Belur Math, a wonderfully spiritual place in West Bengal, is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission. Swami Vivekananda, a prominent disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, founded this place.
Situated on the banks of the Hooghly River in Belur, this ‘Math’ or temple attracts thousands of people. People who believe in different religious beliefs from all over the world come to this pilgrimage site to experience the peaceful ambiance. People who do not believe in religion also step into this holy place.
The mesmerizing location and the serene beauty surrounding the Belur Math were dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda, and this is where their remains are enshrined in the Mandirs.
In this article, you will get to know the following points about Belur Math,
So let’s look at these things in detail.
How to reach Belur Math
Belur Math is close to Kolkata and can be easily reached by train, bus, ferry, or car.
There are many local trains available from Howrah Station to reach Belur. It takes around 9 minutes and costs Rs. 5. It is the best option for traveling from Howrah Station to Belur. You can then reach Belur Math after a 20-minute walk from here. Totos and Autos are available from the station and will cost you Rs.15.
Direct buses to Belur Math are available from Howrah and various parts of Kolkata, including Esplanade.
Traveling by Bus from Howrah to Belur Math will cost about Rs. 22 to 35. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get there.
A ferry ghat is situated near Belur Math. You can catch a ferry from BBD Bag, Howrah, or Bag Bazar jerry ghat.
The best way to reach Belur Math by car from Kolkata is by crossing Howrah Bridge and by following the Grand Trunk Road. The distance is about 15 km. Cabs are readily available from Howrah and Kolkata.
Belur Math Timings and Entry Fee
In general, it takes about two hours to explore the premises of Belur Math and to see and experience the beauty of the place.
You can meditate inside the prayer hall of the main temple and spend a few more hours.
There is no entry fee to enter Belur Math. It remains open every day.
Timings of Belur Math
|April – September||6 AM – 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM|
|October – March||6: 30 AM – 11: 30, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM|
Belur Math’s Ramakrishna Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and remains closed on Mondays and some public holidays.
|April – September||8:30 AM – 11:30 AM, 4 PM – 6:00 PM|
|October – March||8:30 AM – 11:30 AM, 4 PM – 5:30 PM|
Evening prayer timings
Belur Math’s evening prayers are very pleasant to watch.
The time for Aarti or evening prayer is 5:30 PM.
During this time, it is forbidden to roam or sit far away from the temple, and a bell is rung so that all the visitors enter the temple or be present near it for Aarti. It is also forecasted on giant screens situated in the complex.
Belur Math Bhog (Prasad)
The Bhog or Prasad of Belur Math is very famous, and I will recommend you try it.
You can make a booking in the morning, preferably around 9:00 AM. Bhog distribution starts at 11:00 AM.
Many people sit together and enjoy the holy Khichuri, Payesh, or other delicious items here.
History of Belur Math
Swami Vivekananda had a lifelong desire to preserve the holy ashes of Ramkrishna. Therefore He decided to enshrine them in a grand and sacred shrine dedicated to his guru, “Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa.”
This was not possible during Swamiji’s lifetime. So he decided to preserve the mortal remains of Sri Ramakrishna and install his idol in the present ‘old temple.’ However, before his demise, Swamiji had planned a massive temple.
Swami Vijnanananda, his brother’s disciple and a qualified civil engineer, drew the plan following his instructions. Swamiji did not survive until the temple’s completion, but he reassured everyone that he would feel happy and satisfied in the heavenly abode.
Swami Shivananda laid the foundation stone for Belur Math on the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna (March 13, 1929). Due to a lack of adequate funds, the construction did not begin immediately.
It started only five years later, with significant contributions from Miss Helen Rubel (also known as Bhakti) and Mrs. Anna Worcester (also known as Annapurna). Through their generosity, these two American devotees have become indispensably linked with the history of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and have won the hearts of all Sri Ramakrishna devotees.
Engineers recommended that the temple be moved about a hundred feet from its original location before initiating the construction. Swami Vijnanananda, the Order’s president, re-laid the foundation on Guru-Purnima, on July 16, 1935.
Shri Ramkrishna’s idol was shifted to the new temple, and indeed it was a ray of hope and joy for the entire community of Shri Ramakrishna’s disciples.
Belur Math Architecture
Belur Math’s architecture is intriguing. Swami Vivekananda conceptualized the temple’s design.
When traveling abroad in America and Europe, he observed various architectural works. Apart from this, Swami Vivekananda was also influenced by the beauty of the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, and temples in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Odisha.
Swami Vivekananda brought the remains of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa here and envisaged a unique temple to house them.
Swami Vijnanananda, who studied civil engineering and later became a monk, served as the building’s architect. He designed the concept art of this temple. Belur Math is now one of the famous sites of international pilgrimage.
Swami Shivananda started the construction of this Ramakrishna Math on May 16, 1935. Martin Byrne & Company completed this massive construction project.
Ramakrishna Mission called this architecture the “Symphony of Architecture.” It was dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna on January 14, 1938, which was Makar Sankranti Day.
Sri Ramakrishna’s Math is made of limestone and concrete with a height of 112.5 feet, and the temple is built over 32,900 square feet.
The architecture of the central dome of the shrine dates back to the European Renaissance, and the temple’s floor resembles the Holy Cross. Hanging balconies and windows are an amalgamation of Mughal Rajasthani architecture.
The Nat Mandir attached to the main temple is similar to St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The entire hall is lined with Greek and Doric pillars.
In addition, statues of Hindu deities such as Hanuman and Ganesha are carved on the pillars of the main door, depicting strength and success.
The Main entrance contains aspects reminiscent of old Indian architecture in its many stages. The pavilions at the top resemble the shapes of the rooftop patterns of the Jodhpur and Udaipur palaces. However, the curvature is more typical in Bengali Shrines.
You will be fascinated to see the exteriors of the side entrances once you circumambulate the temple’s platform. The entry door is similar to the Elephant gateway of Maan Mandira in the Gwalior Fort with two pillars, a pyramidal cantilever, and two side pillars.
Places to stay near Belur Math
You can take any hotel near Belur, Bali, Howrah, or Dakshineshwar. These places are not far from Belur Math.
Toto, bus, and local trains are available from these places. So you can easily reach Belur Math and enjoy the surroundings, River Ganga, Bhog, and Aarti.
You will find peace of mind when you visit Belur Math. This Math always follows the words and thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Ma, and Swami Vivekananda. So no caste or discrimination is seen in this mission or monastery.
Belur Math ranks first in entire India and the world in philanthropy. Not only that, Danchatra, schools, and art colleges have all been opened by the Belur Math organization.
So if you visit Belur Math, then definitely maintain peace. Here, you will find many unknown and new meanings of life.
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