The Belur Math Shrine in Kolkata is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, based on the religious movement founded in 1898 by Swami Vivekanada. The Swami was a longtime disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the man who inspired the movement with his teachings on the unity of faith among all religions, and the ashes of Sri Ramakrishna are housed within the shrine.
The Belur Math Shrine is also a physical symbol of such unity, as it includes architectural elements borrowed from Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist motifs. Depending on your vantage point, the Shrine manages to resemble a church, mosque or temple.
The serene grounds of Belur Math along the riverbank include a handful of smaller shrines that seem to be scattered across the manicured gardens. If you want to appreciate the serenity the shrine is meant to embody, visit on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds of picnickers that sometimes take over the lawn. At 5:30pm each day, visitors can listen to the aarti: religious chants being sung in the prayer hall.