History and Significance :
A temple (mandir) is a devotional place for people to worship their God. A place that connects people to their aesthetic beliefs. For ages these fabulous temples with implausible engineering skills and engrossing art. Temples of India carry the heritage and culture of different periods and become a part of history. Each and every temple has its own traditional rituals with a historical past.
Birla Mandir (Birla Temple) is also one of the most popular places of attraction for tourists across the world and this fascinating place refers to different Hindu temples built by the Birla family, in different cities across India. First Birla Mandir was built by the famous industrialist family of India Mr Jugal Kishore Birla, his brothers and the help of their father, in 1939 at Delhi. This temple was built to fill the void of Hindu temples in Delhi as the Muslim dynasties ruled this area for decades, they did not allow the construction of Hindu temples. A national chain of the “Birla temples,” temples of great scale and construction, have become main landmarks and part of the cities of India in the late 20th century.
Birla Mandir, Kolkata is one of the most beautiful mandirs ever constructed by the Birla Family. The construction of this outstanding temple began in the year 1970 and after meticulous work taking over 26 years, it reached its final design in the year 1996. The temple was inaugurated on the 21st of February, 1996 by Dr Karan Singh. The Pran Prathistha ceremony of the idols was done by Swami Chidananda Maharaj. Birla Mandir is located at 29, Ashutosh Chowdary Ave, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019, India. This temple is open in the morning from 5.30 A.M. to 11 A.M. and in the evening from 4.30 P.M. to 9 P.M.
The design of this beautiful Birla Mandir, Kolkata was inspired by the Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar. The large architecture shows a rare mixture of modern and contemporary styles. Engravings of the stories, scenes and shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita in the interiors with Rajasthani designs are just mind-blowing. The roofs of this temple are adorned with elegant chandeliers. The unique patterns on the wall of the temple are sculpted by the artisans specially called from Agra, Mirzapur and Muzaffarpur. The electric diyas and stunning chandeliers adorning the ceiling is the perfect example of the ultimate piece of Art. The exterior of the Birla Mandir complex has been conjured out of sandstone, while the interior is decorated with white marble. Designed by the architect Nomi Bose, the temple houses statues of deities Krishna and Radha along with goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of Shakti and Shiva in meditation mode. The Birla Mandir is 160 feet tall and is spread across 44 kathas of land area.
Anne Hardgrove (Associate Professor of History, received a B.A. from Carleton College and Ph. D. in Anthropology and History from the University of Michigan) states :
“The architectural forms of the two newest Birla temples (Jaipur and Kolkata) incorporate innovative, dual-purpose structures into the temple design that alter temple practices to reflect the concerns of modern public culture in a religious site”.
The chief deities of the temple are Lord Krishna and his consort Radha, other Gods revered here are Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman, Lord Shiva, ten avatars of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Durga. Janmashtami is one of the best times to visit the temple when the entire complex is illuminated. Evening Aarti is quite eye-catching too. To have the best visiting experience in Birla Mandir one must come during the Janamashtami days. Every year during Janmashtami lots of people from all over India visit this Birla Mandir to be a part of the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth. Temple yard shines like a star during the celebration days.
After a long and hectic life schedule visit to this Birla Mandir, Kolkata will definitely bring peace and calm to your life. This Mandir is not only a place for worship of some God, this is the path that will lead one person to their inner soul and helps to connect with the almighty God.