Kolkata is a city of marvels. Each lane, each alley, each crossing has certain stories encrypted. Stories which leave you in awe.
Today we will take you through some of the most unheard, unnoticed heritage sites of the city.
1. Bhukailash Temple:
Located in the heart of the city, this ancient temple in Kidderpore was almost in ruins about 3 years ago. Built by powerful zamindar Joynarayan Ghoshal in the backyard of his Rajbari, the sacred place houses an 18 foot tall Shivalinga made of ‘ashthadhatu’. Enormous help from the Urban Development sector restored the temple to its pervious zeal.
2. Magen David Synagogue:
One of the oldest synagogues in Asia, this holy monument was built by Elias David Ezra in fond memory of his father. Located at the junction of Brabourne Road and Canning Street, this piece of architecture is an ode to Renaissance. Lavishly maintained by the small yet cohesive Jewish community of Kolkata, this place will lure you for its grandeur if nothing else. The central podium from where the ‘Rabbi’ preaches is studded with precious stones and gems which also adorn the altar and chandeliers.
3. Hsuan Tsang Monastery:
For all the students of Heritage Institute of Technology, this piece of information will definitely surprise you! Popularly known as the China Mandir by Calcuttans this monastery sits majestically just off Chowbaga Road, merely 500m from the college. Built in 1968 by Chien Wu, this monastery has been looked after for almost over two decades by Nun Hui Rong. It just lacks a snow clad backdrop; everything harks back to the grandeur of monasteries on the Chinese border. The entrance is now through a sliding door instead of the majestic pagoda style gate because the recently built skyscraper Urbana is said to have restricted its flow of energy. This made an alternate entrance pathway a necessity of sorts. This place offers a short tour of China without a passport!
4. Neveh Shalome Synagogue:
Built in 1831 by Shalom Obaidah ha – Kohen, this synagogue was the first mark of the growing Jewish population both in terms of trade and money in the city. This place requires permission from Ms A M Cohen, General Secretary, Jewish Community Affairs from the Jewish Girls School to be visited. It was built on a simple desire in the hearts of Jews to meet for a common purpose. Demolished in 1884, it was restored along with the Magen David Synagogue.
5. Calcutta Karma Gon Buddhist Monastery:
This place is just like another house in the neighbourhood where you ring the bell and suddenly enter into a prayer hall filled with statues of Buddha meditating in uncomfortable silence. Hidden amidst the crowded neighbourhood of Chakraberia near Lansdowne, this place is a victim of negligence only from outside. Exact historical details of its origin are not really known but this is believed to be in the early 19th century.
Kolkata is definitely a maze of hidden treasures. It is your turn to pack a bottle of glucose and quench your thirst for discovering new places!