The Birla Temple is situated at Asutosh Chowdhury Avenue, Ballygunge in Kolkata. It was built by the Industrialist family of Birla. The temple is exquisite as high cost raw materials and unique architectural design is used in abundance. The massive structure adorns the streets of Kolkata and is difficult to miss. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. The architecture is a mix of traditional style with modern reflection, and is a craftsmanship and engineering genius. Just the exterior will put first time visitors in a state of awe and trance. Although the main deities here are Radha and Krishna, you will also get to see the ten avatars of Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Durga.
The white marble marvel has imposing domes that have intricate design and stonework on them. The exterior of the temple is produced from Sandstone and the interiors are of pearl white marble. It is 160 feet tall and extends over 44 kathas in land area. The architect of this is Nomi Bose who derived inspiration from the Laxmi Narayan Temple and Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneshwar.Shlokas and stories from the Bhagavad Geeta adorn marble stones on the wall. You will see the depiction of scenes from Mahabarata showing what Krishna says to Arjuna during the war. The walls also have rajasthani style of artwork. The artisans were specially called from Mirzapur, Agra and Muzaffarpur for the work. What also makes this shrine unique is that few of the objects adorning the inside of the temple is made of silver and Belgian glass. Once there you are surrounded by continuous chanting and soft music. The place lights up with electric diya’s and chandeliers at night and is a divine sight.
The construction of this temple began in the year 1970. It took a total of 26 years to complete and was inaugurated on 21st February 1996 by Dr. Karan Singh. Swami Chidananda did the Pran Prathistha ceremony of the idols. The temple can be reached from anywhere in the city by Taxi, Bus or Mini Bus. It opens at 5.30 am in the morning till 11.00 am and from 4.30pm to 9.00pm. Cameras and phones are strictly prohibited inside the temple complex as videos and photos are not allowed, even wandering around is not allowed. The sight of the temple is breathtaking in the evenings and for first time visitors this is the best time to visit. It is also best to plan visits around the time of evening aarti.