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Walking in the Bagh

Kolkata Travel Blog

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Anindita, Rudradeb, Me, & Thad (the dog)

I had a whole nice blog and I completely lost it, so now I start over (sigh).  I found the South Park Street Cemetary which was a fantastic place.  It's very quiet and isolated with these very old tombs everywhere.  I was the only visitor so after walking around by myself for a bit, the caretaker joined me and told me the stories behind many of the graves.

I then went to find the very well-hidden Motherhouse, home of Mother Theresa.  You had to take off your shoes to enter and I was a bit embarrassed because my sandals stain my feet making them look much dirtier than they are.  They had a small little museum with everything from her plates to used needles that they gave her injections with.  There was a service going on while I was there so there was constant singing which really added to the ambience.

Woman washing clothes
  You could also walk up to see the room she died in which was basically just a bed and small desk.  As you leave, they gave everyone a prayer card and small charm.

I then took a human-powered rickshaw to the metro station (mostly because I wasn't sure how to get there).  On the way, we passed a Muslim festival where they were having a parade, dancing, and music in the street which was interesting to watch.  The metro was very easy to understand but because it was rush hour it was crammed with people and standing room only.  Thankfully it was only a few stops for me.  I then followed Rudradeb's great directions to get the shared autorickshaw that dropped me off directly in front of his apartment.  When I got there, he had found my blog already from that day so already knew everything I'd done which was funny.

Botanical Gardens
  We had tea on the porch with the dog and had a great discussion of politics and health care.  He's a lawyer and his wife works with domestic abuse victims so they are both well-informed and taught me all kinds of things about India.  We had a great Bengali meal before bed.

Next day, Rudradeb was so sick he didn't go to work, poor guy.  I followed his directions to try and buy tickets for the Dover Lane Music Conference, but the guy's English was so poor I wasn't sure what I'd be buying.  I then struggled to find a taxi to take me across town, eventually a crowd of 8 men all gave directions to a taxi driver.  There directions seemed pretty good, but I think it was farther than the driver was expecting because he stopped for additional directions three times and was always told keep going straight.

World's largest banyan tree (it's all one tree)
 

The botanical gardens are huge, it took me over an hour to walk from one entrance to the other.  It borders the river and had several ponds within where people were boating.  It is also home to the world's largest banyan tree, one of the oddest looking trees I've ever seen.  It's difficult to describe, but essentially it has what looks like regular branches, but the branches off these main branches go straight down into the ground vertically.  It appears as if there are many tree trunks all with the same branch.  I was walking through it for awhile before I realized it was one tree and was the tree I was looking for.

I then went over to the BBD Bagh area to try my own walking tour.  It was difficult getting my bearings at first, but eventually I figured it out.

Parking in front of the high court
  I saw Hogg and New Markets, Sahid Minar, the Metropolitan, Assembly, and Writers' Buildings, High Court, Raj Bhavan, treasury Building, post office, and BBD Bagh.  Apparently I wasn't supposed to take photos of most of them, but there is no sign so I didn't know until after I'd taken a pic and someone yelled at me.  But at Raj Bhavan (the governor's residence) I was so scared of the armed guards behind the gate glaring at me that I didn't even try to take a photo or even really look closely at the building. 

Once back at the apartment, Rudradeb and Anindita (hopefully I spelled it right) took me for some quick shopping before dinner.  They took me to the Tollygunge club, one of the top 20 country clubs in the world and it's easy to see why.

People for hire typing on street in Kolkata
  It's completely gated off with a golf course, shopping, apartments, restaurants, stables, pools, tennis and anything else you can imagine.  There was a very nice wedding going on so I got a peek at that.  In the Belvedere room I had a great Seven Sea soup with all kinds of fresh seafood in it and the roast mutton, plus lemon souffle for dessert.  Rudradeb also made sure to order me a Diet Coke after reading my blog!

 

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Anindita, Rudradeb, Me, & Thad (th…
Anindita, Rudradeb, Me, & Thad (t…
Woman washing clothes
Woman washing clothes
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Worlds largest banyan tree (its …
World's largest banyan tree (it's…
Parking in front of the high court
Parking in front of the high court
People for hire typing on street i…
People for hire typing on street …
Writers building
Writer's building
Indira Gandhi statue
Indira Gandhi statue
High Court
High Court
Wedding at Tollygunge club
Wedding at Tollygunge club
Insignia
Insignia
Kolkata
photo by: sky69