How can I reside in Bengal and not visit some of the most fundamental iconic places associated with perhaps the best-known saint of the 19th century? I am referring to Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Born to an impoverished family in the year 1836 near a small town of Kolkata. He went on to dwelve on the path of Emotional Shakta Bhakti towards Maa Kali. This post talks about my journey to his place of birth Kamarpukur and Jayrambati. Jayrambati was the birthplace of Maa Sarada.A post on day trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati.
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Going back in History- trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati
In his later years, Shri Ramakrishna went on the train a few youths. Foremost of them was called Narendranath who later on came to be known as Swami Vivekananda. Based on his teachings and greatly influenced by him, Swami Vivekananda and his brother monks founded the Ramakrishna Order. I have had the good fortune of visiting a few of the mission branches across India.
Maa Sarada Devi, Holy Mother
Maa Sarada was the spiritual partner of Ramakrishna. They both lived immaculate lives which I feel can never ever be replicated anymore. The vision and teachings of both Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Maa Sarada continue to be the guiding principles for millions of individuals and also of Ramakrishna Math.
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Day trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati
So it was one winter morning when I decided to pay a visit to Kamarpukur. The pandemic was still ON however travel restrictions had eased up. I decided to follow all the distancing norms and venture out to see place of birth of Sri Ramkrishna as well as Maa Sarada.
Rural Bengal is a sight to see. Especially in the months leading up from the monsoons right to the onset of the next summer season. The visitor is treated to a delightful bouquet of idyllic villages clustered around small ponds with small narrow paths leading to wide-open fields. The land of Bengal is rich and fertile, and this is reflected in the warmth of the entire landscape.
So in this context i would recommend you to browse my journey to day trips/ weekend destinations to Baranti, Purbasthali , Bishnupur and Gongoni. There is so much to see in this state much similar to like the Northern Karnataka architectural circuit of Hampi and Badami.
Forget the urban cities, its cacophony of restlessness and deadlines. Out here LIFE is slow and breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity. There is nothing exotic, but then there is everything one can ask for in the frame. A trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati is the perfect antidote to restlessness and anxiety.
Towards Karmarpukur- trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati
After travelling around 100 plus km through the National and State Highways, I found myself in the scenic settlement of Kamarpukur, the birthplace of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Everything about the place is rustic and warm, right from the fields all around to the numerous ponds where children and ducks were playing in amicable companionship. The shed where Shri Ramakrishna was born is one of the most sought after place to see and is managed by the Ramakrishna Mission, Kamarpukur.
What did I see in Kamarpukur
Trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati, is filled with looking back into the history Well to start with, Kamarpukur carries the village charm till date; hence it is advisable to hire a local autorickshaw which in the local parlance is called as toto to travel all over the place. The advantage is that one gets the experience of the local who is more than happy to show as well as talk about exciting anecdotes relating to the place.
Amur Vishalakshmi Temple.
To start the trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati, i visited Vishalakshmi Temple. This temple is highly revered by the local villagers and is located near the town of Amur. The setting is totally idyllic, and I would seriously recommend a visit to this place. Local folklore says that the Goddess resides under the open sky in the field.
The villagers build an ordinary leafy shed to protect the shrine from rain and sun. It is said that the Goddess herself used to demolish any brick-built temple built. Sri Ramakrishna used to visit this temple as a child and used to sing hymns in praise of the Goddess.
Sithanath Pyne House
There used to the family of Sithanath in whose house Shri Ramakrishna used to play as a child. Once villagers gathered in the house premises to perform a play on life of Shiva. However, perchance the task of playing Shiva fell upon Shri Ramakrishna, who was a small child back then. As soon as he came on the stage with all costume and matted hair, he went into a trance which lasted very long. Then the villagers understood that he was no ordinary boy and was prone to becoming spiritual in this life.
One can visit the house of Pyne and have a look at the stage where the performance was enacted and also the spot where Shri Ramakrishna went into a deep trance. It is a visit which does not have any spectacular view to see or profound religious sentiments however what one sees is the simplistic glory of Shri Ramakrishna and an insight int the life of one of the most important saints fo the 19th century.
Primary School of Lahas and Vishnu Temple
One can see the temple of the Lahas ( a family-based in Kamarpukur ) which pays homage to Lord Vishnu as well as the primary school where Shri Ramakrishna used to study at the age of 5. I particularly like the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and also the external courtyard where images have been painted/sculpted, which depict the scenes from the life of Shri Ramakrishna.
Particular to note is also the various paintings which depict how kamarpukur was in the early 19th century and certain specific instances of places as well as from the life of Shri Ramakrishna and Maa Sharada. As this was during the Durga puja that I visited, hence was also lucky to see the Durga Puja Pandal from the house of the Lahas.
The above places which i am mentioning are indeed worthy of a visit as a part of the trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati. Dont expect something spectacular , instead just slide into the frame of a simplistic setting.
Temple of Gopeswar Shiva
This is a small temple that I visited which stands in the middle of the village dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple legend states that seeing the way Shri Ramakrishna used to go into a trance, his worried mother practised severe penance out here to ensure the safety and well being of her child.
Ramakrishna Math , Kamarpukur
At the birthplace of Shri Ramakrishna which I spoke about earlier, managed by Ramakrishna Math, one can see the hut where he was born as well as pay homage to Shri Raghubir temple in the same premises. All the belongings of the hut have been preserved. In fact, Maa Sarada stayed in this hut for a long time after the passing away of Shri Ramakrishna.
There are, in fact, a few more places to see, but I was happy to have seen the above in a leisurely manner, thus fulfilling a long-cherished dream to visiting the birthplace of Shri Ramakrishna. From here I turned onward towards Jayrambati, the birthplace of Maa Sarada.
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Jayrambati- trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati
In continuation of my trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati, i turned the truck ( my RIDE ) towards Jayrambati. As i travelleed the short distance on the narrow clean road , i could not help but feel good about what i had just seen and how lucky i was to be able to witness a part of immortal history.
Jayrambati, in the district of Bankura, is the birthplace of Holy Mother Sharada Devi. It is about 5km from Kamarpukur. This place is full of sweet memories of the holy mother and of the Master. I feel true that the site was auspicious to have been witness to the worldly births of two great spiritual beings, Holy Mother as well as Holy Master himself.
I would take this space to recite something about Holy Mother. Even though the marriage between Master and Holy mother took place when she was very young. Yet it was only when she attained the age of 16 that she went to Dakhineswar to stay with Shri Ramakrishna( read my thoughts on Dakhineswar) . Out there, the Holy Master posed this question whether she had come to pull him down to worldly life. Without hesitation she said, “ No, I am here to help you to realize your chosen ideal “. From then on, Holy Mother lived with Shri Ramakrishna as his spiritual companion., devoted wife, disciple and always the nun. She was the embodiment of Purity.
Holy mother was Humility itself. She claimed that she was in no way different from other devotees of the Master. Her disciples felt awed and uplifted when she blessed them by touching their head with the same hand, which had touched the feet of God.
To visit a place which was witnessed the birth of such a spiritual being was indeed fortunate. I do consider that for circumstances ensured that where I can fulfil these deep-felt desires of mine
So what did I see in Jayrambati
Mayer Bathing Ghat
The tank known as Mayer Dighi is the primary source of irrigation for the village of Jayrambati. It is also the place where the devotees of the Holy Mother take a dip before visiting the temple. It is said that this was the place where Holy Mother used for bathing. There is nothing spectacular out here, but then the vibes of this place were outstanding.
It is said that when Holy Mother fell seriously ill, she went on a fast out here. The Goddess Durga in the form of Simavahani appeared before her . Holy mother after that took some amount of earth from the site where the Goddess had appeared and distributed it to her close companions.
As the news spread about this temple, the local villagers started praying to Goddess Simavahani. This temple is prominent in this region and sees a large number of devotees who visit Jayrambati
The temple erected strictly at the birth location of Shri Sharada Devi in the year 1923. The holy mother resided here till the age of 9. This is also the place where she married Shri Ramakrishna.
The vibes of peace and well being are something to be experienced. There is something in the air itself which grazed my senses as I wandered through the premises of the temple. As I type, I feel myself transported back to that afternoon when I found myself in Jayrambati, the birthplace of Sharada Devi.
Afterthought- trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati
There are a few more places to visit, but I was happy to see the above mentioned in a single day. It was time to return back to Kolkata. I will definitely go and stay here for a few days sometime next year. Experience this precious pure vibe to cleanse the aura within.
I would definitely recommend a trip to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati. These call out to us to visit them not from the point of view of tourism rather to understand the greatness of individuals who came up from within us. How their mark is still felt among the thousands of individuals all over the globe even to this day.
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