Belur Math

One of the most sacred sites in Kolkata. Must See!

Set very attractively amid palms and manicured lawns, this large religious centre is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, inspired by 19th-century Indian sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who preached the unity of all religions. Its centrepiece is the 1938 Ramakrishna Mandir which somehow manages to look like a cathedral, Indian palace and Istanbul’s Aya Sofya all at the same time. Several smaller shrines near the Hooghly riverbank include the Sri Sarada Devi Temple, entombing the guru’s wife.

Accessed from the car park, a beautifully presented dual-level museumcharts Ramakrishna’s life and the travels of his great disciple Swami Vivekananda.

From the main road outside, six daily suburban trains run Belur Math–Howrah (25 minutes) most usefully at 10.45am and 4.45pm. Picking up next door to Belur Math train station, minibus 11 and buses 54/56 run to Esplanade/Howrah in miserable stop-start traffic. Southbound they pass almost beside Bandaghat from which you might prefer to take the thrice hourly ferry across to Ahiritola, then switch to the Bagbazar boat for Kumartuli. From Belur Jetty, ferries (hourly) and open boats (when full) operate to Dakshineswar. Southbound ferries to Howrah via Bagbazar depart at 6.30pm and 8pm (plus 9.15am/1.30pm weekdays/Sunday).

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