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Pilgrim Tourism Universal Temple of Ramakrishna

"Ramakrishna Movement" is now a global spiritual phenomenon that has been offering the nectar of spiritual solitude to the citizens of the world. Pilgrim Tourism is merged harmoniously with sustainable Rural Tourism. It is felt that there is more authentic innocence in the villages of India rather than in the urban surroundings. Being the birthplace of SriRamakrishna, Kamarpukur bears tremendous potential not only to the people of West Bengal but also to the world at large. Although Indian devotees outnumber foreign devotees, awareness about the Ramakrishna Math & Mission Kamarpukur is fast spreading in abroad as well.

All over the world, more and more people are falling prey to stress related disorders resulting from the fast paced urban lifestyle. People from the affluent Western countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, France,UK and USA have been visiting India in search of mental peace and solitude. The stressed out Western tourists come to India with the hope of finding solace from the sheer ruthlessness of the material world.

In India, the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission has been offering the nectar of spiritual peace and solitude to the citizens of the world right from its inception. Although Indian devotees outnumber foreign devotees, awareness about the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is fast spreading in abroad as well. At present the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission have centers in countries like Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Fiji Island, France, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland UK and USA.

The villages of Kamarpukur and Jayrambati have been accepted as Spiritual Tourism destinations by the domestic as well as international visitors for many decades now.Thus far the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission has been meeting the needs of visitors to Kamarpukur and Jayrambati villages all by itself with hardly any help from any quarters. Needless to say, the private tourist infrastructure at both these villages are at best sketchy and only the bare minimum of tourist amenities are available.

Given the fact that the 'Ramakrishna Movement' is now a global spiritual phenomenon with more and more devotes being added to the already staggering numbers. There is an urgent, if not immediate need to develop the basic tourist infrastructure like roads, hotels and motels, quality way side amenities, departmental stores, computers and high speed Internet connectivity etc to cater to the exacting needs of the discerning visitors from India and abroad. In course of time the cultural life of Kamarpukur got enriched due to impact of the teachings and influence of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Besides observance of traditional festivals like the Kali Puja, Durga Puja etc. the devotees in general and residents of Kamarpukur,Jayrambati and Koalpara started observing annual celebrations of Birthday of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swamiji, National Youth Day, Youth Convention etc. To preserve the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the nation, Ramakrishna Math undertakes the following activities as a part of such celebrations :

1.The cultural performances are mainly by village folk such as folk-dance, yatra performances, music performances etc. These programes being light and entertaining, encourage the villagers to cultivate interest in the traditional village art and culture.

2. Lectures and discourses are undertaken in the nearby villages on national integration, harmony of religion and universal brotherhood to elevate the public spiritually.

These activities uplifted the mental plane of the people in general who realized and accepted the concept of 'Service to humanity is service to God' and that the spread of good will to all irrespective of caste , creed and religion will ultimately lead to the end of all evils thereby ushering in a new civilization based on harmony , universal brotherhood and peace . The people of India in general and those living in the interior villages in particular, follow the life style based on their traditional value and religious culture, folk dances, and music of the country rather than the urban cosmopolitanism of western societies. Being inspired by the revival of love for traditional culture and life imbibed by the teaching of Ramakrishna people frequently visit Kamarpukur, and Jayrambati for mental solace and spiritual enlistment. This gave rise the rural tourism centered on Kamarpukur.

Arts & Crafts

The Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Kamarpukur patronises rural craftsmanship in diverse ways. From running jute mills and manufacturing jute based products to indigenously produced honey, the Mission is always on the lookout for fresh avenues through which the rural folks are empowered. The jute handicraft project launched in the year 1980 has been hugely successful.

Promotion of Cultural Activities

Value based courses of India's spiritual heritage, yoga, meditation, discourses on the Gita, Upanishad & scriptures by renowned monks of the Ramakrishna order provided by the ashram are ideal stress busters for the weary traveler looking for some solace.

To preserve and promote the rich cultural & spiritual heritage of the nation, Ramakrishna Math carries out various cultural programs such as folk dance, ballads, yatra (folk theatre) etc. which are mainly performed by the villagers during the celebration of the birth anniversaries of Sri Ramakrishna. Apart from these, the birth anniversary of Holy Mother Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, all monastic disciples of Master & other world prophets are also celebrated Bengali New Year, Durga puja, Kali Puja, Ratha Yatra, Christmas eve and Holi etc. are observed with great festivity. Regular worship of SriRamakrishna, aratrik (evening prayer). Devotional songs by monks and lay disciples are the main attractions to the devotees.

Although tribal’s are fast vanishing from rural Bengal due to the relentless onslaught of modernity, a few tribal pockets still continue to survive. This tribal heritage is being preserved by the Kamarpukur branch of the Ramakrishna Math & Mission. One is not surprised to find exotic tribal folks dressed up in all their colorful costumes dancing rhythmically to the beats of drums. They liven up the evenings even after the sun goes beyond the horizon – a perfect way to unwind after a day’s excursion of the country side.

The Ramakrishna Math & Mission’s exemplary track record in promoting rural crafts has won the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India due to the invaluable contribution to its newly emerged campaign of Incredible India.

Tourist Amenities

Holy Kamarpukur is the birth place of Bhagaban Sri Ramakrishna Deva, the fountain source of the inspiration of the Ramakrishna order. In quest of peace, tourists and visitors from all over the world come in Kamarpukur Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission throughout the year. The tourist information office guides the tourists to utilize the best possable opportunities provide by the center.

Sri Ramakrishna Math owns two guest houses for the devotees who wish to spend a few days for spiritual welfare. The devotees who want accommodation in the guest houses are required to contact the management of the Math seeking their prior permission over phone or through e-mail first and then should confirm the booking by return post or telephone,if ac commodation, subject to the availability, is granted to them. There are three, four and five-beded rooms with or without attached baths and also dormitories for the group of devotees. Those who stay in the guest house get the privilege of taking prasad at noon and night. The nearest bus stand from For accommodation during holidays and festive occasions they should write to the President, Ramakrishna Math, Kamarpukur, two to three months in advance.There are bus services to Kamarpukur from Kolkata, Bishnupur, Jayrambati, Burdwan and Tarakeswar. A kitchen cum dining hall block has been added recently to facilitate feeding about 500 people at a time Kamarpukur is at Arambagh situated at a distance of 14 km. The devotees should contact the authority of the Math for accommodation during the office hours i.e. 8:30:00 to 11:15:00 and 16:00:00 to 17:00:00 For better accommodation they should choose weekdays rather than holidays and festival days.

Ayuruvedic Rejuvenation Therapies

Ayurveda is one of the great gifts of the sages of ancient India to mankind. It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. However, it is not only a system of medicine in the convent ional sense of curing disease. It is also a way of life that teaches us how to maintain and protect health. It shows us both how to cure disease and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a 'whole' – which is a combination of body, mind and soul. Therefore it is a truly holistic and integral medical system.

The word 'Ayu' means all aspects of life from birth to death. The word 'Veda' means knowledge or learning. Hence Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood. I t is a way of life that describes the diet , medicine and behavior that are beneficial or harmful for life. The roots of Ayurveda can be traced to the beginning of cosmic creation. Indian philosophers state that yurveda originated from Brahma, the creator of the universe. Brahma is not a mere individual but the unman fest from the Divine Lord, from whom the whole manifest world comes into being. The desire to maintain fitness, health and longevity is one of the basic instincts of al l creatures. Ayurveda in this respect sets the pat tern for other system of medicine. It is a tradition with an antiquity comparable to that of life itself.

Rejuvenation has been termed as Rasayana. A definition of Rasayana in Ayurveda is described as : "That which destroys the old age and disease is called Rasayana."That means by taking Rasayana you always remain healthy and young. But I did not say you will not die. It means that even when you are in your 80's or 90's you are able to perform your normal duties and you don't have to depend on others. One branch of Ayurveda out of the eight branches deals only with Rasayana.Rejuvenation or Rasayana is not made for sense gratification as many of us think today. According to Ayurveda rejuvenation is taken so that after taking it you become healthy and give your services for others. It is taken so that you can explore the spiritual aspect of life and help the society, the sick, the hungry, the poor and the handicapped. .The Kamarpukur branch of Ramakrishna Math & Mission offers truly world class ayurvedic healing and detoxification packages at its campus. Therapies like Abhayangam, Pizichil, Shirodhara, Shirovasti etc. are offered. The renowned Ayurvedic doctors of India are carrying out the treatment.

The magico- religious aspect of medicine in the Vedas was gradually supplemented by observations based on scientific thinking. Ayurvedic scholars from subsequent generations gave a sound and logical footing of philosophy to Ayurveda. The material scattered in the Vedas was collected, subjected to rigid tests of efficacy and systematically arranged. Such compilations were called 'Samhitas.'Many of these compilations no longer exist . Only three authentic works have stood the test of time and are available today – the Charaka amhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridya Samhita. This great trio – the Brihatrayi as it called –has enjoyed much popularity and respect for the last two thousand years. Although these texts have undergone some modification by various authors in subsequent periods, their present form is at least 1200 years old. They are all in the Sanskr it language. Panchakarma is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Pancha Karma is the process, which gets to the root cause of the problem and re-establishes the essential balance of 'Tridosha' ( three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in body. Pancha Karma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excelling lent health. Ayurveda advises undergoing Pancha Karma at the seasonal changes in order to clean the body and improve the digest ion and metabolic processes. Panchakarma is a Sanskr it word that means 'five actions' or 'five treatments'. This science of purifying the body is an ancient branch of Ayurveda. The Treatment in Ayurveda consists of two main types. One is Shaman Chikitsa, used to subdue the vitiated Doshas, which may cause any ailments. It is administered by using various medicinal herbo-mineral preparations.

However, if the Doshas are vitiated beyond a particular level, they give rise to various toxins, which have a tendency to be accumulated in the minute channels. These are beyond the level of pacification and hence need to be eliminating from the body. In such cases, the second type of treatment , which is Shodhan Chikitsa or cleansing therapy, is indicated.Since it consists of the five types of main therapies, it is known as the Panchakarma.

Panchakarma has been given a special place in all ancient Ayurvedic texts. Aacharya Charak, the author of the most important ancient text on internal medicine, has described a wide use of Panchakarma therapy in almost all major diseases. Two separate sect ions, Kalpa Sthanam, and Siddhi Sthanam in Charak Samhi ta descr ibe in details special decoct ions and other preparations used for Panchakarma therapy.

The Humanitarian Touch

The motto of Swami Vivekananda "Doing good to the world with a spirit of worship & thereby paying the path for one's own salvation" guides the philanthropic activities of the Ramakrishna Math & Mission. "Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitaya Cha" – the Math offers various traditional religious programs like meditation, japam, worship, prayer & spiritual classes to the monastic as well as the lay member before making them instrumental in carrying out number of welfare activities for the poor and downtrodden. Various welfare activities such as schools, hostels, mobile vans for audio visual & medical treatment. National programme for control of leprosy, T.B, Aids & Blindness, a library, hospital for allopathic, homeopathic and ayurvedic treatment, training-cum-production centre for jute handicraft, weaving, making incense sticks, food processing, bee-keeping, eco-friendly schemes like solar energy & cultivation of herbal resource garden have been under taken since long back for achieving the all round development of the deprived. The math also owns more than 30 acres of land for production of agriculture with the soil testing laboratory, seed production unit and cultivation of seasonal crops in which a large number of villagers participate in earning their living hood.

In order to spread the message of Vedanta and Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature among the mass, the math has established a sales and promotion centre for display of religious books and articles where the visitors get an opportunity to purchase books available in English as well as Bengali language

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