Belur Math, Howrah, West Bengal

Date built: 1938
Deity: Ramakrishna Math
Architectural style: Fusion of Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs
Major festivals
Locale: Belur
District::  Howrah
Address:  Belur, Howrah, West Bengal 711202
Phone  03326541144

Beluṛ Maṭh is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Kolkata.[2] This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist art motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. In 2007 Belurmath railway station was also inaugurated which is dedicated to Belurmath temple.

Architecture

Belur Math or Belur Muth is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal. It is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world professing different religious faiths. Even people not interested in religion come here for the peace it exudes. The serene campus of belur math on the Ganga includes temples dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, in which their relics are enshrined, and the main monastery of the Ramakrishna order. The place has been sanctified by the stay of Swami Vivekananda and most of the monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna who spent several years here. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi also visited this place on several occasions. The room in which Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi has been preserved here. The headquarters of the worldwide twin organizations known as Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are also situated here.

Belur math is a place of pilgrimage for people of different religious faiths. This place of religious importance is visited by people from all over India and abroad. The main gate of belur math leads to the Ramkrishna Sarada Mandir. Swami breathed his last breath on 4th July, 1902 at this place. His memorial lies within the Math. His commodities are carefully kept in his room and is displayed to the people. belur math has also provided other things such as an art college, an industrial school and charitable dispensary. belur math is free from bigotry and sectarian rational and is modern in outlook. The Math and the Mission are committed to the task of ushering in a new age in which distinctions of caste, creed and class do not exist.

Legend / Local stories

In January 1897, Swami Vivekananda arrived in Calcutta with his small group of Western disciples. Two monasteries were founded by him, one at Belur, which became the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and the other at Mayavati on the Himalayas, in Champawat District, Uttrakhand, called the Advaita Ashrama.These monasteries were meant to receive and train young men who would eventually become sannyasis of the Ramakrishna Mission, and to give them a training for their work. The same year the philanthropic activity was started and relief of the famine was carried out.

Swami Vivekananda’s days as a parivrajaka (wandering monk) before his visit to Parliament of Religions, took him through many parts of India and he visited several architectural monuments like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri palaces, Diwan–I–Khas, palaces of Rajasthan, ancient temples of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and other places. During his tour in America and Europe, he came across buildings of architectural importance of Modern, Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is reported that Vivekananda incorporated these ideas in the design of the Belur Math temple.

Swami Vijnanananda, a brother-monk of Swami Vivekananda and one of the monastic disciples of Ramakrishna, who was, in his pre-monastic life, a civil engineer, designed the temple according to the ideas of Vivekananda and Swami Shivananda, the then President of Belur Math laid the foundation stone on 16 May 1935. The massive construction was handled by Martin Burn & Co.. The mission proclaims the Belur Math as, “A Symphony in Architecture”.

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