June 25, 2011

Belur Math

Belur Math is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math. It is located on the banks of river Ganga (Hooghly) in Howrah district. It is hardly one hour drive from Kolkata city, the capital city of West Bengal state of India.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa was a powerful Hindu Guru who lived in the 19th century CE. In fact it is difficult to find a person in India who wouldn't have heard about Ramakrishna and his extraordinary disciple Vivekananda. Ramakrishna Math was started by Swamy Vivekanda in the memory of his Guru Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna Math, which has its branches all over India, has its headquarters in Howrah which is called as Belur Math.

When you visit Belur Math during an early morning or evening, you would wonder if you had come to heaven. The math which is spread over around 40 acres on the banks of Hooghly river is such a serene and peaceful location. There are people who reach the math by passing the river on boats, which probably gives them more peaceful experience.

The main attraction of the huge complex is the sacred temple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa where the sacred relics of Swamiji is kept. The temple is very big and architecturally great. A marble idol of Ramakrishna is placed inside the temple. The temple was built in 1938 CE.

Besides this main temple, the old temple is there where some photographs of Swamy Vivekanda and Ramakrishna are found. The site where Swamy Vivekanda spent his last few days has a lot of objects used by him. The temple where Swamy Vivekanda's sacred relics are kept and the temple where Sarada Devi's sacred relics are kept are also found within the compound of Belur Math.

There are samadhis (tombs) of various Gurus of Ramakrishna math. The bilva tree where Swamy Vivekananda used to regularly sit is still maintained. There is a small temple for Brahmananda where his sacred relics are kept.

Whichever place you visit or miss in Kolkata, it doesn't matter. But Belur Math is a place which you should never miss. When you get a chance to go to Kolkata ensure that you visit at least this great peaceful site.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Belur Math
Site Type: Hindu Math; Temple; Tombs of divine people; Ashram
Location:  Belur in Howrah District, Near Kolkata city, West Bengal state, India 
Highlights: The head quarters of Ramakrishna mission and math; the temples built on the site where the sacred relics of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Sarada Devi are kept

Nearest Railway Station: Kolkata - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Kolkata has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable from Kolkata
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Kolkata
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Kolkata city

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