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Old 7th May 2010, 13:12   #91
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Assam to Calcutta is 1024 Kms????!!!
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Old 7th May 2010, 13:41   #92
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Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Assam to Calcutta is 1024 Kms????!!!
As per the eticket Guwahati to Howrah is 1020kms, and 1024kms (4 kms extra) was given by a co-passenger who travels on this route regularly.
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Old 7th May 2010, 13:51   #93
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@Trammway - Thanks for the wonderful explanation on cave walking; sounds interesting, may be I'll give a try once in my lifetime.
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Old 7th May 2010, 14:01   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Assam to Calcutta is 1024 Kms????!!!
Guwahati to Calcutta, yes. The airlines are allowed to fly over Bangladesh and the aerial distance is perhaps only half as much. If you have to travel between the two places by train or road (staying within Indian territory), then the Chicken's Neck has to be crossed near Jalpaiguri.

Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 7th May 2010 at 14:03.
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Old 7th May 2010, 20:33   #95
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Excellent travelogue sir!! Incredible Indeed!! But Dil maange more!!! Please tell us you have more pics in store and are gonna be uploading them sooooooooon
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Old 9th May 2010, 00:28   #96
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th May 2010, 23:46   #97
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Default Kalighat Kali Temple - Never visit

The train journey in the next morning was already started showing the fate of our trip in Kolkata, yes early in the morning I could notice the white sun with no pleasant message, it was a fortune teller about the hot day ahead.
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The rail roads reached its destination, we were about to touch Howrah station. Every one was ready and packed the stuffs.
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At first I thought I will find another hotel in downtown Kolkata instead of Howrah, as staying in the city may give some opportunity to travel in the Tram. A quick taxi drive into the esplanade area showed us the most congested Kolkata city, I was spotting a concrete made tub shared by at least 30 men for bathing on the road(unfortunately I was in moving cab and couldn’t pickup the camera from bag before we passed the scene).

The taxi trip also gave a quick glance of heritage beauty the Tram network in Kolkata, We (I) for sure enjoyed seeing it. The tram(m)way in the middle of the road negotiating with cars, rickshaws and pedestrians, Great.
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By then my family was already tired and wanted to go back to the old hotel itself, so the U turn to reach Howrah, once again we reached Hotel Meghdoot.

The weather god in Kolkata was very unfair with us, our summer holiday was kind of over, I watched the TV at the hotel room to understand the weather forecast and Kolkata was hotter than Chennai by 5degrees. My kids were already saying Aaiiiyooo! , seeing all the drama I decided to cancel all the plans in Kolkata and just stayed clam at the hotel room to keep the North East memory safe.

We only went to the Kalighat Kali Temple in the evening, I’m extremely sorry if my words below hurts anyone’s sentiments but I felt very much disappointing by the way we were treated in the temple by the Pandits. The Pandits (mostly) seemed well trained in day light robbery. Here is the story, we reached the temple by a taxi and a shop keeper at the temple entrance asked us to take all the Pooja items including some sweets (packed in a leaf cup), bangle like stuff (4 nos), Aroma sticks, Flowers and a Coconut. At first he was telling me 50 for bangles, 150 for sweets and rest are 10 and 15 rupees. We agreed and I was about to pay, he said I need to pay after coming back from the temple and send a guy (Pandit) with us to do the pooja.

We went with the guy and he took us inside the temple, the moment we entered another pandit inside was asking money I thought this guy and he are associated and I asked why? He told me this is thakshina, Hmm something fishy my father took some money (few 10 rupees bills) and tried to pickup one from the bunch, before even we realized the other pandit grabbed all the 10 rupees bills from my father and vanished from the scene. I was at great shock, even before I asked the other pandit who accompanied us he moved near the sanctorum and asked me to get in, but then another pandit on the entrance of sanctorum asking me Rs.200 and once again it was a great shock and I said no, he bullied and pushed me away while grabbing a Rs.20 from my hands which I was about to donate to the Hundi basket. While all these things were happening in sub one minute gap, the Pandit who walked with us went outside and took us into the hall before the Santorum, and another elderly Pandit came and started doing pooja in a corner of the hall without any statues of any god. I didn’t realize that he is doing the pooja, I thought he is taking out names etc for doing the actual pooja at the Santorum, after two minutes he completed the pooja without even breaking the coconut and asked us Rs.250 @#$%, I was out of my temper and started shouting at him, there were many other pandits came together and finally we have to pay Rs.250.

When the scene inside the temple like that, we went out of the temple and reached the shop he had a bill for Rs.950 for the items he provided. ****, I really hated the entire people around the temple, after a larger debate we have settled for Rs.600 because the useless pandit who walked with us got a price tag of Rs. 200 and the bangles in the basket was priced at Rs.50 each. I don’t want to loose my temper any more and through the money and pushed away, just because I was in an alien terrain with in my country.

I’m sure with this kind of cheap money making activities with no signs of devotedness to the Goddess the Goddess in the temple would have long before vanished and she lives elsewhere in the hearts of lovable people.

Once again this information is narrated here only for prevent anyone going through the same hurdles and not to hurt anyone’s sentiment. I’m extremely sorry if I did by posting this very unfortunate experience in here. (I’m not going to post any picture here as the entire blog will loose its charm for me)

to be continued…
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Old 12th May 2010, 00:44   #98
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excellent log Siva. Wish you had a better experience in KOL.
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Old 12th May 2010, 00:53   #99
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Bad experience again Shiva, I think even in Kamakhya you had similar problem. I've heard about these kind of horror stories before also. Many of these people are doing it just for the money and not for the love of God. I'm saved of all these as I've a simple rule that God is omnipresent and I don't need to go to a temple to pray .

But anyway, Trammway at last met some tram ways at Kolkata, a long pending dream come true I guess he he.
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Old 12th May 2010, 01:14   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madbullram View Post
excellent log Siva. Wish you had a better experience in KOL.
My god, you are back at TBHP after a loooonnnng hibernation. Dude many of us are waiting for wanderlust saga to continue...

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Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Bad experience again Shiva, I think even in Kamakhya you had similar problem. I've heard about these kind of horror stories before also. Many of these people are doing it just for the money and not for the love of God. I'm saved of all these as I've a simple rule that God is omnipresent and I don't need to go to a temple to pray .

But anyway, Trammway at last met some tram ways at Kolkata, a long pending dream come true I guess he he.
True to every bit, but it is always good to see a place where many good innocent people gather to pray god(I'm sure if you visit south temples, you will notice a lot of difference, the only problem is long queues).

Hah! Tram is good but I missed the opportunity to board in one of them. May be all for good, I'm saving my Tram trip for my next pending Sikkim and Other NE territory visits.
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Old 12th May 2010, 12:13   #101
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I've heard about these kind of horror stories and infact I had a similar exp in Puri Jagannath temple. The pandits here are called as Pandas,they grab hold of devotees and literally loot all the money (sorry if my words hurts anyone’s sentiments).

I was inside the main temple and saw lot of pandas in front of god and whoever enter inside they will hold thier hands and ask for dakshina or kanike.They expect money in 100's not even in 10's or 20's. I didnt give even a single rupee to them but one lady who was standing next to me in the 'Q' opened her purse to donate some money then suddenly some panda grabbed her purse and vanished. The poor lady started almost crying since she had all the money for her tour expenses which she had drawn from ATM before entering the temple.

Later I learnt that all Pandas who earn money in this way have built number of lodges in Puri car street and leading a happy life. I would again like to repeat that I am sorry if my words hurts anyone’s sentiments however I faced this situation in Puri and also have heard same incidences from others visiting this place.
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Old 12th May 2010, 18:59   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanju.iitm View Post
I've heard about these kind of horror stories and infact I had a similar exp in Puri Jagannath temple. The pandits here are called as Pandas,they grab hold of devotees and literally loot all the money (sorry if my words hurts anyone’s sentiments).

I was inside the main temple and saw lot of pandas in front of god and whoever enter inside they will hold thier hands and ask for dakshina or kanike.They expect money in 100's not even in 10's or 20's. I didnt give even a single rupee to them but one lady who was standing next to me in the 'Q' opened her purse to donate some money then suddenly some panda grabbed her purse and vanished. The poor lady started almost crying since she had all the money for her tour expenses which she had drawn from ATM before entering the temple.

Later I learnt that all Pandas who earn money in this way have built number of lodges in Puri car street and leading a happy life. I would again like to repeat that I am sorry if my words hurts anyone’s sentiments however I faced this situation in Puri and also have heard same incidences from others visiting this place.
This is another horrible story I guess. I always had a good opinion about the priest in the temple as I have seen really good people in the Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar temple(home town), but my opinion was all demolished after the Kali temple visit. In fact my father had the same feelings.
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Old 12th May 2010, 19:30   #103
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Many of us had these kinds of bitter experiences which led a bad taste in our mouth. I sympathise with all.

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Originally Posted by trammway View Post
This is another horrible story I guess. I always had a good opinion about the priest in the temple as I have seen really good people in the Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar temple(home town), but my opinion was all demolished after the Kali temple visit. In fact my father had the same feelings.
Let one bad turn not demolish any opinion. It's easy to get irritated, but then there's always an other side to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanju.iitm View Post
I've heard about these kind of horror stories and infact I had a similar exp in Puri Jagannath temple. The pandits here are called as Pandas,they grab hold of devotees and literally loot all the money (sorry if my words hurts anyone’s sentiments).
It doesn't hurt anyone's sentiments. I don't justify their looting. However, we need to also see the other side of this. Not all loot out of avarice. Some loot for literal survival. Some don't even have the guts to loot and are still languishing.

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Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Bad experience again Shiva, I think even in Kamakhya you had similar problem. I've heard about these kind of horror stories before also. Many of these people are doing it just for the money and not for the love of God. I'm saved of all these as I've a simple rule that God is omnipresent and I don't need to go to a temple to pray .
Agree on that kaushik. We need to discourage giving money to these touts and realise godhood within ourselves. Nowadays, people don't have time for god even that they want to pay 500 bucks to any amount to just have a quick darshan as a vip!

I DON'T INTEND TO HURT ANYONE OR START A RELIGIOUS DEBATE HERE OR JUSTIFY THE PRIESTS FLEECING INNOCENT DEVOTEES. NEITHER DO I WANT TO START A INTER-CASTE, INTER-CREED BASHING OR FIGHT HERE.

I MERELY WANT TO PRESENT ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE TO THIS. HERE'S A LINK OF A VIDEO DONE BY FRANCOIS GAUTIER.

François Gautier, born 1959 in Paris, is a writer and journalist based in India. He came to India at the age of 19 and spent his first eight years in the "international city" of Auroville, India at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. He has been living in India since the 70's and is married to an Indian. Gautier is one of the few westeners actively defending the hindutva movement.

Have a look at the video. Hope I don't hurt anyone's sentiments. I'M NOT PROPAGATING ANYTHING AS WELL.



Hope people don't end up flaming me.

When I was in Dwarka in 1999, the priests asked me whether I could donate 300 rupees for a fund which will ensure 60 odd families getting a morsel. That's less than 5 rs a family . I didn't know whether it was true or not. But I donated 1000 that day.

There's always two sides to a coin.

Last edited by MX6 : 12th May 2010 at 19:32.
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Old 16th May 2010, 18:04   #104
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While the wound created a strong scar in our mind at Kalighat, most importantly the person who played the most fraudulent role (shop keeper) we bid adieu to Kolkata in the next day.

Just in case if anyone visiting Kolkata and Kali temple please see the picture below and if you happen to see this person, don't even think of stopping there.
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Then there was some good moments too, I had an opportunity to catch up with a folk music performed in a popular night life spot in the city at "The Park". Man that was some fusion with western and folk combination. Before the folk fellows got in to the stage I got a glimpse of their rehearsals in a smoky room. After enjoying the music, I addressed the tour as a complete package.
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I must say before we started our journey back to Chennai once again the family was taken up for a city ride on the prominent yellow taxi, to just roam.
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The return journey to Chennai was fixed in a 2A/C to avoid burning in the hot summer travel, the whole day was spent in side the train without much action. The dawn set to dusk to only let us wake up at Chennai in the next morning.
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Once again the same scheduled tasks and office travel right from the next monday morning, but then I was surprised to see the grey pelicans at the OMR still roaming around the lake in spite of passing their migratory biological clock, They are here right infront me.
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If only I have power to stop, I will surely react to the illegal mining at Megalaya. All I can say contribute anything that you can to save the beautiful earth, avoid climate changes and save wildlife. Like me let the future generation to witness all the beauties of this wonderful country.

See you all at another travelogue, thanks for all your support. Once again special thanks to all the people who helped me getting my trip a successful one.

~~~~~The END~~~~~

Last edited by trammway : 16th May 2010 at 18:09.
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Old 16th May 2010, 18:56   #105
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Great one there tramway. I had a shocking incident in Kalighat. When I entered, they just sacrificed a goat. That vision still haunts me, though this was almost 21 years back.

Great travelogue you put up there.
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