Hills remembers Swami Vivekananda on his death anniversary

Hills remembers Swami Vivekananda on his death anniversary
Darjeeling: Swami Vivekananda always held Darjeeling very close to his heart. He had visited the Queen of the Hills on a number of times. Darjeeling remembered the revolutionary monk on his death anniversary on Saturday. An empty feeling descended on the Bhattacharjee household in Darjeeling. Around 14 years ago the family had parted with their most prized possession, a chair used by Swamiji during his visits to Darjeeling. Swamiji had visited Darjeeling on four occasions, twice in 1897, 1898 and for the last time in 1901. Swamiji during his visits to Darjeeling used to put up in a house known as the Ballen Villa, near the main market square.

The house was owned by Mahendra Nath Banerjee, a government pleader. "My father had chanced upon the chair by sheer luck," stated Alok Bhattacharjee, a local resident. In the late 1970s his father Raj Narayan Bhattacharjee during a visit to his lawyer Janak Lal Agarwal Agarwal was told that Ballen Villa was being dismantled and that the proprietors wanted to give away a chair that was used to Swamiji. His father approached the owners of Ballen Villa and brought the chair home. The Chair was kept at the Bhattacharjee household located on the Ladenla Road. "People who knew about it came to see the chair. Soon the Ramarkrishna Vedanta Ashram and Ramkrishna Mission were constantly pressing us for the chair. We however did not want to part with it," stated 74-year-old Bhattacharjee.

In 2005 Bhattacharjee befriended a police officer from Jalpaiguri who was close to the Ramakrishna Mission in Jalpaiguri. Hearing of the chair, monks from the mission arrived from Jalpaiguri to see the chair. "They requested us to donate the chair to Belur Math where more people could see the chair. Though reluctant initially, we later agreed," added Bhattacharjee. In 2006 the monks arrived from Jalpaiguri and took away the chair in a decorated vehicle. The chair was on display at the Ramkrishna Mission in Jalpaiguri for a few days and then taken to Belur Math where it is on display now. The Belur Math gave a letter of appreciation to the Bhattacharjee family. In a letter written to one Mrs O Bull on April 4th, 1898, from Darjeeling, Swamiji writes: "Here it is nice and cool and rather chilly when it rains, which it does almost every day. Yesterday the view of the snows was simply superb, and it is the most picturesque city in the world……"

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Swami Vivekananda always held Darjeeling very close to his heart. He had visited the Queen of the Hills on a number of times. Darjeeling remembered th

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