering the gates we saw many going here and there. Some were barefooted, some weren’t. There was the main temple complex on our left and the offerings shops on our right. Following the other people we went to a place where we kept our shoes for a token. Then we made for the main temple complex. While entering everyone has t pass through a narrow alley after a little checking. The narrow alley opened up into a huge open space, with many little and medium sized temples arranged neatly along the sides. We could not decide which one to visit first. Anyway, we started off the nearest one. The second one housed the main idol of Ma KALI. Here we had a hilarious incident. The temple itself was on a raised platform, and had quite a number of stairs. We first started on one side, got up the stairs, found our way blocked, came down. Went left, repeated the same thing 3 times, only to find that we had chosen the wrong way all 3 times. Finally, we found that the entrance was on the right side of the stairs we had climbed the first time! It would have been a fine script for a show of Mr. Bean! Laughing at ourselves we went to the other side for darshan. This side had 7 small temples of Lord Shiva, right next to the Ganges.
Taking back our shoes, we left for another temple named ADYAPEATH. On way, we had to ask a lot of people for directions. After walking for about 5 minutes we were there. This place wasn’t as big as Dakhineswar, but a lot more dense with many temples. We were hungry, had some snacks and made for the station. On way, there was a overflowing drain which had drowned up a long street in knee-deep water. Initially, we performed some daredevil long jumps along the little islands on the sides. Ultimately we had to give up. I took lead, dipped my feet and started wading along the street. It was funny and frightening at the same time. Funny coz I like walking in the rains, walking through puddles. It was frightening coz we didn’t know if we were gonna step into the next big pothole. At the end of the ordeal, I was utterly surprised! Avinandan was chatting on the phone throughout! Talk about multitasking!!
We got to the station and boarded a train for Sealdah. The train was almost empty, given the bad weather. We got off at Sealdah and started our hotel hunt for the night. We started off asking a lone policeman for the nearest hotels, then passed underneath the AJC Bose flyover to the other side. It was muddy everywhere. We went from hotel to hotel but were told there wasn’t any vacant room. Only the A/C ones were vacant but they were gonna burn holes in our pockets. After a long search we managed to find one called Hotel Shefali Dx, where after a hard round of negotiation we got a room for the night for 400. The owner was a fine specimen of a typical boss! He is such a person who never talks and always barks!!He barks both at customers and his assistant (who is always on the edge of losing his temper and killing him). No doubt, customers come to this hotel and put up with this unbearable menace only when they have no other choice. Just 20 minutes with him and we were going mad. Whenever he turned his back, the assistant silently muttered the worst slangs in his direction. We got a good idea of his frustration when he came upstairs to show us our room. Finally, we got a room. The room didn’t even have proper lighting arrangements. We took a CFL from the bathroom and fitted it in our room for the night. Before going for dinner and retiring for the night we took some pics from our balcony. The room wasn’t good, but the view of Kolkata was awesome!! The pics we had taken aren’t good enough. This one is the flyover right in front of our hotel.
P.S.- Whoever is angry at me because I didn’t visit ur blog, blame it on this 🙂