BIRLA TEMPLE KOLKATA 1970
Location: Near Gariahat adjoining the Calcutta Cricket Club.
Time to Visit: 5.30 A.M. - 11 A.M. & 4 .30 P.M. - 9 P.M.
Preferred Timings: Early morning and after dusk in time for the evening Aarti.
Admission Fee: Nil.
How to Reach:Local buses, mini buses and metered taxis are available from various parts of the city. Bus no. 101, S14, 39A, 42B, 45, 47, 205A, 212A, 234, 240 all ply to Birla Mandir.
Photography / Video charges: Strictly prohibited.
Nearest Railway Station: Howrah.
Nearest Metro Station: Maidan.
Nearest Functional Metro Station: Maidan.
Nearest International Airport: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Intrnational Airport.
Time required for sightseeing: About 45 minutes.
The majestic Birla Mandir, which towers to a height of 160 feet at the junction of Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue is a marvel of India's indigenous craftsmanship. Spread over a 44 kathas of land, the temple which is built of white marble, is of stupendous dimensions.
This majestic temple has been designed on the pattern of the famous Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar.
Work on this colossal temple began way back in the 1970's and it took all of 26 years of painstaking labor to complete this temple. A visit to this temple will reveal the intricate Rajasthani temple architecture, which is predominant. The manner in which the layering and decoration of the temple facades have been done is a pointer to the high degree of skill involved during the construction process.
Not only is the Mandir an architectural marvel in Kolkata's landscape, this temple has experimented with innovative ideas to add luster. For instance, episodes from from the sacred Hindu scripture - Bhagavad Gita has been pictorially depicted through stone engravings which means that the eternal message of the Gita is lapped up by visitors without much difficulty.
In a similar vein, Birla Mandir depicts the ideals of Hinduism as enshrined in the Vedas and Upanishads and their application to everyday life.
The grandiose white marble temple is at its glittering best after dusk when the entire temple and its surroundings are illuminated. The sight of Birla Temple at night which is all decked up with electric diyas and sparkling chandeliers makes for a truly ethereal experience. No wonder, many tourists come to visit the temple after dusk, rather than in the morning.
The Birla Temple is one of the finest specimen of the greatness of Hindu religion and accordingly it has portrayed gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, like Radha & Krishna, Shiva & Durga and even deities of Hanuman, the Dasha Avatars and Ganesha. The concept of unity in variety which is the plan of the universe is very well depicted at the Birla temple.
Hindu temples are by and large known for their chaotic scenes. But the Birla Mandir is like a breath of fresh air. There is a strict code of conduct, which every visitor has to abide by. For instance, you can't carry bags, mobile phones and cameras to the temple. Even loitering in the verandah is prohibited.
A memorable way of experiencing the sublime spiritual atmosphere of Birla Mandir is by being present at the temple premises in time for the evening Aarti. Once the Aarti is over and with lights coming on, the temple is illuminated like a bejeweled bride. Soft music is piped which makes for a transcendental experience.