Kolkata is known as West Bengal's architectural and intellectual hub, among other things. The streets here are usually noisy, busy, full of activity, and steeped in history and culture. The majestic river Hooghly flows through the city. The city is outlined by many Ghats, where you can enjoy the sunset and sunrise while savoring hot tea, evening prayers, boat rides, and more.
National Heritage, historical monuments, haunted places, museums, amusement parks, the IT sector, the world-famous Eden Garden, and other attractions abound in the city. Kolkata is a real treat for history buffs and travelers who want to explore several historical sites simultaneously. It is a land of devotion. Kolkata is home to several exquisite religious sites of all faiths, including churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other pilgrimage destinations. One can take a spiritual trip to the city to explore the cultural heritage of Kolkata.
Here is the list of 7 fascinating religious places of Kolkata that you can visit to cross off your bucket list of spiritual locations. Although there are more than seven religious sites in the city, for a start, let's have a look:
1. Dakshineswar Temple
Residing on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the temple is known for the deity Bhavatarini, another form of Maa Kali. It was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni of Bengal, and the architecture of this temple has a historical touch. The temple was built on the concept of nine spires (navratna) style. Among other religious places in Kolkata, Dakshineswar is in the top position. Inside the temple, the idols of Bhavatarini stand firmly on Lord Shiva, who is placed on a thousand petals of a lotus flower crafted of pure silver. Along with nine other mini temples dedicated to the Hindu God and Goddess, a small temple built in respect of Rani Rashmoni can also be seen at the entrance, which was added later.
Dakshineswar temple attracts more than 1000 devotees every day. Being an exact description of the oldest form of Bengali architecture, it is the city's heritage status, which is why it is often believed that a trip to Kolkata is complete with visiting this religious site.
Address: Dakshineswar, Kolkata
Timing: 6 am to 12:30 pm; 3 pm to 9 pm
2. Belur Math
Belur Math is the place to be if you enjoy a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere and the view of the Hooghly River. This temple was dedicated to Ramkrishna Paramhansa and was founded by Swami Vivekananda. It stands in front of the Dakhineshwar Kali temple, with four mini temples indicating the bond between all four religions – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Sikh. The interesting fact about Belur Math is that it conducts various spiritual and cultural activities and offers medical services, education to youth, and employment opportunities for women. Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, and other monastic disciples' birthdays are commemorated annually on the temple premises. Outside of the property of Belur Math, there are three guest houses. Devotees and the general public can stay in those guest houses with the permission of Belur Math's authority.
Address: Belur, Kolkata.
Timing: 12 pm to 4 pm.
3. Baba Bhootnath Temple
A 300-year-old custom is said to still prevail in this temple. Bhasm Aarti is a Hindu tradition in which Lord Shiva is worshipped with the ashes of a deceased person. The ashes are brought in every day from the nearby Nimtala ghat. The temple's splendor is on show during the month of Sawan (monsoon) when about 3.5 lac pilgrims visit the site. Another reason to check out this religious place in the street of Kolkata is the local dishes sold by nearby businesses.
Address: Santoshpur, Nalpur, Howrah, West Bengal 711305.
4. Agni Mandir
Agni Mandir, built in 1912, is unique among other religious places in Kolkata. It's a fantastic example of Parsi architecture. Only two Agni Mandirs were established initially, one on Metcalfe Lane and the other on Ezra Street, but only the first is still standing. The Agni mandir is a sacred palace where Parsis worship the God of Fire. The Eternal flames continually glowing on this temple's first floor are the true glory of this site. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to visit this temple.
Address: Metcalfe Lane, Kolkata.
Timing: 10 am to 8 pm.
5. Birla Mandir
The Birla Mandir was inaugurated on February 21, 1996. The temple's whole structure took 26 years to finish. The Birla family, the industrialist, founded it. The mandir offers a relaxing and calming environment to unwind and enjoy the deep ambiance. The most attractive aspect of the Birla Mandir is its gorgeous structure, which houses Shree Krishna's idol. During Janmashtami, the true brilliance of the place can be seen. Several rules must be followed inside the temple, but it is still worthwhile to see.
Address: Ashutosh Chowdhury avenue, Ballygung, Kolkata.
Timing: 5:30 am to 11:00 am; 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
6. Kalighat Kali Temple
This temple is 200 years old, built in 1809 by a member of the illustrious Sabarna Roy Chowdhury's family. This temple is devoted to Goddess Maa Kali, and legend has it that it is one of India's 51 Shakti Peethas, where the right foot toe of Sati fell because of Lord Shiva's Rudra tandav. However, some believe that Mukha Khanda of Maa Kaali (face of kali) fell here at the kali ghat. Another fascinating fact from Kalighat Kali Temple is that the sculpture here has the eyes, hands, and tongue made up of pure Gold. This distinguishes it from Maa kali sculptures seen in other Kolkata temples. The best time to visit Kalighat is during the Kali Puja.
Address: Kalighat, Kolkata.
Timing: 5 am to 2 pm; 5 pm to 10:30 pm.
7. Parasnath Jain Temple
Rai Badridas Bahadur Mookim founded the most popular Jain temple, Parasnath, in 1867. It is the most admired and sacred location of Jains in Kolkata, also known as the Calcutta Jain Temple. The Pareshnath Jain Temple has four other temples inside the ground-Mahavir Swami Temple, Dadawadi & Kushal Maharaj Temple, Shitalnath Temple, and Chandraprabhu temple. The architecture of each of these temples is distinct. The interiors are decorated with high-quality mirrors, stained glass, extravagant chandeliers, marble columns, and knotty decorations throughout, giving it a refined appearance. During the month of Bhadra, when Paryushan is celebrated (between August 16 and September 15), vast crowds of devotees can be seen in Parasnath Jain Temple.
Address: Badridas temple street, Kolkata.
Timing: 6 am to 11:30 am, 3 pm to 7 pm.