It touches, it connects, it inspires: Dakhineswar Temple

Dakhineswar Temple
The source of strength for many-Dakhineswar temple
Dakhineswar Temple
Dakhineswar Temple

Dakhineswar is very special for me. I gain strength when I go there. I lose myself in the sublime surroundings, the river, the temple bells, the parikrama of the Shiva temples all leave me spellbound and even after I have visited the place umpteen times, there is something new to discover every time. What is there in that place that pulls me I have no clue. It is not that I go there often. In fact, it has been two years since I last visited the place and I know when the call will be, I will go again. It is all destined, even your visit and with whom you will go or you will go there alone. I have sometimes found strangers for company, like once I met a Colonel who had come to Kolkata from Delhi and I met this person on the train. Interestingly after that I never met him. Law of coincidence may be, who knows.

Entrance of Dakhineswar Temple
Entrance of Temple

I remember once I had the urge to go and visit Dakhineswar in the month of May. I reached the station to board the train, missed it, took a bus and reached the temple late. The gates were about to be closed and hardly 20-25 minutes were left. That was enough time on a normal day, but not on a hot summer day. The temple complex has stones for flooring and they had become hot, and you have to  walk barefoot to reach the main shrine. It was like I was walking on a fire. But such is the atmosphere there that you won’t mind it.I walked on that and returned and strangely enough nothing happened to my feet. I expected some sores at least but I was fine. I guess when you have faith in something then miracles do happen.

Dakhineswar Temple - Go on a boat ride and reach Belur Math on the other side of the river
Enjoy boat rides in these boats

Dakhineswar temple was established in 1847 by Rani Rasmoniand, it is said that the occasion was a lavish one where Brahmins from far flung places came. There is a different connect to this temple as Sri Ramakrishna, the renowned spiritual personality had the darshan of the Goddess Kali here. He stayed in the temple complex, and the room is now transformed into a museum. In the temple complex you will find twelve temples of Lord Shiva, with different names like Baleshwar, Tarakeswar, Gupteswar, Siddheswar, Sarveswar and others. There is also a temple of Radha and Krishna. The temple is open from 6 am to 12.30 pm and from 3.30 pm to 9.30 pm. If you want to go by train then you have to catch the Dankuni local from Sealdah station at Kolkata. You can also go by bus as there are numerous ones now or hire a cab, if you have to travel by train then get the train timings beforehand.

Dakhineswar Temple - Scenes during boat ride
Scenes like this will mesmerise you during the boat ride

You can do the puja and don’t forget to have a breakfast of hot Kachori and ghugni topped with jalebi once you have done the puja. After this more excitement is in store. Go on a boat ride and reach Belur Math on the other side of the river. The boat ride will surely transport you to a different world and yes the Hugli river is vast here. If you want to know what peace is all about then you have to come to Belur math and meditate. The peaceful and serene surroundings will win your heart.  It is the international headquarter of the Ramakrishna Mission established by Swami Vivekananda in reverence of his teacher, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who preached the unity of all religions. You can be a part of the Sandhya arati here. It is a thing to experience. What is really interesting is that here at Dakhineswar and Belur Math those who believe in God or those who don’t both go. For some it is pilgrimage, for others an enjoyable trip.

For more related information, you may refer to the following:

About Dakshineswar Temple

Dakshineswar Map

About Kolkata

Religious places in Kolkata

Places to see in Kolkata