If you are talking about spiritual places in Kolkata then forgetting Belur Math is not at all fair. Your spiritual journey cannot be complete without visiting this spectacular holy shrine of Ramakrishna. Let me first give you a brief introduction about this place. Belur Math also called Belur Matt is connected to Ramakrishna Mission. It is actually the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. And none other than the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda established and sanctified on 14th January 1938 on the occasion of Makar Sakranti.
This magnificent holy place is built on the western bank of River Hooghly at Belur in West Bengal. This Math is quite significant institution of Kolkata as it is this place which is known as the heart of Ramakrishna Movement. This is not a place where any religion is restricted instead religious harmony is a very important principle of Ramakrishna Mission and thus in the structure you can observe that its architecture is a perfect example of fusion of Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, Christian and Rajput style of designing. It symbolises unity of diverse religions.
After returning from west to Colombo with a small group of disciples Swami Vivekananda established two important monasteries. Among these two one was at Belur which is currently the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and the other at Mayavati which is in Himalayas known as Advaita Ashram. At these places young people were trained to be Sannyasis or monks to spread the word of mission Ramakrishna. He visited many places and monuments in the country as well as out of country and thus he wanted an amalgamation of different architectural styles in the design of Math. He conveyed his ideas to his monk brother Swami Vijanananda who designed the temple accordingly. On the auspicious day of 16th May 1935 the foundation stone was laid by the President of Belur Math Swami Shivananda.
The Belur Math is spread over an area of forty acres where several temples are built. These temples are dedicated to Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, etc. here in the shrines the relics are preserved. There is a museum in the premise where various articles are exhibited related to the history of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. The mission is also active in the field of education as many educational institutions affiliated to Ramakrishna Mission are located next to Belur Math. It is one of the most significant tourist destinations near Kolkata. Many devotees visit this place regularly.
Former President called this Math a place of heritage and national importance. From different angles the structure gives different impression like a temple, a mosque, a church as the designing style of the structure strongly messages the universal faith in all religions. All religions are respected as same. The main entrance is influenced by Buddhist style of architecture while the main structure resembles the temples of south India as they have high towers. If you observe the windows or Balconies of the structure you can remember the Hindu Rajput as well as Mughal style of architecture. the central dome reminds the European architecture belonging to Renaissance time while ground layout has the shape of Christian cross. Isn’t it amazing to see such a magnificent structure, all in one? Chunar stone and cement is used to build this structure. It has a height of 112.5 feet and spread on an area of 32,900 square feet. There is a replica of Shivalingam in the temple.
There is a golden Kalash placed on top of the temple under which a full bloomed lotus can be seen. There are images of Ganesha and Hanuman in the temple. They represent the success and power. An impressive statue is installed in seating position on a marble stoned lotus platform with hundred petals. His sacred relics are preserved here. The windows and doors of temples are made of special teakwood imported from Myanmar. The small temple of Swami Vivekananda is built over the place where his remains were cremated in the year 1902. It was sanctified on 28th January 1924. Other structures in the premise are Holy Mother’s temple, Swami Brahmananda’s temple, a two storied Ramakrishna Museum, etc.
Activities of Mission
Timings of visiting Belur Math
From 5.30 am to 10.30 am & from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm everyday fee
No entry fee is charged.
Belur Math, Western bank of Hooghly River,
Howrah district, West Bengal, India