July 9, 2011

Kolkata Kali Ghat Temple

Kolkata, the erstwhile capital of British India, is one of the major cities of India. Kolkata has a thickly populated locality named Kalighat which has an old temple for Kali. The temple of Kali at Kalighat is the most important Hindu temple in Kolkata region. In fact, the city derived its name from this site and the temple.

Although Kalighat Kali temple is considered as one of the 51 Shakti Peeths (51 important temples of mother Goddess), the current temple is hardly 200 years old. The earlier temples were destroyed multiple times and the current temple is believed to have been built in the same location. It is believed that the right toe of Dakshinayini (the consort of Lord Shiva) fell in this site and hence this temple became a Shakti Peeth.

Kalighat Kali Temple Tower
The temple is always crowded by devotees and you would end up in spending 2-3 hours to have darshan of the main deity. More to add the problem, the devotees are not organized and it's very difficult to have a convenient darshan. Another major problem is the temple and the surroundings are full of pandas (the so-called priests) and beggars who would ensure that all the devotees are disturbed enough. If you are not an ardent devotee or a greedy traveller wanting to visit all the places, it's better to ignore this place.

The idol of the main deity of the temple (Kali) is unique. It is made of up of touchstone (black stone) having three eyes and a protruding tongue along with four hands. You cannot find this kind of idol in other Kali temples.

On the way to Kalighat Kali Temple
The temple has a three feet rectangular altar called as Sosthi Tala or Monosha Tala. This has the tomb (samadi) of Brahmananda Giri one of the founders of the current temple. The tree where the toe of Goddess fell is also present near by. There are two Bali peeths (sacrificial altars) called as Hari-Kath. One altar is to sacrifice the buffalo and the other one is to sacrifice the goat.

There is one more shrine in this temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Kali Ghat Kali Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Kolkata city, West Bengal state, India 
One of the most important temples for mother Goddess in Kolkata, Bengal and even in India; One of the 51 Shakti peeths
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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