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Arrived in Kolkata, India. Great museum tour.

Due to a change in our schedule, we had to transit through Kolkata, the once capital of the British Indian Empire, on our way to Budha Gaya city, India. We made the most of our short time browsing the various museums.

We found ourselves in an old taxi with an extremely disheveled interior, complete with burning incense sticks, and managed to get ourselves delivered safely to the Victoria Memorial Hall without bursting into flames.

The Hall contains nearly 30,000 preserved historical documents dating back as far as the 1650s.

The bronze statue of Queen Victoria in front of the main building looks somewhat cruel.

The huge and majestic paintings have a sense of realism, such that you feel like you are peering directly into the past. You can feel the suffering and desolation of the Indian people during this brutal occupation. Both the building and the exhibits held an air of oppression, reeking of the infamous East India Company of the British Empire.

Because Japanese people are rare in the museum, many local Indians ask to take pictures with us.

We left there and headed for the Indian Museum, and walked around the city of Kolkata, which was 35 degrees and very humid because of its proximity to the Ganges river.

The Indian Museum is the oldest one in Asia, established in 1814.

There are far too many exhibits to see them all in just one day.

We mainly looked at Buddhist art from around the 2nd century B.C., with explanations from Dharu.

This exhibition has an aura of happiness, completely different from Victoria Hall.

The Relief of Lakshmi, protected by an elephant, was amazing, captivating us with a beauty far too sophisticated for what one would expect from a piece from the BC era.

These sculptures are said to have been made from meteorite by King Ashoka. The wave motion that emanates from it still has power and conveys the essence of Buddhism to us even after 1000 years.

We thought that Japanese monks should come to this museum to experience the true essence of Buddhism and to think about what Buddhism really is.

We really wanted to come back to see this museum again.