Holy Pilgrimage

It was at Kamarpukur which is adorned with the beauty of nature and ever-greens, that Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna was born. With his advent and on account of the frequent visits of his disciples, this hamlet has become a place of pilgrimage. Thousands of devotees visit it every year from the various parts of the world and get spiritually refreshed and elevated. Pilgrim spots of kamarpukur are given below :-


The Ancestral Home of Sri Ramakrishna

Khudiram Chattopadhyaya, father of Sri Ramakrishna, lived originally in the village of Derepur, two miles to the west of Kamarpukur. Once Ramananda Ray, the oppressive landlord of Derepur village, requested Khudiram to give false evidence in his favour. On his refusal, the landlord filed a false suit against Khudiram and won the case and got possession of the whole of Khudiram's ancestral property (about 50 acres) through auction. At this time of distress, his friend Sukhlal Goswami of Kamarpukur gifted him a few huts of his homestead and also a small plot of paddy field measuring about half an acre which Khudiram gratefully accepted and lived there happily.

Sri Ramakrishna's Living-room

While at Kamarpukur, Sri Ramakrishna used to stay in the south-facing hut situated at the western side of the premises which is presently being used as part of the shrine of Sri Ramakrishna . Once he told the Holy Mother, “After my passing away , you stay at Kamarpukur, grow greens, live upon this simple fare and spend your days in repeating the name of the Lord. Whatever arrangements the devotees might lovingly make for you, don't let your own house at Kamarpukur be ruined". That was why the Holy Mother lived in that hut after the passing away of the Master, despite dire financial and other difficulties.

Temple of Sri Raghuvira

This also was previously a small hut facing east. It had floor and walls of mud and a roof of straw, The present temple has been constructed exactly on the same spot with the same dimensions. In it, the Salagrama Sheela (round stone emblem) of Raghuvira (Rama), the earthen jar representing Goddess Sitala, the Rameswara Sivalinga, an image of Gopala and the Salagrama Sheela of Narayana are worshipped everyday. The last two deities were worshipped by Lakshmi Didi, niece of Sri Ramakrishna.

The Parlour & the Mango Tree

At the Parlour Sri Ramakrishna used to meet people and instruct them. The wooden door leading to the house is still preserved in its old place. The mango tree planted by Sri Ramakrishna stands to the east of the parlour and still yields fruit.

Birth Place

According to English calendar, on Thursday, the 18th February, 1836, (As per the Indian Almanac, Wednesday, Phalguni sukla dwitiya, the second day of the light half of Phalguna) Gadadhar was born 12 minutes before sunrise. At that time there was a shed here, meant for the manual husking-machine. There was by its side an oven also for boiling paddy. Soon after his birth, when mid-wife Dhani, after attending to the mother, searched for the child, he was found missing! He had slipped into the oven and became besmeared with ashes, and still did not make any sound! Needless to say, this indicated his future life of renunciation. Just on the spot of his birth, the altar of the present temple of Sri Ramakrishna has been constructed, and the things connected with his birth, viz. a husking machine, a fireplace and a lamp, have been engraved on it. The marble image of Sri Ramakrishna installed on the 11th May 1951, is since being worshipped there.

Yogi's Shiva Temple

It is situated to the north of the residence of Sri Ramakrishna. In front of the temple his mother had a divine vision. While speaking to Dhani Kamarani, she suddenly saw a beam of celestial light which emerged from the image of Shiva, filled the temple and swiftly entered her body.

Taken by surprise and overpowered with fear, she fell into a swoon. When she regained consciousness, she felt that the light was still in her womb, and that she had conceived. As a result, Sri Ramakrishna was born.

The vast water tank at the northern side of the Yogi's Shiva Temple is known as Haldarpukur. Many sweet memories of the boyhood days of Sri Ramakrishna centre round this tank. On innumerable occasion, Gadadhar came here with his friends and swam sportively there. The water of the tank has become sacred in as much as holy persons like Sri Ramakrishna, his father Khudiram and the Holy Mother used to bathe in it.

Haldar-pukur

The vast water tank at the northern side of the Yogi's Shiva Temple is known as Haldarpukur. Many sweet memories of the boyhood days of Sri Ramakrishna centre round this tank. On innumerable occasion, Gadadhar came here with his friends and swam sportively there. The water of the tank has become sacred in as much as holy persons.

The Primary School of the Lahas

The school was held in the spacious Natmandir in front of Sri Durga Temple of Lahas house. Gadadhar also joined this school at the age of five. In a short time he learnt to read and write, but soon his interest flagged off and he developed a tendency to get merged in ecstatic moods at the sight of beautiful scenery or at the contemplation of particular deities. As it was suspected to be the symptom of a disease, his mother did not allow him to go to the school for long periods. The boy liked the recital of the Puranas and the performance of village dramas more than his school lessons. He had a great dislike for arithmetic. Though he made no appreciable progress in his studies, his handwriting was good. The plays of Subahu and Yogadya which Gadadhar copied are still preserved in the Belur Math.

Temple of Gopeswar Shiva

This ancient temple is situated to the east of Sri Ramakrishna's house. Either Sukhlal Goswami , who helped Khudiram to settle at Kamarpukur , or his forefather Gopilal Goswami had founded this temple with a big Sivalinga. When Sri Ramakrishna was passing through ecstatic moods at Dakshineswar, his mother hearing the report that Gadadhar had turned mad, got alarmed and went to Gopeswar temple, where she practiced hard penances to get the divine grace for the cure of her son. Then she heard a voice directing her to do likewise before the Shiva of Mukundapur. As a result of her penances, she was assured that her prayer would be fulfilled.

Sitanath Pyne's House

Sitanath Pyne was a man of mediocre means. His house was to the south of the Lahas.Gadadhar used to go there often in his boyhood. When about 12 or 13 years old, he used to have ecstatic trances while singing devotional songs, or reading holy books like the Ramayana or the Mahabharata there. The women of the village then worshipped him as the embodiment of Sri Chaitanya or Sri Krishna. Once on the occasion of the Shivaratri, there was an arrangement for the performance of a village drama. As the boy who was to act as Shiva fell suddenly ill, Gadadhar was persuaded to play that role . But as soon as he came to the stage decked with matted locks, Rudraksha beads and ashes, he fell into a deep trance which lasted very long, and the performance had to be stopped.

Durgadas Pyne, a neighbour of Sitanath, was in favour of the system of keeping women always indoors. Even Gadadhar, who was held in great respect by him, was not allowed to enter his house. Gadadhar was extremely opposed to this system as he believed that the morality and integrity of womanhood could be preserved only by good education and religious training and not by this rigorous system of confinement of women within the precincts of ones household. With a view to teaching Durgadas a lesson, one evening Gadadhar dressed like a weaver woman, sought shelter for the night in Durgadas house. Durgadas seeing her helpless condition, permitted her to enter this house. Gadadhar went inside the house and soon picked up all particulars about the family during conversation with the inmates of the household. Durgdas finally understood the tricks played on him by Gadadhar, at first he felt much discomfort but afterwards began to laugh. Since then Gadadhar had free access to his house.

Dhani Kamarani's Birth Place and Temple

It is situated to the south east of the Sri Ramakrishna's house. Recently, a small temple has been built on that site by some devotees and also an oil painting of Dhani with the child Gadadhar in her lap has been placed. In that temple the photo of Sri Ramakrishna is worshipped. Dhani Kamarini, a blacksmith woman, served him in his childhood. Once she got a promise from the boy that at the time of his investiture with the sacred thread he would accept alms from her. But it was contrary to the custom in the Chattopadhyaya family to accept alms from a non-brahmin on such an occasion. So his elder brother Ramkumar objected to it; but Gadadhar was adamant. At last Dharmadas Laha , their father’s friend heard this and said to Ramkumar that though this has not so far been allowed in their family, but had been accepted in many good Brahmin families elsewhere and hence no blame would be attached to those allow that. Besides, that would also satisfy Gadadhar and make him happy. In this way the problem was amicably solved and Gadadhar kept his promise in difference to the affection of Dhani.

Chinu Shankhari's Birth Place

Srinivas (alias Chinu) , though not born in a high family, had great devotion to God. His relations with the boy Gadadhar were very sweet. He had a strong faith that Gadadhar was a divine being, and loved him dearly. He was afraid that he might die before he could witness the unfoldment of his divine play. One day he fed Gadadhar with sweets and prayed for his grace. Even when he grew up, Sri Ramakrishna kept loving Srinivas . After his Sadhana periods, whenever Sri Ramakrishna visited Kamarpukur,Srinivas spent his time with him in religious discourses. Later the master often referred to his deep seated devotion and love. At present nothing exists at the site of Chinu’s house situated to the north-east of the Sri Ramakrishna’s house. The site has recently been maintained by Ramakrishna Math, Kamarpukur.

Mukundapur Shiva Temple

It is situated on the south west of Sri Ramakrishna's Birth Place. On being directed by Gopeswar Shiva, Gadadhar’s mother went to this temple and lay there without food and drink, praying for the recovery of Gadadhar from his supposed madness. She, however, felt comforted when she heard a divine voice saying “don't be afraid,your son is not mad; he has become like this because of divine intoxication.” It is said that from that time onward many people have got their prayers fulfilled by practising such penances before the deity.

Budhui Moral Cremation Ground

To the east of the village of Kamapukur, lies the cremation ground for the burning of the dead. While staying at Kamarpukur, Sri Ramakrishna used to go there now and then and used to spend much of his time in contemplation.

Palace of Manik Raja

Manik Chandra Bandyopadhyaya of Bhursubo village was renowned in the area for his great benevolence, and so he became known as Manik Raja. To the west of Bhutir khal he reared an extensive mango grove Gadadhar and his friends. Now and then they would run away from school, go to this secluded place and engage themselves in performing dramas, which they might have seen earlier. In these, Gadadhar took not only the role of the hero but also directed the performances. Men and women passing by or the peasants engaged in cultivation nearby, were astonished to see, his memory and were also charmed at his skill in acting. It is a matter of regret that this mango grove no longer exists. With the passage of time it has become paddy field, with only a few mango trees standing here and there as a reminiscence of the past. There are many other incidents mentioned in Sri Ramakrishna Lila - Prasanga about the intimacy of Gadadhar with Manik Raja.

Jayrambati

Jayrambati, in the district of Bankura is the birth place of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. It stands at the junction of the district of Bankura and Hooghly, and is about 5 km in the west of Kamarpukur. This birth place of holy mother is full of sweet memories of Sri Ramakrishna. Many a time the Master went there and few days stayed with the simple village folk. Though many took him for a mad man for his God-intoxicated and unconventional mode of living, there were others who looked upon him as a great saint. At the age of twenty three Sri Ramakrishna married six years old Sri Sarada Devi at Jayrambati.

Anur [Idol of Goddess Visalakshi]

The village called Anur is situated about 3 km to the north of Kamarpukur. Goddess Visalakshi of Anur is a very popular deity. The Goddess resides under the open sky in the field. The cultivators build every year an ordinary leafy shed to protect the place from the rain and sun. There is indication that once upon a time there was a brick built temple on the spot, which, the villagers say, were demolished by the Goddess herself.

One day a few ladies of Kamarpukur and its neighbourhood were going in a group to offer worship to Visalakshi when the eight year old Gadadhar also accompanied them. He recited from memory beautiful verses and sang songs about the deities, while walking with them. But as he was singing the glory of Visalakshi, his body became stiff. Tears flowed down his cheeks, and his voice also chocked. The ladies felt helpless and became extremely anxious.Prasanna , the devoted daughter of Dharmadas Laha, was in the party. All on a sudden it occurred to her that it might be due to the mystic influence of the Goddess on the simple hearted child who had great faith in her. When she spoke it out, all other believed it, and in hoping they prayed to the Goddess repeatedly saying, “Oh mother Visalakshi be pleased; save us mother; please look upon us with compassion”. Wonder of wonders! Immediately the face of Gadadhar brightened up with sweet smile and gradually consciousness came back. The ladies felt relieved, and with their heart overflowing with devotion, they went to the temple, offered their worship duly and returned home.

Phului Shambazar

It is a rich village not far from Sihar. Natabar Goswami a devotee of Belte (an adjoining village) once invited Sri Ramakrishna to his house which he complied along with Hriday. He stayed there for a week and was beside himself with joy to hear the soul enthralling Kirtan of the Vaishnavas of Shyambazar.

Kayapath - Badangnj

These twin villages are situated 14 km away from Kamarpukur and 8 km from Jayrambati which bears the memory of advent of Holy Mother along with Sri Ramakrishna Dev and Shyama Sundari Devi at 'Yajneswar' Shiva temple in connection with the treatment of Holy Mother’s spleen.

Sihar

The village of Sihar is about 8 km to the north- west of Kamarpukur and about 3 km to the west of Jayrambati. Hridayram Mukhopadhyaya, a nephew of Sri Ramakrishna was born in this village. Hridyay used to serve him with great joy.

Hriday once worshiped mother Durga in his newly built Chandi Mandap. He wanted Sri Ramakrishna to be present on the occasion. But, as Mathur Babu, the son-in-law of Rani Rasmani who built the Dakshineswar Kali Temple was anxious to keep him at his own house during this worship, Sri Ramakrishna could not comply with the request of Hriday. But he promised to be there in his subtle body. Though others could not see him, Hriday saw the Master everyday during the evening worship and Sandhi-puja.Nowadays only the remnants of the Chandi Mandap exists. The descendants of Hriday still live in the village. In Sihar there was an old temple dedicated to Santinath Shiva. Both Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother visited this temple. Near Shantinath Shiva temple, a branch center of Sarada Math is established on the divine spot where Shyama Sundari Devi, the mother of Holy Mother had a vision of Divine Mother before she came as her daughter.

Sarati Mayapur

It is about 8 km away from Kamarpukur and about 27 km to the east of Arambag. This is the birth place of Sri Ramakrishna's mother Chandrmoni Devi. It is mentioned in the Sri Sri Ramakrishna Punthi that Gadadhar as a child went with his mother in this village.

Bishnupur Universal Temple of Ramakrishna

Bishnupur of Bengal is well known in history. During the independent days of India it was an inaccessible fortress surrounded by seven big ditches. It has within it a good number of temples also. Sri Ramakrishna used to call it a hidden Vrindaban and described it as such to the Holy Mother. It is here that Sri Ramakrishna had a vision of the image of Goddess Mrinmoyee in her divine form. It is mentioned in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.