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Day Trip to Kolkata’s Belur Math and Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Kolkata is one of the loudest and most chaotic cities I've ever visited, making it one of the most exciting! After visiting Mother Teresa's Home, Victoria Memorial, and several other famous places in Kolkata, I was ready to go on a more extended excursion to see Belur Math and the Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

Belur Math in Kolkata, India
Belur Math

These are two famous temples north of the city, and one day during my visit, I decided to go to both of them on a little day trip.

The first stop was Belur Math, a temple dedicated to Ramakrishna Math and Mission, a branch of Hinduism.

We took a taxi from the Howrah station to the temple gate to get there. Unlike a few other Kolkata attractions, Belur Math was quiet and peaceful.

After entering the gates, no touts were hanging around, and no one was trying to sell me anything – it was a nice relief.

Unfortunately, they were very strict with their no photos policy, and if anyone tried to snap a photo, a guard would immediately run up and enforce the rule. So, the only picture I captured was this glimpse from the river.

The architecture of Belur Math in Kolkata is mainly Hindu and Buddhist in design, but they also used both Islam (Mughal) and Christian ideas and decorations in the construction.

There's a place to remove your shoes and safely store them as you walk around the interior.

Entering the pier after touring Belur Math
Entering the pier

After walking around Belur Math for about an hour, I proceeded to the banks of the Hooghly River to catch a boat to Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

You can either take a private boat (where you'll have to pay the entire fee), or you can wait until enough people have gathered to take a shared boat. I waited for about 15 minutes until enough of us could share a boat.

After we were jam-packed onto a tiny boat, the ride took about 20 minutes and cost just 10 Rupees per person.

Riding the boat
Riding the boat
View of the Hooghly River
View of the Hooghly River

On the boat ride, it was nice to see the life on each side of the river while the small engine of the boat slowly battled its way upstream.

The Hooghly River is a distributary (meaning it's an off-shoot) of the sacred Ganges River, so Hindus also consider it holy water.

Along the banks of the water were many people bathing, washing their clothes, and splashing in the river.

Bathing in the Hooghly River
Bathing in the Hooghly River
Food and drink stalls outside the temple
Food and drink stalls outside the temple

We finally arrived at Dakshineswar, a much larger temple than Belur Math. Since I went on a weekend, many people were at the temple, most of them waiting in line to enter the central part of the temple and pay respect to the Kali Goddess.

Surrounding the temple were many Hindu religious items to purchase and plenty of snacks and beverages to consume.

The line to get into the temple stretched for kilometers as Hindus waited their turn to enter the temple.

After visiting Belur Math in Kolkata, we saw Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Not having the time to wait hours to get in, I mostly explored the surrounding area, observed the river, and walked around for different views of the temple.

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple almost didn't look real; it looked like a painting! After a few hours of exploration, I jumped in a yellow Kolkata taxi and headed back to the central part of the city.

It was another wild ride through the narrow and always teeming streets of Kolkata, a city where everything you do is an adventure!

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Vijay Bisnauthsing

Saturday 26th of March 2016

THanks for vivid description of the place. Is there another way to reach this temple by road? Also is here a fast, express line to avoid standing in the long queue as our time is very limited. Kindly reply to my query. Thanks


Wednesday 9th of December 2015

Very useful information. I also plan to go Kolkata.


Thursday 2nd of May 2013

Amazing information here. I have a trip to the area coming up soon and I hope to try a couple of these out! Thanks for a great blog.

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

Tuesday 23rd of April 2013

Great pics! This is definitely on my Bucket List!! Sad I missed it when I was in India last.

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