Jayrambati is a quaint village in the Bankura district, popularised as an important pilgrimage point among followers of Sri Ramakrishna for being the place of residence of the Holy Mother Sri Sharada Devi. The village has a certain old-world charm to it and has several small temples all across the village, the most popular one however being the Sri Sri Maitri Mandir devoted to the Holy Mother. The religious aspect of the village is what draws most visitors to the village and is an integral part of the village’s culture. The village has been an integral part and woven itself in the life of the holy mother Sri Sharada Devi, the village has witnessed several milestones in the life of the holy mother and has thus resultantly been an important source of pilgrimage for the ardent followers of Sri Sharada Devi.
Places to Visit
The temple was erected exactly at the birth location of Shri Sharda Devi in the year 1923, the Holy Mother is said to have resided here up to the age of 9 years with her parents, it is also the place where Sri Sharda Devi got married to Sri Ramakrishna. The temple houses a marble idol of Sri Sharada Devi that was established in the year 1923 by Swami Sardananda, who built the temple. The temple has an adjoining prayer hall and a kitchen and a few of the household articles used by the holy mother are now present at the temple as sacred relics to be viewed by the devotees of the holy mother. A Shivaling was also installed in the sanctum sanctorum after it was found deep in the ground while excavating the earth for the construction of the temple. The temple is an important pilgrimage point for the followers of Sri Ramakrishna and is one of the most popular temples in Jayrambati.
Bhanu Pishi House
Bhanu Pishi House near the Maitri Mandir is the ancestral residence of Bhanu Pishi, a close companion of the holy mother who regarded her as an aunt during her younger days. Bhanu Pishi returned to her childhood residence after the demise of her husband and is believed to have seen a four-armed goddess in the holy mother long before she was revered as a spiritual leader. The holy mother also spent some time at Bhanu Pishi House to find peace and solace on being taunted by the villagers about her husband’s mental imbalance. The property is presently managed by the Maitri Mandir.
Nutan Bari was the second home of Sharada Devi, often referred as the new house of the holy mother. It was constructed by Swami Sardananda during the years 1915 to 1916 for accommodating the devotees after seeing a considerable rise in their numbers. The house stands on the western face of the Punya Pukur and was registered in the name of Goddess Jagaddhatri. The house originally had 4 chambers, one of them was the bed chamber which was also used for worshipping Sri Ramakrishna and addressing devotees, at present the room has been converted into a shrine for the holy mother that houses a life size portrait of Sharada Devi. The room adjoining the bed chamber was used as kitchen and the room opposite to it was said to be used by Nalini Didi, niece of the holy mother. The other chamber was used by the holy mother for worshipping Goddess Jagaddhatri and occasionally served as an accommodation for devotees, the room was also used by Swami Sardananda and Swami Subhodhananda during their visits to Jayrambati.
Puratan Bari also referred to as the old house of the holy mother was Sharada Devi’s residence for 52 years from 1863 to 1915. Many devotees received their initiations for Bhamhacharya and Sanyasa from the holy mother at this place and she also worshipped Goddess Jagaddhatri at this place when she resided here. At the time of division of ancestral properties, the house was given to her brother Prasanna Mukhopadhyay, but the holy mother continued to stay with her brother in the same house for a long time before shifting to Nutan Bari. The house was acquired by the authorities of Belur Math from the descendants of Prasanna and is overseen by the Ashram for preservation of the sanctity of the residence.
Telo Belo is a small village between Jayrambati and Tarakeshwar, famous for housing the Dakat Kali (Kali of Dacoits) Temple built by a dacoit named Bhim. It is believed that the holy mother stayed with the dacoit and his wife during her travel to Dakshineshwar to visit her husband, Sharada Devi addressed the dacoit as father and he was so moved by her love and affection that he left the path of robbery and lead a simpler life from that point forward. He later constructed a temple devoted to Goddess Kali because he thought Sharada Devi was an incarnation of the deity.
The tank is one of the primary sources of irrigation for the village and also where the devotees of Sharada Devi take a dip. The tank is also believed to be used by Swami Saradananda, Srimati Yogin Ma and Golap Ma for bathing. The holy mother also spent some time on the shore of the lake cutting grass for the cows.
Village folklore says that decades ago when Sharada Devi was suffering from an acute illness she went on a fast before the temple, the goddess Simhavani appeared before her and her mother Shyamasundari in the form of a blacksmith who advised the holy mother about remedies to cure her disease. After following the blacksmith’s advice, the holy mother was completely cured of her disease, post this the holy mother preserved some amount of earth from the site where the goddess appeared before her, she took the medicines daily and also gave some to her niece Radharani.
When the word spread out about the healing powers of the earthfill people from neighbouring areas flocked the area to acquire the medicinal earth and seek blessings from the goddess. The goddess hence became a popular figure in the region, and with time the temple underwent irreparable damages. The new temple has metallic pitchers that represent the goddess Simhavani and her two companions Chandi and Mahamaya. The temple sees a fair share of devotees throughout the year, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and during the festival of Durga Puja the temple is immersed in grand festivities and the deity is presented with a variety of offerings.
Dharma Thakur Temple
Dharma Thakur is said to be the presiding deity of the village, the Dharma Thakur Temple located at the north-west corner of Punya Pukur is a small mud-walled thatched hut that houses a shrine to Dharma Thakur, who is worshipped under two different names at two different places. In one of the chambers of the temple there is a tortoise shaped form of Lord Sundaranarayana; an Avatar of Dharma Thakur and is one of the two forms of the deity.
Jayrambati Math; also known as the Ramakrishna Mission Sharada Sevashrama Yogashrama hosts an array of cultural and religious festivities throughout the year. The charitable organisation also undertakes several social welfare causes for the weaker and underprivileged sections of the society.
Shihar Shiva Temple
It is believed that this temple was the exact spot where Sharada Devi first expressed her desire to marry Sri Ramakrishna, it is said that someone playfully asked Sharada Devi who she would want to marry during her childhood and she mentioned Sri Ramakrishna’s name and told her friend that she had chosen him as her future husband. The temple was frequented by Ramakrishna and Sharada Devi later on.
Koalpara is a small village located near Jayrambati that is intertwined in the life and journey of the holy mother Sharada Devi. The holy mother rested at the village during her visits to Kolkata via Bishnupur and resided here quite frequently. An Ashram was built here in the year 1909 and Sharada Devi herself installed portraits of Sri Ramakrishna and herself in the Ashram’s shrine, the portraits are worshipped at the Ashram daily. The Ashram also runs a Charitable Homeopathic Dispensary and also conducts activities for the wellness of the community like educational and medical aid. Sharada Devi also occasionally stayed at the Jagdamba Ashram, which is very close to the Koalpara Ashram.
Punya Pukur is a tank made famous because it was used by the holy mother Sri Sharada Devi frequently, the tank lies on the eastern side of the Nutan Bari. The pilgrims usually visit this reservoir to take a bath before visiting the shrines and temples.
Barujjey Pukur is also known as Tal Pukur among the locals because the pool is lined with Palm trees on its periphery, and Tal Pukur translating to Palm lake. The tank is located in the south-eastern corner of the village and very close to Nutan Bari. The holy mother Sharada Devi used to take baths in the tank and also used the water for all her domestic needs.
The ghat on the banks of the rivulet Amodar. Which was regarded as Ganga by Sharada Devi, the rivulet has formed a triangular peninsula that resembles the back of a tortoise dotted with cremation marks. Swami Saradananda meditated under the Amylak tree during his visits to Jayrambati.
Garh Mandaran Fort
The Garh Mandaran Fort is an ancient fort approximately 10 kilometres from Jayrambati. It was built during the Afghan era and has Afghani stylings and influences in its structure. The historical structure is a great place to spend your evenings at.
The quaint religious village has gained popularity for being the residence of Sri Sharada Devi, spiritual partner of the revered sage Sri Ramakrishna. There is a certain air of calmness and divinity that village exudes and has formed an important part in the lives of the followers of Sri Ramakrishna.