Road to Peace and Tranquility Belur Math is an ideal destination for a weekend drive, being close to Kolkata. Dakshineswar Temple must be included for a religious experience despite the crowd. Infact, the whole tour by road will take not more than 5 hours and you may go on any evening in the summer. As evident from the Tulip and Route Map given here, Dakshineswar Temple must be visited before Belur Math, in case you opt for the same.
Distance: Kolkata (Shyambajar 5 pt. crossing) to Dakshineswar Temple: 8 km
Dakshineswar Temple to Belur Math: 5 km
Duration of drive (one way): 1 hour (approx)
Minimum time required for the tour: 5 hours
Route from Kolkata: From Shyambajar (5-Point Crossing), proceed towards B.T. Road on the north, towards Tala Water Tank. Drive straight towards Dunlop Mor, which is 5.2 km away from Shyambajar via B.T. Road. From the Dunlop Mor, take left turn and get into the PWD Road. Drive straight for 2.5 km and you will find the road bisects into a straight left lane and a flyover on the right flank. Drive through the left lane that goes straight into Dakshineswar Temple after a 4-point crossing. There is a big car parking area inside the temple premises and the fee is Rs 20. After you have visited Dakshineswar temple, come out through the exit gate and take the first right and first left turns from the T junctions after which you will come to the 4 point crossing just before the entry to the Dakshineswar Temple. Turn a sharp right turn to get into the old Bali Bridge and proceed straight. Take a left turn just after the bridge is over and get into the G.T. Road. Follow the congested G.T. Road for around 2.5 kms and take a left turn after the Ramkrishna Mission Computer Centre to enter the Belur Math. In case you would like to go straight to the Belur Math, then from the 4-point crossing just before Dakshineswar Temple, take a left turn towards the old Bali Bridge and follow the route as mentioned herein before.
For returning back to Kolkata, we would recommend the same route via old Bali Bridge and B.T. Road instead of the G. T. Road being very narrow and congested. Dakshineswar Kali Temple is one of Kolkata’s most spectacular Hindu site and among its finest temples.
This temple was built between 1847 and 1855 on 60 bighas of land at the cost of Rs. 60000 donated by a great philanthropist Rani Rashmoni.
The Kali Temple is the centerpiece of the complex. It rises well above its surroundings and makes a lasting impact while you approach the temple across the Bally Bridge. Since its inception, the temple gained popularity due to its association with the great Hindu teacher, priest and reformer Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, also regarded by many as an incarnation of God on earth. This temple went on to become his workplace for the next three decades. Shri Ramakhrishna’s presence at this temple and his profound spiritual experience gave the temple instant prestige and sanctity drawing hundreds of visitors every day. Flanking the Kali Temple to the north and the south are associate buildings, which have been conventionally squared off and arcaded. The Radhakanta Temple on the north side, with its famous figures of Krishna and Radha, is particularly associated with some of Ramakrishna’s most profound spiritual experiences. The hall of the Natmandir is on the south side. To the west of the Kali Temple, across the wide, paved courtyard, twelve small temples in the atchala or eight roofed style, are lined up parallel with the river and are devoted to Lord Shiva.
On the western bank of Hooghly River (almost across Dakshineswar), is Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission Order, an association founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897.
Today, the Belur Math campus is a haven of study and tranquility. It attracts people from different part of the globe. The wideness of the river, which lies in front of the compound, offers a deep sense of calm.
Shri Ramakrishna Temple is the main temple in this complex. The temple is extremely tasteful and well structured in its design. The use of Chunar stonework is certainly praise-worthy. It is interesting to note that although Swami Vivekanada and Swami Bigynanananda designed the building in 1897, however, the construction of the temple did not start until the next forty years. Several sources state the fact that the Shri Ramakrishna temple was built at a cost of Rs 800000 by two American devotees of Shri Ramakrishna.
There are several other temples in the large complex. The Sarada Devi Temple built in 1921 is a smallish pavilion with a ribbed, cone-shaped dome and scalloped arches. The Brahmananda Temple is the most sophisticated in its architectural design. This temple was built in the memory of Swami Brahmananda, the first president of the Ramakrishna Math. Beside these, one can also see the Omkar Temple.
Those who visit the temple during the early hours of the day would be able to witness thousands of pigeons being fed by the bird lovers. Sunset on the Hooghly River at the backdrop of the Bally Bridge from the ghat is truly a spectacle to behold. People visiting Belur Math in the evening can listen to the evening prayer at the Math. The tranquility of the place is celestial and would never cease to impress you.
Inside the Belur Math there is a small but beautiful museum of Shri Ramkrishna and Saradama along with Swami Vivekananda. The evening arati is something you should not miss. One most uncommon and attractive ritual of Belur Math is held at the time of Durga Puja, namely the “Kumari Puja” (worshiping an unmarried and young girl below 10 years of age). Thousands of people from across the state come to see the puja and only on this day is photography allowed in the temple compound.
The green lawns and lush growth of trees and bushes everywhere add to the serenity and beauty of the place. All this has contributed to an elevating spiritual ambience that has made Belur Math an important place of pilgrimage for people all over the world. There are many small eateries and restaurants around Dakshineswar Kali Temple complex. Some of the shops sell lip-smacking kachoris, singharas and delicious sweets. You are advised to carry your own refreshments and drinking water if you are not habituated eating in roadside stalls. However, at Belur Math, no refreshments are available inside the premises.
VISITING HOURS OF BELUR MATH
April to September
6.00 to 11.30 a.m. &
4.00 to 7.00 p.m.
October to March
6.30 to 11.30 a.m. &
3.30 to 6.00 p.m.
Tags: Drive Outs