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The House of Tagore

Thakurbari, Jorasanko
This beautiful structure complex is located in a busy street in Calcutta, at the end of a dusty lane named Dwarkanath Tagore Lane. The taxi that we hired initially took us round and round, and finally dropped us at College Street. We knew we'd been taken for a ride, but nevertheless made good use of our time in College Street. We then found a native Kolkattan driver-driven taxi, and he took us to this spot. This place was a must-visit on my list. 
A bust of Gurudev is placed in the courtyard. Two large plaques are present which have the history of the house and the museum, inscribed.
The majestic haveli is typical of old Bengali homes belonging to well-to-do Thakurs (anglicised to Tagore) of that era. The exterior is coloured red, whereas the inner courtyard is done up in white. There are lockers to leave your belongings outside. The staff at the counter is very courteous too. Footwear has to be left outside before entering, and photography is restricted within the house. Such open inner courtyards are quite typical of South Indian homes, the difference being the presence of a Tulsi plant in the centre, and a tiled roofed boundary on all four sides.
The house as well as the surroundings are extremely well maintained. An attempt has been made to recreate things how they must've been in Tagore's time. His personal belongings including stationery, his robes are placed in their respective places. His personal life is sad, having lost his mother at an early age, his wife and both children, and then his father. There are photographs across the house, of him visiting various places, meetings, with his students, in Shantiniketan, etc. An entire section is dedicated to Tagore's connection with Japan.
In a locked shed behind the house, stands his car, a 1933 Humber. The vintage look of the car is nice, and I imagine the Nobel laureate driving around in the vehicle! I spend a good two hours in the house taking in whatever I see. I would have been there longer if not for the paucity of time. 

And in a room on an upper floor, where he breathed his last, are these poignant words:

When I leave from here let this be my parting word that what I have seen is unsurpassable.
I have tasted of this hidden honey of lotus yonder that expands on the ocean of light and thus am I blessed, let this be my parting word.
In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that eludes all forms,
All my living body and limbs have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch - and if the end comes here let it come - let this be my parting word.


My experience:
It would be impossible for me to express the strong emotion that I felt whilst I was there. Being in the same room where Gurudev was born (in 1861), walking through the same corridors that Tagore would have played in as a child, and sitting down in the room where he breathed his last (in 1941) -  these are moments that will always remain with me. The entire experience for me, has been quite exhilarating. I would recommend a visit for anyone interested in modern Indian history. 

And as I sit there in his room, at the foot of his bed, words from my favourite poem come floating into my mind - 
    ...Lives of great men all remind us
      We can make our lives sublime,
      And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time;...

Trivia:
Location: 6/4, Dwarakanath Tagore Lane, Kolkata - 700 007.
Timings: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm (Monday closed)
Phone: 033-22181744        


Comments

  1. I have not been to Kolkata yet but now I know this has to be on my 'to-do' list.
    Loved the virtual tour around the Tagore Lane and his majestic haveli.
    www.manjulikapramod.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. This isn't very 'popular'on the tourist circuit, but I personally felt this place has to be visited when in Kolkata!

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  2. I am glad you visited. Great pics and description. I missed seeing his vehicle.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Indrani. The shed was towards the backyard of the haveli.

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  3. I have been very inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's poetry in younger days. I would also wait for the short-story-based programs with stories written by greats like Tagore and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, which were aired on Door Darshan.

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    Replies
    1. The man is an institution by himself!

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  4. Lovely description. I would most definitely like to head there and feel the connect myself. Thanks for sharing this

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  5. A very nice post on Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of the Tagore family. The house has been restored and currently serves as the Tagore museum .Apart from the heritage routine, Rabindra Bharati University organizes regular cultural programmes ,festival of arts etc. Explore Jorasanko Thakurbari for more details.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the input, Debosmita. The place is wonderful to visit, and pay homage to the literary genius. Would love to visit the cultural programs some day!

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