Quieter, greener homage to Belur saint

• In a bid to conserve environment, the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission will break an age-old tradition this year and do away with the practice of having a fireworks display as part of the birthanniversary celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna.

Details about the programme

• The birth anniversary programme of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna Dev is marked by a pre-dawn arati , Vedic-chanting and a homa (invocation of gods with offerings before a fire).

• Traditionally, it culminates with a public event on a Sunday with a fireworks display in the evening on the adjacent banks of the Hooghly river.

• Spread over 40 acres on the west bank of the river, the Math complex, with its architecturally distinct temples and landscaped gardens, attracts devotees and tourists alike from all over the country and beyond, as well as the residents of Howrah, a congested industrial district across Kolkata.

• For the first time this year, the anniversary celebrations included folk theatre or jatra and a performance of chau a masked dance form from West Bengal’s Purulia district.

• The Ramakrishna Mission’s decision comes in the backdrop of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s imposition of a Rs. 5 crore fine on the West Bengal government for failing to take steps to improve the air quality of Kolkata and Howrah.

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Mains Paper 1: History

Prelims level: Belur Math

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