Kolkata, January 1
More than lakhs of devotees from all over the country gathered at Dakshineswar temple and Cossipore’s Udyanbati today to worship Ma Bhabatarini on the occasion of Kalpataru Utsav, which is celebrated on this day every year in memory of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The event includes providing medical care, blankets and clothing to the poor. Kalpataru Utsab marks the metamorphosis of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa also the guru of Swami Vivekananda into a Kalpataru (magical tree).
The Dakshineswar temple is located on the eastern bank of the River Hooghly and it is devoted to Goddess Kali as well as Lord Shiva. Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa passed a considerable amount of his life, serving the deity Kali, in this temple. It is believed that Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa had gone into a trance on January 1, 1886 and granted enlightenment to his disciples. A Kalpataru, as per the Indian mythology is a magical tree, which blesses a person with anything which he or she desires. It is believed that Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa cured the diseases of some people by just touching them on that auspicious day. Presently, the Kalpataru Utsav is organised under a mango tree at the Kankurgachi Yogodyan. The great sage is remembered through his philosophy and teachings. The biggest and oldest fair of Durgapur in Burdwan district of West Bengal began today on the occasion of “Kalpataru Utsav”. The ten-day long Durgapur Kalpataru Mela is held every year at the Gammon Friends’ ground near Durgapur railway station from the first day of New Year. Book fair and Agricultural fair (Krishi Mela) is the prime attraction of Durgapur Kalpataru Mela. Incidentally the book fair here is the oldest of its kind in the entire district. Renowned publishers from Kolkata put up their book stalls every year. Cultural event is held on all the days inside the book fair, adds to the attraction of the fair. In this age when people prefer to shop in malls and showrooms, Durgapur Kalpataru Mela has been able to keep its age old charm and attraction intact. People from not only Durgapur, but from adjoining areas of Andal, Asansol, Panagarh, Galsi, Pandaveshwar, Budbud, Barjora, Beliatore comes in large number in this fair.
Meanwhile, people in the eastern metropolis – including backpackers and travellers from across the world – ushered in 2017 with family events, prayers, picnics and trips to popular tourist spots, following a night of partying.
While some chose to stay indoors and celebrate with their families, hundreds made a beeline for the famed Alipore zoo and Eco Park and iconic Victoria Memorial.
Religious places like the Dakhshineswar temple and St Paul’s Cathedral saw heavy footfall. Revellers from across the state and outside soaked in the ambience of new locations like the Eco Park and the Mother’s Wax Museum at Rajarhat in the city’s outskirts. Along the Hooghly, Prinsep Ghat was abuzz with tourists and locals who enjoyed the view as enthusiasts took to boating rides and cruises along the river. “Mintlime” ? a Kolkata based event management company launched a special tram ride today from Esplanade to Khidirpur to witness how the City of Joy and its heritage sites look after the sun-set it all its glory.
The journey started from Esplanade and covered Victoria Memorial, Maidan, Eden Gardens, Akashvani, Fort William and Khidirpore Dock. The 24 seater AC tram coach has been equipped with Audio-Visual setup to share historical information regarding Kolkata and its heritage. The first ride was completely free for the elderly people.
Far away from the madding crowd, several groups took short trips to sea beaches (Digha in East Midnapore), forests (Sunderbans mangrove) and hilly areas of north Bengal with many opting for homestays instead of luxury hotels.
For youngsters, the posh British-era Park Street provided a plethora of options with clubs, discotheques and food joints.
Kolkata, January 1