July 9, 2011

Dakshineshwar Temple - Kolkata, India

Kolkata, the erstwhile capital of British India and the current capital of West Bengal state of India, is famous for the mother Goddess (Kali) worship. About one hour drive from Kolkata city, the famous Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mutt is located. If you cross the river Ganges (Hooghly) from Belur Math, you can find the popular temple of Kali at Dakshineshwar area on the eastern bank of the river.

Dakshineshwar Kali temple is one of the most popular temples of West Bengal, as it is associated with the life of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the Guru of Swamy Vivekananda, the great Hindu religious reformer. Ramakrishna spent his considerable part of life in a room near the temple boundary wall. You can find certain objects used by Ramakrishna in this room today and this place is always thronged by devotees performing bhajans and prayers.

The huge temple complex is divided into three main sections. The first section is dedicated to Lord Krishna. This section of the temple has three shrines - one shrine where the black marble idol of Lord Krishna is found; the second shrine with the idols of Radha and Krishna, and the third shrine where Lord Krishna is found along with Balram and Subhatra - all the three idols in Orissa style.

The second section of the temple is very huge and has the sanctum sanctorum for the presiding deity Kali. Kali is named as Bhavatarini in this temple. She is found in the standing posture with Lord Shiva below her feet. This section of the temple is built in the Navaratna style of Bengal architecture. There is a huge darshan hall in front of the sanctum sanctorum.

The third section of the temple has twelve shrines of Shiv Lingas built in Aat Chala Bengal architecture. There is a huge courtyard between the Kali temple and Shiva shrines.

This architecturally beautiful huge temple is very peaceful and worth visiting. It took around eight years between 1847 CE and 1855 CE to construct this temple. The idol of Kali was installed in 1855. It was mainly due to Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the chief priest, this temple got such a fame.

Two places in Kolkata should never be missed by any traveller - one is Belur Math and the next one is this breathtakingly big temple of Dakshineshwar Kali.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Dakshineshwar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Kolkata city, West Bengal state, India 
One of the most important temples of Kolkata city; one of most important Kali temples in the entire country (India); the temple where Ramakrishna Paramahansh served as a priest
Nearest Railway Station: Kolkata - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Kolkata has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable from Kolkata
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Kolkata
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Kolkata city

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