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Timings : 6:00 A.M - 11:30; 4:00 P.M - 7:00 P.M

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Swami Vivekananda Temple, Howrah Overview

Swami Vivekananda Temple, situated inside the premises of Belur Math, is a famous pilgrimage destination for tourists from all around the globe. Situated on the banks of Hoogly River, the temple presents a glimpse of irresistible beauty with its fine blend of different architectural styles. The temple echoes the principles of Swami Vivekananda, prominent among them being a religious fraternity. Thus, the place is visited by people from diverse religious backgrounds to imbibe serenity and sacredness enveloping the temple.

Commemorating the shrine of Swami Vivekananda, the temple is surrounded by picturesque green scenery that adds on to the calmness of the surroundings. Visitors coming to the temple are expected to sit, meditate and connect spiritually to the almighty. There is also a museum and several other temples, dedicated to Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and his disciples, present inside the math complex that are worth visiting.

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History and Religious Importance

Swami Vivekananda witnessed architectural diversity of India during his visits to monuments like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, forts of Rajasthan, ancient temples of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and other places. He came across buildings of the architectural importance of Modern, Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance styles while taking a tour to Europe and America. It is thus referred that he applied all these ideas while preparing the architectural design of the Math. His fellow disciple of Swami Ramakrishna, Swami  Vijnanananda, designed the Math according to the ideas envisioned by Swami Vivekananda.

The construction of Math was trusted into the hands of Martin Burn & Co. after the foundation of Math was laid down by Swami Shivananda, the then president of Ramakrishna Mission. The Swami Vivekananda Temple was later consecrated on 28 January 1924, on the spot where his mortal remains were cremated in 1902.  Beside the temple stands a Bel tree on the place of the original Bel tree under which Swami Vivekananda used to sit and meditate which attributes further piety and sanctity to the temple.

Rituals at the Temple

1. A ritualistic food offering takes place every day at
    April to September: 8:30 P.M
    October to March: 8:00 P.M
2. A life-infusing Sandhya Aarti takes place at 5:30 P.M every day in the main temple of Shri Ramakrishna and a bell is rung to indicate the same. The aarti stands distinguished from that of other places of worship as it mainly includes meditation.
3. Bhog is offered every day at 11:30 A.M. which has to be booked there through coupons.
4. The Math also celebrates annual birthdays of Swami Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sarada Devi and other monastic disciples. The annual celebrations of Kumari Puja and Durga Puja are one of the main attractions.

Architecture of the Temple

Belur Math is regarded as the fine amalgamation of architecture, of which Swami Vivekananda Temple is a part. It is designed by Swami Vivekananda, the great disciple of Swami Ramakrishna, who is known as the bearer of religious reforms in India. Representing the idea of Universal faith, the Math stands as one of the unique architectural examples in India.

The architecture of the temple and the Math as a whole reflects the hints of architectural designs of different faiths. On the one hand, the mighty entrance of the Math had been modelled on the high temple entrances of South India depicting Buddhist style. While on the other, the central dome of the temple portrays likeness to the Renaissance period’s European architecture. The exteriors of walls are given a lively look with its elaborate carved celestial figurines, based on Ajanta styled architecture. Apart from that, the windows and balconies inside the temple are inspired by the architectural combination of Rajput and Mughal style.

Spreading over the area of 32,900 sq ft, the height of the temple is 112.5 feet (34.3 m). Chunar stone is used in building the most of the temple.

The temple is not only the portrayal of different kinds of architectures but also exhibits different religious faiths in its carvings and resembles a temple, a mosque, a church if analysed deeply. It provides visitors with an insight into the theme of universality in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.

Dress Code

No particular dress code is assigned. However, it will be advisable to wear light coloured, comfortable and sophisticated clothes keeping in mind the holiness and the serenity of the place.

Other Attractions Nearby

The premises of Belur Math, that houses Swami Vivekananda Temple, also has some of the ancient temples dedicated to Swami Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and his other disciples. Math is the international headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and has affiliated educational, medical institutions running across the world.  It also has Ramakrishna Museum exhibiting things used by Shri Ramakrishna and his disciples. The place attracts history lovers from all over the world.

Additional tips for Visitors

1.     Public and private vehicles cannot enter the main premises.
2.     Photography is strictly prohibited.
3.     Make sure to deposit your shoes, sandals etc. on the counter assigned especially for them and is advisable not to leave them anywhere else.
4.     One can also visit the bookstore situated inside the premises, selling literature related to Swami Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda in almost all Indian languages, in order to get more information about the temple and Ramakrishna Mission.

How To Reach Swami Vivekananda Temple

The holy Swami Vivekananda Temple is situated inside the premises of Belur Math. The nearest railway station to Belur math is Howrah junction. It is about 6.8 Kms from the Math and it takes approximately 24 minutes to reach here via Grand Trunk Road.

The place is easily reachable via local trains and buses. Bus no. 54 goes from Howrah to Math regularly. One can hail bus, auto or taxi from outside the Howrah junction or bus stand which conveniently drops you off at the entrance of the Math. A direct ferry is also available from the Howrah junction to the Math. If travelling in private vehicles or cabs, parking facility is available.

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