Touring Kolkata - part 2

14 February 2015

Today we woke up reasonably early and prepared our self for Weldon’s tour. Our first stop after getting on the minibus (thankfully air conditioned) was Tagore’s house. This was no ordinary house. It was a massive and very elegant mansion that was built at the peak of the British Raj. Tagore was a multi-talented man it seems. He was an artist, poet, author, philosopher and father. Perhaps one of the most notable effects he had on Indian culture was writing the current Indian national anthem.

Once we had all taken off our shoes as a sign of respect, we were allowed to view the rooms within this mansion. This included the rooms where he was born and where he drew his last breath. We also saw some of his artwork and writings. Whilst walking around his house, we saw something we didn’t expect: a picture of Tagore and Albert Einstein!

Next place to visit on the schedule was the Black Hole of Calcutta memorial. This proved to be quite a challenge. The minibus dropped us off at a church, that although very pretty was not the place that we intended. So it was back into the minibus for us, and we drove to St Johns church, the site of the Black Hole memorial, where we were able to see a pillar in honour of those who had died with the names of the victims written on it.

After a quick stop off at the Fairlawn for lunch, we arrived at the Botanical Gardens. This was a massive area of parkland dedicated to plants and trees – and evidently many couples, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day! We made our way through the gardens to see the great banyan tree. Before we actually saw it I think we could all admit we were not particularly excited about this tree, but it was a quite a sight to behold. The original tree had died but the roots grew to form a new collection of inter-connected Banyan roots. It was the largest Banyan tree in India and perhaps Asia apparently!

Next stop was the Victoria memorial: a building modelled after the Taj Mahal in honour of Queen Victoria, who believed India to be the jewel in her crown. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to spend 15 minutes in this amazing location as it was closing time. However, what we did see was lovely and filled with artefacts and paintings. The highlight was the number of Indian people who wanted a photo with our own English Rose, Vicky. Most of us then fell asleep in the minibus on the way back to the hotel after the long day of travelling around Kolkata!

We all wanted to visit the market again so we made our way down the busy network of roads around the hotel. We again split into two groups; one group went off to get some henna, as you may have guessed this group mainly consisted of girls and their chaperones, Pedro and Liam! Each girl that had a henna, received a great deal, thanks to some haggling inspired by Mrs Weldon, and got an original design too! The other group bought some edible treats like sweets and Liam bought another Indian style shirt. Also, two boys managed to get a rickshaw ride, although the rickshaw wahla did struggle to pull it with two big guys on the back!

Everyone then met for dinner at the same local hotel as the other night seeing as the food was so good! After our thoroughly enjoyable meal, we made our way back to our hotel and had some deep conversations about religion and science despite our tiredness! Tomorrow we all have to be up extremely early so we can join the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s sisters) for their 6am Mass.

Comments:

Maureen Farago

@ 951 days ago

Hello Everyone
I have so enjoyed reading your daily journal and feel as though I have been transported to India to share in the activities and sights that you have documented in your entries. What a wonderful experience and life long memories you will all have on your return. Keep up the good work and have a safe journey home.

Maureen Farago from Sydney, Australia (Mrs Weldon’s cousin)

Miss Edge

@ 951 days ago

I have really enjoyed reading about your amazing trip. Enjoy the rest of your time in India and continue making the most of it. I can’t wait to see more photos and hear more stories on your return. Miss Edge

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