Bharat Virasat-Belur Math, Calcutta

Belur Math, Calcutta



The Belur Math complex, situated on the banks of the Ganges in a suburb of Kolkata (Belur) is the world-wide head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The Ramakrishna Temple iis the central shrine of the complex, and houses the relics of Sri Ramakrishna. It was Swami Vivekananda’s desire that the Ramakrishna Temple should embody the salient features of major temple architecture of different religious beliefs so that everyone who comes to this temple would feel at home and realise the underlying principle of the universal brotherhood and religion propounded by Sri Ramakrishna.

The temple of Sri Ramakrishna is built in sandstone with parts of it in concrete. The temple stands on a platform about 1.75m high.
The Ramakrishna temple was designed by M/s. Martin Burn and Company, the then famous architect builders of Calcutta. The architecture draws inspiration from several different styles - from the gopurams of south Indian temples, to the curved roofs of the Vishnupur temples, to the chhatris commonly associated with palaces in Rajasthan, to the horse-shoe shaped arch seen in Buddhist and Jain cave temples near Nashik. The central pavilion has three scalloped arches on the top, which complement the large main arch below which, in turn, is complementary to the entrance door with its horse–shoe arch below. The horse–shoe arch supported on the double pilaster at each end, shows a scroll ending, which is inspired by the gateways of the Sanchi Stupa.

The wide nave, narrow aisles, windows alternating with niches and the Garbha Mandira attached to the Nat Mandira in a continuous space are modelled on Christian churches, especially in plan. However, the vaulted roof of the nave of congregational hall is inspired by the Chaitya at Karle where rows of wooden arches raised from column capitals allow a play of light and shadow.

A series of 'Navagraha' panels are seen above the arched doorways surrounding the sanctum - three on the east, three on the north, and three on the west.

The interior features a long row of single pillars, interrupted by a set of double pillars on both sides of the side entrance, complementing the entrance. The pillars have a tall base, an octagonal shaft and richly ornamented capital. The capital reminds one of the Orissa style with foliage in a replica of decorative pot and bells hanging down the sides. The beam above is supported by decorative brackets which remind one of the brackets in South Indian temples. The projected balcony supported from the beams by brackets with the pillars below are similar to those at palaces of Fatehpur Sikri. The white marble statue of Sri Ramakrishna at the far end of the corridor is sculpted by Sri Gopeswar Pal, is placed on a beautifully carved fully blossomed lotus set on a decorated drum (damaru) shaped marble platform designed by Sri Nandalal Bose.

The foundation stone was laid on March 13th, 1929 (Shri Ramakrishna's birthday). A second foundation stone was laid on 16th July, 1935 at the present site of the temple, and was consecrated on 14th Jan, 1938 (Makar Sankranti).

There are memorial temples built for Swami Brahmananda, Sarada ma, and Swami Vivekananda a little to the south of, and along the bank of Hooghly on the east.

Opening hours of the temple are from 6.30am to 11.30 am in the morning, and then again from 4 pm to 9 pm in the afternoon and evening.

Constructed in:

20th century CE


31 m


24m x 61m

Local Language(s):

Bengali, English