Friday, January 30, 2009

Bizarre and Terrifying

Moving around Calcutta, you are constantly confronted by strange scenes.

The abandoned old houses for one....

We also discovered whilst moving through the city that Calcutta has a surprisingly useful metro system. There's only one line, but it moves up the length of the city, taking commuters to all the important centres and attractions.
Crowded but cheap!

Eventually, we made our way over to the Marble House.

This home was constructed by one of the Rajas and it continues to be lived in by his decendents to this day. The inside is bizarre to say the least. Full of run down opulence. Inside are enormous halls filled with precious works of art and furniture. However, there is a deathly feel to the place. Everything is slowly falling apart through lack of care and concern. Lian was convinced that this is the house that would have belonged to Ms Havisham from Great Expectations.

After walking through the grounds (which contained a zoo!) I was inclined to agree with Lian.

Even the area that the house was in seemed to feel neglected, years away from its former glory.

As the sun slowly began to set, we headed off towards the last place on our list of things to see in Calcutta (it was a short list since time was also short).

The Temple of Kali!

Kali is the Hindu Goddess associated with death and destruction.

She is also known as the Blood Goddess.
Walking into the temple was confronting. The first thing that I saw was the "barren tree" .... covered in blood .... the thing is that in the Temple of Kali, live sacrifices still take place to satisfy the blood demands of Kali. Entering into the central area, the crush of people seeking blessings was intense. People pushing and shoving, trying to move close to the priests.

I left feeling short of breath and a little bit overwhelmed by it all.

And of course, India being the land of contrasts that it is .... next door to the Temple of Kali was Mother Teresa's mission.

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