Kolkata is one of the loudest, most polluted, and poverty-filled cities in the world.
Yet in the midst of the many hardships and the never ending chaos is a city filled with kindness and hope.
We've all heard or Mother Teresa – in fact her name has become synonymous with compassion, care, and love throughout the entire world.
Mother Teresa, who is known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, received a calling to serve others in India, and though she traveled all over the country and world, she did much of her work right in Kolkata.
It was on Christmas day when I decided to visit Mother Teresa's home, a place that's now referred to throughout the city as the “Motherhouse.”
Just off AJC Bose Road and a short walk from Mother Teresa Sarani (yes, a road named after her), is the Blessed Missions of Charity Motherhouse.
Marked by a small wooden name sign and guarded by 2 soldiers I arrived at the charity.
Though it is a pilgrimage destination for those that visit Kolkata (and also a popular place to volunteer), it was extremely peaceful, and there were only about 2 other visitors when I went.
After entering the initial doorway, the corridor opened up with a few potted plants, a statue of Mary, and also a statue of Mother Teresa.
I then proceeded to enter the small chapel in the compound to view the tomb of Mother.
Unlike the Taj Mahal or other massive mausoleum monuments, Mother Teresa's tomb was housed inside a very average looking facility.
It was adorned with brightly colored flowers and a few candles that shimmered in the dimly lit room. Around her tomb were a few photographs of Mother.
On the other side of the room, a small Christmas day service was taking place. A gathering of priests and nuns calmly sang Christmas carols as I sat quietly and paid respect to Mother Teresa.
Located in the next room beside the chapel and tomb was a small museum that housed many of Mother Teresa's possessions. On display were some of her garments and the sandals she wore while walking through the streets of Kolkata.
Finally, the last part of visiting Mother Teresa's home was a chance to walk up a single flight of stairs to view the room where she lived for nearly 50 years.
One of the sisters informed me that photography wasn't permitted inside of her room, so I'll just do my best to describe it.
It was a small room, just big enough to fit a single bed and a desk and bench.
Her bed was simple, a light metal frame topped with a thin mattress. Just a few feet away from her bed was a well-used table paired with a bench. Apart from a few notable items, like a cross and wreath of thorns on the wall, that was about all she had in her room.
It was quite a sobering sight to see, especially when I read that she had passed away on September 5th, 1997, in that very room, while on that very bed.
Mother Teresa's house in Kolkata is a memorable and moving place to visit.
It's open every day except Thursday, and closed on Easter Sunday and the 26th of December (I didn't know at the time, but I'm glad I visited the day before).
In the words of Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples,” and she indeed created many ripples throughout the world.