The Serene Presence of Buddhist Pagodas from Different Community:

Buddhist temples in Kolkata

Buddhism spread in Bengal during Ashoka. But its effect faded away in the successive period. The presence of Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata slowly mingled with other cultures of the locals. Still, there are some monasteries in Kolkata and North Bengal. They reveal different stories of their presence with the calmness at their sites with prayer. The Buddhist monks from different parts of Asia as Myanmar, China and Japan came much later to the city and established the temples and prayer halls. But very few people know about these beautiful temples in Kolkata and the amazing stories behind it.

Buddhist monk during prayer

The melodic chants of Mantra make one forget all worries, anxieties, stress and all tribulations. You will find yourself in the divine world of spirituality. The spiritual aura of prayers amidst the calmness and peaceful environment of the Buddhist Pagodas are the best places that one can visit. The best peaceful gesture is when Chinese and Japanese Buddhists jointly built a beautiful temple in Eden Garden leaving the impression of their respective culture.

Buddhism in Kolkata

The different pagodas have their typical architecture which looks out of place in the city of joy. It attracts a few Buddhist locals and some wandering tourists. You will surely experience peace and reconciliation yourself at these breathtaking monasteries.

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

-Lord Gautam Buddha

Hsuan Tsang Monastery (China Temple):

The monastery has been named after the famous monk and scholar Hsuan Tsang who travelled in India in 7th BC. The monastery was constructed by the local Chinese community in 1968. The locals call it China Mandir. The Monastery is two-storied with the monks and nuns residence.

Chinese Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

The temple is situated on one end of the premises and the main prayer hall is on the ground floor. The huge hall contains four giant Buddha statues, painted with bright golden colour. On both sides of the main statue, smaller statues of Chinese Gods and Goddesses are placed, creating a mesmerizing environment.

Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

The glass cover around the alter makes photography extremely difficult. Festivals like Buddha Purnima, Chinese New Year and senior citizen’s day according to the Chinese calendar are celebrated every year. The monastery also hosts special sessions of prayers on every full moon day apart from daily prayers.

Chinese Budhist temple

It is located on the outskirt of Kolkata. the Monastery is best approached from the Ruby Hospital on the EM Bypass from where regular auto services are available which takes 10-15 minutes for Adarsh Nagar, Chowbanga.

Nipponzan Myohoji Temple (Japanese Temple):

Few people living in the region are aware that there is a Japanese Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata, and even fewer are aware that it is officially called The Nipponzan Myohoji Temple. The Japanese Buddhist Temple is located on the Lake Road at Kabi Bharati Sarani, in Dhakuria.

Japanese Buddhist Temple

The two-storied milky white building is lined with golden borders and a beautiful compound with manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. It has a prayer hall on the ground floor, where a marble idol of seated Buddha and the altar is marvellously decorated with colourful fabrics and brass lamps.

Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

There is a meditation room on the second floor and the Arya Dharma Library beside it. The temple was founded in 1935 by Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 – 1985), who held the opinion of the Lotus Sutra. At the entrance of the temple is signage, which reads “Na – Mu – Myo – Ho – Ren – Ge – Kyo.” meaning “I take refuge in the wonderful law of the Lotus Flower Sutra”.

Stupa in Kolkata

See if you can locate the residence of the ex-President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. To reach the site, come in the middle of the Dhakuria Bridge and climb down the stairs, pass below the bridge, walk a couple of yards away, on the left.

Few Synagogues are left to tell the story of Jewish Community

Few Jewish Community Synagogues in Kolkata are left to tell the story about the first Jew who came with his family to Kolkata in 1798 from Allepo in Syria was Shalom Aaron Obadia Cohen and established the first community. Many other families followed him from different parts of Europe, Baghdad, Iraq, and other Middle East countries. It is estimated that around 6000 Jews settled in Kolkata. But they started to shift to Israel & other countries leading to a decline in their population. At present only 20 Jewish as a legacy in terms of Kolata’s heritage remains in the city.

Well, it’s never too late to broaden your knowledge and know about Kolkata’s different communities & their culture. The beautiful Synagogues with long towers and beautiful interior, decorated by wooden architectures and chandeliers, are the holy place of worship for Judaism. There were five Synagogues in Kolkata of which only three are intact after restoration. All three synagogues are on the same campus. Each one is beautiful and has own architectural ambience. The synagogues are situated at China Bazaar near the junction of Brabourne Road and Canning Street in the locality of Baghbazaar.

Maghen David Synagogue:

Jewish community Synagogues

Maghen David is one of the biggest Jewish community Synagogues in Asia. It was built in 1884 by Sir Elias David Ezra in memory of his father David Joseph Ezra. The building, 40 meters high, is of renaissance style with a clock tower.

Jewish community Synagogues

Its interior stuns the visitors with its black and white checked tiles and in some places, the mosaic tiles, the large stained Belgian glasses, and three curtained doors at the entrance. In the centre of the hall, there is a wooden pulpit and beautiful chandeliers brightening the whole place. A wooden staircase leads up to the gallery having seating arrangements. The warm hue of synagogue presents the best portrait for photography.

Jewish community Synagogues

The caretaker of the Synagogue is a Muslim, the most heartening gesture in this period when the Jews and Muslims of the Middle East are not in good terms. But here in Kolkata, their relation with other communities is cordial. To visit Synagogue you have to take permission from Hony. Secretary/President David Ashkenazy. They are most helpful and will provide you with all the information. Please follow the instructions and respect the environment of the holiness.

Tourist Places in Kolkata – The Heritage City

Someone rightly said that ‘Jobs fills our pocket but travelling fills our soul’.It gives a ceaseless passion and absolute solace to our body and mind. And if you love the offbeat places than the beaten track, tourist attraction in Kolkata “The City of Joy” will give you some of the best places to explore. Its been almost a decade I am staying over here and every time I see my city it fills my heart with a positive vibe. The city’s enigmatic charm, hustling and bustling of people, distant past culture and essence of joy still wandered me around the alleys of Kolkata to find its meaning in true sense.

tourist places in Kolkata

I started with the most famous tourist places in Kolkata- Fort William, Victoria Memorial, old Howrah Bridge, Writers Building and Cathedral Church which dates back to a long-gone era of the city’s colonial past. The city’s original documentation started during the British reign in the 1680s. The city of joy went through rapid industrialization under the British era, which led to the British impression on the architectures. Most of the places are well crowded and a few are turned into government buildings with some restrictions. They are always in limelight of the city. I moved in search of those heritages whose presence glorify Kolkata but we overlook them.

tourist places in Kolkata

Kolkata was the major hub for trade, which welcomed every citizen of the world to settle here and establish him/herself. The city has endured The Heritage of Jews, the existing of Buddhist Pagodas, The Old Rajbaris of iconic personalities, the Charity and Care for Mankind and the festivals of Kolkata. A few of the heritages are getting silently surrounded by skyscraping buildings when we overlook these architectures. Though a constant struggle of a few people has kept the places alive. These successful establishments make Kolkata charming. I have mentioned these heritages specifically later in my blog.

Some of the Kolkata’s alleys are unique with its charm which makes them special. The colourful Mullick ghat with the sweet-scented alleys will charm you with its varieties of flowers. The most famous alley of Kolkata is Kumortuli where you can find the first glimpse of idols for the upcoming special occasion. Make sure you pick the correct time(visit when they start painting the idols). If you are a sweet lover and love the special Shewai of Eid then Jakaria street will surely tempt you before the festival. During Christmas and New Year celebration Park Street turns to be the best place to spend your time.

The people of Kolkata love and embrace poetry, theatre, film, and art which make it more colourful and endowment. Undoubtedly, the ideas of Kolkata in the fields of literature, art, cinema, and theatre have given motivation and inspiration to the rest of the country. Kolkata is now a bustling metropolis covered with flyovers, underground metro, tall tower buildings, big malls with multiplexes. You can also grab your seat among the oldest theatre of Kolkata for a relaxing live cultural show. It has still maintained its heritage and culture which makes a city mixed bag for the tourist.

How to Travel?

The best way to travel in Kolkata for me is by local buses, autos and metros which are well connected around the city. For, the tourists it may be difficult to remember the name of the stoppage which sometimes lead to a long walk. The trams of Kolkata are the true attraction, but now it can be enjoyed only on special tracks. A few special trams are there for sightseeing. The iconic yellow ambassador taxis are still cheaper compare to other cabs. If you are seeking for trust and service then the alternative online apps are better.