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Anupriya Bedi Apr 29 2014

Which are the places to see in and around Kamarpukur?

Reet Cheema Apr 29 2014
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Kamarpukur is a small village situated in West Bengal. If you are planning a visit from Delhi, then you will have to catch a New Delhi to Kolkata flight and then change your mode of transport to a Kolkata to Kamarpukur cab which will take about a two hour drive. Sri Ramakrishna was born on February 18, 1836 in Kamarpukur, and his life and memories are closely intertwined with this serene village. Young Gadadhar, as Sri Ramakrishna was called, was uninterested in formal studies but he enjoyed singing devotional songs, reciting verses from the epics or holy books and praying in the temples. He worshipped the idols he crafted to perfection and adored his family deity Raghuvira. His melodious voice endeared him to the local zamindars, the Lahas. When Rani Rashmoni built a temple at Dakshineshwar, she asked Gadadhar to serve as a priest there. His ecstatic worship of Kali often led to rumours that he had gone ‘mad’, and his family endured very troubled times as a consequence. His parents hoped that his marriage to young Sarada Devi would make him aware of his worldly responsibilities. Instead, in time, it was the world that turned to the couple for spiritual solace.

Photo of Ramkrishna Hut at Kamarpukur (by Alan Perry)

The teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada Devi (and those of their disciple Swami Vivekananda) are based on Vedanta, the philosophy that emerged from the Vedas. It gives full freedom to each individual to evolve morally and spiritually according to his or her own faith and conviction. The sites of interest in Kamarpukur are both within and outside the Kamarpukur Math premises.

Sites within Kamarpukur Math

Within just about half an acre, in a close cluster, is a world of possibilities, every one of them beautiful. To the right of the entrance gate is a mango tree you cannot miss. Sri Ramakrishna planted it 150 years ago, and it still bears fruit. There could not be a more evocative reminder of the saint’s continued ability to touch and transform lives. Villagers love to narrate how Ma Sarada Devi would protest because the branches fell upon the hut in which they were living, and threatened her husband that she would have the tree chopped!

The Sri Ramakrishna Temple, designed with uncluttered, flowing lines by the famous Bengali artist, Nandalal Bose, is as meditative in its appearance as its purpose. It was built in 1951 and has been painted in soft ochre. The temple has a white marble statue of the bearded saint. Flowers of different hues line the altar bereft of any other puja accessories. Adjoining the temple is an open porch that links the shrine to an airy hall with large windows, where people quietly sit and pray. The sides of the temple floor are painted with white floral alpana, a decorative art of Bengal. The altar is said to mark the spot of Sri Ramakrishna’s birth.

Adjacent to it is Sri Ramakrishna’s house. Its simplicity is striking: a hut with an open verandah and a thatched roof. Ma Sarada Devi continued to live here after Sri Ramakrishna’s passing, despite dire financial difficulties. From here, the Holy Mother used to walk to the jungles to bathe in the Haldapukur Tank, a huge body of tranquil water, now across the road. The living room, next to the mango tree, is where Sri Ramakrishna met his disciples. Most of Sri Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada Devi’s personal belongings are now kept in the museum in Belur Math. Spend a while at the new Raghuvira Temple to Ram, the family deity, built on the same spot and in accordance with the same dimensions as the temple that stood here before. It is said Sri Ramakrishna found the saligram worshipped at this shrine in the fields nearby.

Sites outside Kamarpukur Math

Across the main road, to the north, is the Yogi Shiva Temple, where a divine light from the ascetic lord is said to have overpowered Sri Ramakrishna’s mother. Behind the temple is the sacred Haldarpukur, whose rippling waters seem to reflect the enthusiasm of those who come here. This is the tank where Sri Ramakrishna, as a boy, and later Ma Sarada Devi, used to bathe. It has been recently renovated and two bathing ghats have been paved.

A few metres outside the Kamarpukur Math’s entrance gates are the crumbling remnants of the grand residence and three temples of the Lahas, zamindars closely linked to Sri Ramakrishna’s family. The ancient Gopeshwar and Mukundapur are both temples to Shiva, where Sri Ramakrishna’s mother prayed for him. Close by is the Dhani Kamarini Temple, named after the blacksmith who took care of Ramakrishna in his childhood. When Sri Ramakrishna’s mother heard rumours that her son had gone ‘mad’ as a priest in Dakshineshwar, she fasted in these local temples for his recovery. At Mukundapur, she is believed to have heard a divine voice assuring her of her son’s divinity and, since then, people flock to the temples to have their prayers fulfilled.

At the two cremation grounds, Budhui and Bhutir-khal, to be seen on either side of the road as one approaches Kamarpukur, Sri Ramakrishna spent time in contemplation. The bel or bilva tree that he planted here still stands tall. These grounds remind visitors of the transient nature of material desires in life.

While in Kamarpukur

Do visit the famous Garh Mandaran (about 8 km south-east of Kamarpukur), the grand old fort built by Hussain Shah, the king of Gaur (the ancient name of Bengal). People of all faiths pay their respects at the Dargah of Ismail Guji here. There is also a deer park and a small lake with boating facility within the fort complex (complex entry fee: Rs 10). Migratory birds flock to the region in winter, and can be seen by the banks of River Damodar, just a kilometre away from the math gates. Set amidst open fields in Anur Village (2 km south of Kamarpukur) is a popular shrine to Goddess Visalakshi.

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