I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!
B for Belūr Mutt
A long bus ride takes us to the banks of the river Hooghly. Merely an hour and a half away from the buzzing metropolis of Kolkata, we find ourselves before an imposing gate of an institution that forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Vedanta Movement. A place where Swami Vivekananda once lived and worked. Nobody makes any distinctions here on the basis of creed, caste, race or nationality. We’ve arrived at the Belūr Mutt.
To the rest of the world, a place of great historical significance. The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. For us, a testimony to a friendship that has stood the test of time.
The Mutt, supremely serene, is spread over 40 acres and includes temples, shrines and a museum dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his life.
This is a trip that Jay and I made years ago when we were students. We were meeting after two years and since we had just one day in hand, between his arrival at and my departure from Kolkata, we decided to meet up somewhere other than a regular coffee shop to catch up…that some place “interesting” happened to be Belur!
The place is extremely well-maintained by the monks who live and work here. One can’t help but notice the beautiful green lawns and lush growth of trees that enhances the spiritual ambience of the place.
Sitting by the banks, spending the best part of the afternoon catching up on everything since our last meeting, with him doodling on a sketchpad while I made my diary entry, watching the busy ferries as they carried people to the other end of the river. Right across the Hooghly, is the iconic Dakshineshwar Temple – the sight made for a very picturesque view. Not surprising that a few boys and girls carrying rolls of drawing sheets, probably from some art college, came along in small groups to settle themselves, looking for places from where they could get the best views with the least obstructions.
The memory of that afternoon has remained frozen in time. The best part of those wonderful years was the sense of optimism and possibility in the air! (Don’t we all wish to remain 19 all our lives?!) It was such great fun absorbing the ambience, as the crowd came and went by, in a never-ending stream. We left, hoping to be back another day.
Little did we know then, that we were destined to come here again…that our lives were bound together. But I’ll keep that story for another day!
Have been to this place, looks so serene (and indeed is).
It is, Alok! The peace and the calm add to its’ beauty…!
What a beautiful looking place, and I enjoyed reading your memories from there
Thanks Debbie, so glad you liked it! It is a place that I’m very attached to…brings me a lot of peace and calm spending time over there! Memories just make it a little more special, i guess 🙂
That makes for an amazing love story, isn’t it? Don’t we all wish to remain 19 all our lives?!..Great line.
My earliest trysts with spirituality began with the readings of Swami Vivekanand’s works but I never came to know about Belur Mutt. Thank you for writing about this place. After reading the last lines I think I would like to know more about the story which started long ago at the age of 19 at the ghats 🙂
West Bengal is one place I need to explore much more. Have only been to Siliguri, Kalimpong and Darjeeling.
Have heard so much about this place. Looks so serene and welcoming. The panoramic view of Dakshineshwar Temple is simply stunning!
Thank you Shilpa! Belur and Dakshineshwar are well worth a visit if you’re ever visiting Kolkata any time!
The pictures loos so serene.. I visited Kolkata last year for a wedding but couldn’t explore much things due to the functions scheduled.. but reading this post, I’m sure I’ll visit again for sure 🙂
I know how busy things can get, during weddings…Having said that, you must visit this place next time Geets! There’s a lot to see around in Kol but time permitting, of course. 🙂
Gorgeous place and I’m glad you shared about the mutt. I can’t deny but I have not heard of the place. Or may be I have forgotten but I’m sure for people who love peace, this is heaven.
Thanks, Parul! You know, I was so taken in by the ambience and the peace, that I had once set my mind to join the order and stay here forever! People usually visit Dakshineshwar and Belur together. Do visit Belur when you happen to be in Kolkata next!
What a soulful travelogue this was! I have heard of this lovely place, but seeing the pics for the first time. Your posts induce a sense of calm and serenity Esha….that is so welcome!
Thanks Kala, so good to know you liked it! These are all places where there is a special connect because of somebody or something that is an integral part of me or my relationships! Glad to have you here…I hope you like my forthcoming posts too!Hopping over to yours now!
Thanks for the wonderful visit to Belur Mutt. Ever since I interviewed Dr. Mithu Alur, I wondered what this place was that so inspired her to be empathetic to others
Happy to share 🙂 Actually, there is something that is very fulfilling to the soul when you step into the Mutt complex, that’s how I felt! Beyond what you get to see is a feeling that stays with you. Please do visit Belur if you happen to visit Kol any time!
the panoramic view looks stunning. This is a favourite place of one of my friends and she keeps telling me about it. I should visit it sometime.
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Thanks Raj! One could spend hours sitting by the ghats and watching the scenes unfold…so much to take in from that peaceful ambience!
That was beautiful, Esha! You just instilled so much of soul in what started off as a travelogue and made it a heart-warming story to be cherished. I am waiting for the rest of the story, though 🙂
Thank you so much, Maliny! Its true…Belur will always be a very special part of my life…one that I carry within my soul even today, although miles away from that beautiful serene place! Do visit if you ever happen to be in Kolkata. You will definitely love it, I can assure! The story, well…it will come to you in bite-sized chunks 😀