Saturday, January 5, 2013

Birla Temple Kolkata

The majestic Birla Mandir, which towers to a height of 160 feet is a marvel of India's indigenous craftsmanship. 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.Built over twenty- two years of painstaking labour.

It is an all marble structure with very high quality Rajasthani engravings popularly known as Laxmi Narayan temple. This marvelous and imposing structure in white, attracts huge crowds everyday and is one of the best fascinating tourist spot of Kolkata. 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.

The gates were opened to the public in 1996. 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.

Sandstone has been used on the exterior of the temple, and marble for the interiors. Traditional artistry, coupled with modern technology, has lent uniqueness to the architecture. Sculptors were brought in from Agra, Mirzapur and Muzaffarpur to execute the intricate patterns on the walls. There are artefacts made of silver and Belgian glass.

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.

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. Birla Mandir is like a breath of fresh air.


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