I and Hubby had gone to Kolkata in December 2010. During our stay there, we went on two trips – a one day trip in Kolkata only and a 3 day trip to Digha beach which is the most popular weekend destination for Calcuttans.
The one day trip in Kolkata was to Dakshineswar – Aadyapeeth – Belur Math; some of the holy places of West Bengal. we (In laws and us) left for Dakshineswar in the hired car in early morning. It is advisable to reach there as early as possible otherwise the queue just keeps getting longer and the “darshan” time shorter. Dakshineswar is famous for its Kali temple built on the bank of river Hooghly by Rani Rashmoni in 1855.
The temple compound, apart from the nine-spired main temple, has a large courtyard surrounding the temple, with rooms along the boundary walls. There are twelve shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva along the riverfront, a temple to Radha-Krishna, a bathing ghat on the river, a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. The chamber in the northwestern corner just beyond the last of the Shiva temples, is where Sri Ramakrishna spent a considerable part of his life.
There are shops selling garlands and other offerings for worship. Also there are shops selling various souvenirs and a paid place to keep shoes. We gave offerings of sweets,flowers, 5 types of fruits and a pair of “pola” along with sindoor.
From there we went to Adyapeeth which is near Dakshineswar.
Adyapeeth was founded by Sri Anand Thakur in 1915 after he had an unusual dream. Devoted to Adya Maa ( a form of Maa Kali) the statue of the deity was chipped out of a black stone.
One can not see the diety directly. There is a separate big hall right in front of the doors of the main temple and people can sit there to watch the “aarti”. But the problem with that place is the timing. The doors are open just for an hour or so during the day which is quite frustrating. (This whole concept of closing of temple doors and the gods/goddesses having sleeping/resting time etc is quite aggravating but I will save that for some other time some other post)
Then we went to Belur Math. One can go to Belur Math via ferry across the river Hooghly from Dakshineswar Ghat. It takes only 20-30 mins that way. Since we were in car we had to go via Nivedita Setu.
We managed to reach Belur Math in time before it closed for the afternoon. The cleanliness and the serenity of the place was wonderful. One can sit on the grounds adjoining the bank of river Hooghly and enjoy the breeze while watching boats go by. There is a museum too in the premises containing articles and artifacts connected to Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
Belūr Maṭh is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. A full size statue of Sri Ramakrishna is seated on a hundred petalled lotus over a “damaru” shaped marble pedestal wherein the sacred relics of Sri Ramakrishna are preserved.
After spending some time relaxing at Belur Math, we ended our “Holy Day” trip and headed to few relatives’ places on our way back home. One more very important holy place of Kolkata is the Kalighat Temple. But that is like on one end (south) and all these places on other (north) of Kolkata. So maybe next time!!!