Are you looking for a place to experience peace, tranquility, and enlightenment in Kolkata? If yes, then you should visit Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Belur Math is not just a temple, but a symbol of universal faith and harmony.
It is a place where you can witness the fusion of different religions and cultures, and learn about the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. Belur Math is also a place where you can enjoy the beauty and diversity of nature, architecture, and art.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Belur Math, including its history, significance, attractions, timings, location, and how to reach it. We will also give you some tips and suggestions on how to make the most of your visit to this spiritual oasis in Kolkata.
History and Significance of Belur Math
Belur Math was founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897, after his return from the West. He wanted to create a place where people from all walks of life could come together and practice spirituality without any distinction of caste, creed, or religion.
He also wanted to establish a center for social service and humanitarian work, inspired by the ideals of his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Sri Ramakrishna was a mystic and a saint who preached the unity of all religions and the divinity of all beings. He lived in Dakshineswar Kali Temple, where he had his spiritual awakening and met his disciples, including Swami Vivekananda.
Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi was the wife and spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, who embodied the ideal of motherhood and compassion. She played a vital role in nurturing and guiding the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna after his passing away.
Swami Vivekananda chose Belur as the site for his ashram because it was close to Dakshineswar and also had a serene and scenic environment on the banks of the Hooghly River. He designed the main temple himself, which was completed in 1938 after his death. The temple was dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, whose relics are enshrined in it. The temple is also a tribute to Swami Vivekananda’s vision of one universal faith, as it incorporates elements from different religions and cultures in its architecture.
Belur Math is now the headquarter of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, which is a worldwide spiritual movement that promotes harmony, service, and peace. The math is the monastic wing of the movement, which focuses on personal development and spiritual practice. The mission is the philanthropic wing of the movement, which engages in various social welfare activities such as education, health care, disaster relief, rural development, etc. Belur Math is also a place of pilgrimage for millions of devotees who come here to seek inspiration and blessings from Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, and other disciples.
Architecture and Attractions of Belur Math
Belur Math Temple is one of the most unique and beautiful temples in India. It reflects the vision of one universal faith that Swami Vivekananda had. The temple has a majestic dome that resembles a mosque or a church. The spires on the four corners are inspired by Hindu temples. The windows are shaped like Buddhist chaityas or arches. The entrance has a verandah that resembles a Rajput palace or a gurudwara.
The walls are decorated with motifs from Christian art or Islamic calligraphy. The temple is made of red sandstone from Rajasthan and white marble from Makrana. The temple has a spacious hall that can accommodate thousands of people. The hall has a marble image of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa sitting on a lotus pedestal. The image was sculpted by Gopeshwar Pal, a famous artist from Bengal.
Within the Belur Math campus, there are other individual temples dedicated to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, and Swami Brahmananda. Each temple has its own distinct style and charm. The temple of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi is made of white marble and has a simple yet elegant design. It has an image of Holy Mother sitting on a throne with her feet on a lotus pedestal.
The temple was inaugurated in 1921 by Mahatma Gandhi. The temple of Swami Vivekananda is made of black stone and has a Gothic style. It has a statue of Swami Vivekananda standing on a rock, which symbolizes his famous speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. The temple was built in 1932 on the spot where Swami Vivekananda was cremated. The temple of Swami Brahmananda is made of red brick and has a Bengali style. It has a marble image of Swami Brahmananda sitting on a tiger skin, which represents his mastery over the senses. Swami Brahmananda was the first president of Ramakrishna Math and Mission and a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.
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Belur Math also has a Ramakrishna Museum that showcases the life and works of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, and other disciples through exhibits, photographs, relics, etc. The museum is located in a two-storey building that was formerly the residence of Swami Vivekananda. The museum has six galleries that depict the different phases and aspects of the lives of these great personalities. The museum also has a library that contains books, journals, magazines, and audio-visual materials related to Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
How to Reach Belur Math
Belur Math is easily accessible by road or ferry from Kolkata or Howrah. Here are some details about how to reach Belur Math by different modes of transport:
You can take a taxi, bus, or auto-rickshaw from Kolkata or Howrah to Belur Math. The distance is about 10 km from Kolkata and 6 km from Howrah. The fare depends on the type of vehicle and the traffic conditions. The road route passes through some famous landmarks such as Howrah Bridge, Rabindra Setu, and Vivekananda Setu.
You can take a ferry from Babughat or Fairlie Place in Kolkata to Belur Math Ghat. The ferry service is available from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays and from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekends and holidays. The fare is Rs. 10 per person for a one-way trip. The journey takes about 30 minutes and offers a scenic view of the river and the city.
You can take a local train from Kolkata or Howrah to Belur Railway Station, which is the nearest railway station to Belur Math. The station is about 2 km away from Belur Math. You can take a rickshaw or walk from the station to Belur Math. The train fare is Rs. 5 per person for a one-way trip. The train frequency is every 15 minutes.
You can take a flight to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, which is the nearest airport to Belur Math. The airport is about 15 km away from Belur Math. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to Belur Math. The taxi fare is around Rs. 300 for a one-way trip. The bus fare is around Rs. 50 for a one-way trip.
Belur Math is a place that will enrich your mind, body, and soul with its spiritual atmosphere and cultural heritage. It is a place that will inspire you to live a life of harmony, service, and peace. It is a place that will make you feel closer to God and yourself. If you are planning to visit Kolkata, make sure you include Belur Math in your itinerary. You will not regret it.
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We hope this article has given you all the information you need about Belur Math. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below.
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