A visit to certain heritage sites in Kolkata gives us a view of a totally different Kolata which we now get to see. These places make us travel back, engulfs us with its beauty, simplicity and offers a lot of serenity. They are located in the middle of the city yet somehow the ambiance makes us feel that time stood still at the time when they were built. These Heritage sites may not be popular but are indeed of great importance such as the Sri Digambar Jain Parashnath Temple and the Lascar War Memorial.
Sri Digambar Jain Parashnath temple
Sri Digambar Jain Parashnath Temple which is located Kolkata’s northern side, at Belgachhia, is a beautiful century-old temple with a nice garden premise surrounding it. It is evident from the name that it belongs to the Digambar sect of the Jain community. Digambaras believe in total abstinence from worldly materialistic desires. Painted in red, this temple has four gardens, a large fish tank, and few fountains. The visitors may even feed the fish if they wish to do so. This is a refreshing place right in the city whereby merely sitting in this beautiful garden and viewing the greens and flowers might be all that is needed to have some peace of mind.
Mr. Brown, who is famously known designing Victoria also renovated this temple. The carvings, pillars reflect designs basically which are seen in ancient Jain caves or temples and temple reflects Nagada style architecture. There is an idol of Tirthankar Parashnath inside which was placed in 1914. A clear water reservoir is also present side alongside the temple.
The Lord Parashnath Shova Yatra is celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm every year on Kartik Purnima. Thousands of Jains from all over the country take part in which traverses fro Bada Mandir to Sri Digambar Jain Parashnath Temple.
Lascar War Memorial:
Built-in Indo-Mughal architectural designs Lascar War memorial is dedicated to 896 Lascars belonging to then undivided Bengal and Assam(term to denote militiaman or sailor) who lost their lives during the first world war. This was memorial was designed by William Ingram Kier, who had also designed other famous bridges and monuments in and around Bengal.
The height of the memorial is about 100 ft and has four-sided columns with four minars in the upper part and a large dome at the center. The northern wall has a door to get inside the memorial. There are three plaques on the wall. One bears an inscription about its unveiling by then Governor of Bengal, Lord Lytton in 6th Feb 1924, other plaque says about its dedication to the 896 deceased seamen and its construction by the Shipping and Mercantile Community of India. Third Plaque was added later which says about the renovation done in 1994, on the 40th Anniversary of INS Netaji Subhash.
Lascar war memorial is located in Hastings, on Napier road, close to Princep Ghat. There are two columns of small shrubs and flowering plants, trees and gardens on either side of the pathway which leads to the memorial.
Every year on 4th December, the National Navy day of India is celebrated in the Lascar Memorial Hall. In Navy day celebration of 2012, James Kier, son of architect William Kier, graced the occasion with his presence.
Lascar Memorial is owned by the Indian Navy.
Featured Photo by ePi.Longo