The Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama at Contai (a branch centre of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, P. O. – Belur Math, West Bengal) was initially started as “Ramakrishna Sevashram” in 1913 with a small Students’ Home, Vidyarthi Bhavan, at the house of Raja Kailash Chandra of ‘Kharuigarh’, Monoharchawk (now at Contai Town) of contain Sub-Division, Purba Midnapore, West Bengal, after the devastating flood caused by the Subarnarekha and the Keleghai rivers of Midnapore District.
After several shifts, the Ashrama permanently came to its present site in 1923 on a piece of land donated by Smt. Narayani Dasi, the mother of Zamindar Surendra Nath Sasmal of Monoharchawk, Contai. In a mud-built cottage there, a library and a homeopathic dispensary were started.
Oldest Building of the Sevashrama
In 1928 The Ashrama along with its Math and Mission sections became affiliated to the Math and Mission Head Quarters at Belur Math, Howrah, West Bengal. Swami Nirvananandaji Maharaj was appointed supervisor by the Belur Math. In the same year two primary schools were started at Manasadwip of the Sundarban areas of 24-parganas District and at Belda Village of Midnapore District.
Relief work was also undertaken as and when needed. In the premises of the Ashrama, a small prayer-cum-worship room, a store room, a kitchen and a Students’ Home were built on the western side of the present temple. The worship of the Mother Durga started in 1927.
Vocational Training Centre
The foundation stone of the present Shri Ramakrishna Temple was laid by Swami Madhavanandaji Maharaj, the then General Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, P. O. – Belur Math, West Bengal, in 1959. The work began in 1979 and the temple was consecrated in 1986 by Swami Gambhiranandaji Maharaj, the 11th President of the Ramakrihsna order. In the same year, Maa Sarada Bhaban was constructed.
The Vivekananda Chhatrabas, now converted as “Sadhan Kutir”, was constructed in 1951. It was reconstructed in 2001 which accommodates about 30 students. The library and the office building was constructed in 1962. The Vivekananda Niramoy Kendra, a Charitable Dispensary was opened in 2004. The Guest House, Shivananda Dham, came into being in 1963. Sanctified by the visits of Swami Abhedanandaji and Swami Vijnananandaji Maharaj, two of the direct disciples of Shri Ramakrishna, this centre conducts a number of Spiritual, Cultural, Educational and Medical activities.
Sales and Publicity
Besides, the regular services on the occasion of Guru Purnima, Phalaharini Kali Puja, Ratha Jatra, Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Shiva Ratri are also held. Birthdays of the direct disciples of Shri Ramakrishna and Great Masters of the world like Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Buddha, Sri Shankaracharya, Sri Chaitanya and others are observed with due solemnity. Ramanama Samkirtan is also held every fortnightly on Ekadashi days. Sri Saradanaam Samkirtan is also held every week on Thursdays. Birthdays of Shri Ramakrihna Dev, the Holy Mother Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda are celebrated with great fervour and devotion. The National Youth Day, Youth and Devotees' conferences are held every year, in which hundreds of students and youths, devotees and well-wishers attend.