I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!
B for Belūr Mutt
A long bus ride takes us to the banks of the river Hooghly. Merely an hour and a half away from the buzzing metropolis of Kolkata, we find ourselves before an imposing gate of an institution that forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Vedanta Movement. A place where Swami Vivekananda once lived and worked. Nobody makes any distinctions here on the basis of creed, caste, race or nationality. We’ve arrived at the Belūr Mutt.
To the rest of the world, a place of great historical significance. The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. For us, a testimony to a friendship that has stood the test of time.
The Mutt, supremely serene, is spread over 40 acres and includes temples, shrines and a museum dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his life.
This is a trip that Jay and I made years ago when we were students. We were meeting after two years and since we had just one day in hand, between his arrival at and my departure from Kolkata, we decided to meet up somewhere other than a regular coffee shop to catch up…that some place “interesting” happened to be Belur!
The place is extremely well-maintained by the monks who live and work here. One can’t help but notice the beautiful green lawns and lush growth of trees that enhances the spiritual ambience of the place.
Sitting by the banks, spending the best part of the afternoon catching up on everything since our last meeting, with him doodling on a sketchpad while I made my diary entry, watching the busy ferries as they carried people to the other end of the river. Right across the Hooghly, is the iconic Dakshineshwar Temple – the sight made for a very picturesque view. Not surprising that a few boys and girls carrying rolls of drawing sheets, probably from some art college, came along in small groups to settle themselves, looking for places from where they could get the best views with the least obstructions.
The memory of that afternoon has remained frozen in time. The best part of those wonderful years was the sense of optimism and possibility in the air! (Don’t we all wish to remain 19 all our lives?!) It was such great fun absorbing the ambience, as the crowd came and went by, in a never-ending stream. We left, hoping to be back another day.
Little did we know then, that we were destined to come here again…that our lives were bound together. But I’ll keep that story for another day!