By Swami Harshananda
A place of pilgrimage is called tīrthakṣetra in the religion. The word tīrtha refers to any place considered sacred due to its association with a holy river, a mountain, a temple or any other object. More often, it may be due to its close connection with a great spiritual or religious leader. The two remote villages of Bengal—Kāmārpukur and Jayarāma bāṭī are the birth places of Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa and Śāradādevī respectively and have become famous tīrthakṣetra-s due to this connection.
The town of Kāmārpukur is 112 km. or 70 miles to the north-west of Kolkata.
The ancestral house where Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa, famous as the Paramahansa, was born is taken over by the Ramakrishna Math and Rama Krishna Mission. A beautiful temple is raised over his birthplace. The main shrine which is the birth place, contains an elegant marble idol of Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa.
The small temple of Raghuvīr (Rāma), the family deity of Srī Rāmakṛṣṇa’s ancestors is kept well maintained. The room where Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa used to live and associated structures have been kept in a good condition.
The center runs schools, hostels and a dispensary apart from conducting several rural welfare activities. They provide good facilities for the pilgrim-devotees who throng the place throughout the year.
Other places connected with Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa's boyhood days are the places of attractions normally visited. They are:
- A small Śiva temple where his mother had a unique mystical experience
- Village tank Haldārpukur
- Village school shed
- Houses of the Lahā family
The following are the major religious festivals celebrated at this center:
- Birthday of Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa
- Birthday of Śāradādevī
- Birthday of Vivekānanda
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore