(MENAFN- IANS) Kolkata, May 28 (IANS) Maheshmunda in Jharkhand is more than 300 km from Kolkata (Howrah) by rail. No rail link existed between this nondescript location (now a census town) and the then capital of the British Raj 200 years ago.
Yet, pots of water from a certain well in Maheshmunda would make their way to the Jorasanko Thakurbari in central Kolkata -- birthplace of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore -- to meet the whims of Prince Dwarkanath Tagore who believed that the water was pure and helped in digestion.
Prince Dwarkanath Tagore was the grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore and among the first Indians to plan a railway line in the country way back in the 1840s.
His company Carr, Tagore and Company was subsequently merged with East Indian Railway (EIR) - predecessor of Eastern Railway (ER) -- that finally launched rail services from Howrah in 1854, nearly eight years after his death. Maheshmunda is now a rail station in the Madhupur-Giridih Section of ER's Asansol Division and that well that has water with 'medicinal properties' is part of it. No wonder, ER has restored it.
"We have no clue whether the water of this well has medicinal properties but people from far and wide do travel to Maheshmunda to taste it.
"Till a few years ago, when water pipelines had not been laid, this well would serve the needs of the local population. It is also true that a section of the Bengal gentry would travel to Madhupur and Giridih for a change of air (hawa bodol) and a taste of the water that supposedly improved their digestion. It's difficult to say how Prince Dwarkanath actually got his pots of water from this well to Jorasanko, but it certainly needed attention and we have done that," a senior ER official said.
According to Kaushik Mitra, CPRO, ER, the water from this well is used by locals as well as passengers who continue to believe that it enhances digestion. After all, the Jorasanko Thakurbari, apart from its literary achievements, is also known for its culinary acumen. The book 'Thakurbari'r Ranna' that translates to 'Recipes of the Tagore Family', continues to remain a bestseller. And without good digestion, it may have been difficult to appreciate the food that has touches from nearly all continents.
"The well is about 4.25 metres in diameter and has a depth of nearly 30 feet in this rocky terrain. We have restored it and added a strong shed. It remains open for all who care to have a drink or take away some water," Mitra said.
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