A short tour of Kolkata: Reminiscence of the past -The Asian Age

After a grueling five weeks of Medical Mission my wife Dr Anjana's knee joint replacement surgery and rehab physio) in Bangalore, we were having an easier time of another round of physiotherapy in Kolkata in the beginning of April. Anjana was improving well by the grace of Almighty and thanks to all prayers of relatives and friends. In Bangalore, I was alone. But in Kolkata we have relatives. So I was a bit relaxed.

One day, I had to go out to pick up some medicines for my friends. I thought, I can couple it with a small City Tour. So I did some homework and set out for a half day tour. My good Friend, Brother and Rotary leader PDG Angsuman Bandyopadhyay  helped me in the execution. So did my good friends Nirmal Singhi and Subhabrata Dev both Rotary leaders from Agartala. Managed to cover the following on that day:

Marble Palace: A Neoclassical Mansion constructed and decorated (with fabulous chandeliers, paintings, sculptures and curios from all over the world) by Raja Rajen Mullick, the richest businessman in Kolkata 200years ago. The 6/7th generation of the great man still lives there.

A part of the Mansion with various tourist attractions is open to selected tourists. Photography is strictly prohibited but courtesy PDG Angsuman, I had the fortune of meeting Raja Rajen Mullick's descendant Brotindro Mullick and could have a picture with him in front of the majestic Mansion. Incidentally Brotindro Mullick is a Rotarian too and a law practitioner.

Nakhoda Mosque: It was built about 170 years ago and is a fine sample of Islamic Architecture in Zakaria Street. Its red stone / brick huge structure attracts devotees and tourists alike. The massive gateway is exquisitely beutifully decorated with marbles and colorful tiles. 

Thonthonia Kalibari and Chitteswari Temple is perhaps amongst the oldest temples in Kolkata. Chittteswari is related to the name of Chitto Dakat,who was known to everyone in those days for his dacoity and spending for good deeds. It is said that he prayed in Chitteswari Kalibari before setting out on any action. The deity in Chitteswari is made of Neem wood.

Feeringee Kalibari too is more than 500 years old and European pirates and fotune seekers used to revere this Goddess. Kabial Anthony Feringhee is said to have frequented this temple and hence the name.Coffee House had been made immortal by esteemed Manna Dey. It was as busy as usual.

I dont need to introduce Calcutta University and Sir Syed Ahmed, the founder of Aligarh University I visited a few building of Calucutta University after a coffee and cutlet in coffee House.  Came across a bus shade near Belgachia Metro the wall of which had the painting and a short biography of Sir Syed Ahmed. Similar pictures and introduction of other great leaders is a common sight in many areas of Kolkata.  

Shovabazar Rajbari was established about 250 years ago by Raja Naba Krshna Dev,the Dewan of Lord Clive. It's in Shovabazar area which was under the village Shutanuti whereas village Kolkata was in Dallhousie/Esplanade area and Gobindopur in Kalighat/Bhowanipur area.

There are two campuses of the Shovabazar Rajbari belonging to choto Taraf and Baro Taraf, share holders of the descendants. By now 7th /8th / 9th generations of Raja Nabarishna are residing in the two campuses and nearby. They have distributed the property amongst themselves and some have built modern apartment buildings as well.

A senior citizen, inhabitant of the area was glad to know that I was from Bangladesh and took interest in Kolkata's historical spots, accompanied me and showed me around. It was heartening to know from him that Shutanuti Parishad took over one of the building with gorgeous columns and aristocratic look and is trying to keep it in the original form. Coming out of Shovabazar area my time was up and I had to call it a day.

The writer is a culture