Yogoda Math: From Kolkata to Dakshineshwar

12 Jan

Although technically, it ought to read ‘From Kolkata to Kolkata’…

Hm, so, well. Long cherished dream begun. I took myself to Dakhshineshwar to visit the Yogoda Satsanga Math. The ‘how to’ of the ‘get there’ turned out to be the easiest part, contrary to expectation. I simply took a bus from Ruby Hospital on E.M. Bypass to Ultadanga and then took one of many buses from Ultadanga to Dakshineshwar, followed by a 20 buck Rickshaw ride. I later found out that there is a Garia-Dakshineshwar bus that would have allowed me to make the entire journey without a break from Ruby. It took me a total of one hour, bus change included, so there I was at the Ashram at 8.15AM.

Lovely place, really. Calm, clean. Mostly quiet, although today it seemed to be very full of guests. Did you know you can stay at the Ashram for any donation that you are able to make? I thought that was very cool: not charging ‘room rates’. Yes, yes, I know it’s a holy place and all that, but it’s also an organisation at the end of the day that has to run and maintain itself. The pretty whitewashed buildings, the gardens and the infrastructure cost money after all. Glad to see commercialisation hasn’t touched YSS, atleast, this aspect of it (can’t comment on other aspects, owing to ignorance on my part).

Dakshineshwar is a beautiful small town. I’d like to go back and explore the geography. The station (I did not take the local train although that is a good option: Sealdah-Dakshineshwar is only four stops) is surprisingly pretty and fresh, the lanes narrow and peaceful. Or so it was today. Didi declared today a holiday in honour of the 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda (and sent messages to the denizens of Kolkata: I don’t know if I qualify as one, but I have certainly saved the one I received for posterity :D) and off I went, flimsily clad on the one crisp, windy and cold day that Kolkata has had in the recent past. Brr, I tell you! The Ashram is located along the Ghat, so the river also contributed to the nip in the air. The sun was lovely though.

This is a journey that has to be repeated more often now that I know it is so easy. I came back a couple of hours ago, famished and now replenished with Shiraz’s Chicken Biryani and Chicken Roll. (Why such extravagance? Because there is little else cheaper nearby). May I say I am now a big Shiraz fan? The Biryani is made Bengali style, with potatoes and the grains of rice are long and fragrant and not oily. I let out a groan of appreciation when the first spoonful hit my tongue.  The Shiraz Roll was better than Zeeshan, although almost double the price at Rs. 32.

I wonder if there are any Shawarma places in Kolkata….

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