Kalighat Kali Temple: Kolkata, the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal, is famous for its cultural heritage, architecture, and religious shrines. Among the numerous temples in Kolkata, the Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the most significant and revered shrines, attracting thousands of devotees and tourists every year. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and architecture of the Kalighat Temple in detail.
History of Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat Kali Temple is believed to have been built in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest temples in Kolkata. According to popular legends, the temple is located on the site where the toes of the right foot of the Hindu goddess Sati fell after Lord Shiva carried her charred body across the universe. The temple was originally a small hut made of mud and bamboo, but it was later rebuilt and expanded into a magnificent temple complex by the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family, one of the most prominent families in Kolkata during the colonial era.
Significance of Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat Kali Temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction and transformation. She is believed to be one of the ten incarnations of the goddess Durga and is worshipped by millions of Hindus across India. The temple is considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, or holy shrines where the body parts of the goddess Sati fell, according to Hindu mythology. The Kalighat Kali Temple is also known as “Shakti Peetha” as it is believed to be the place where the toes of Sati’s right foot fell.
The architecture of Kalighat Kali Temple
The architecture of the Kalighat Temple is a blend of traditional Bengali and Hindu styles. The temple complex consists of four main structures: the Natmandir, the Haldar Pukur, the Jor Bangla, and the Kali Temple. The Kali Temple is the main shrine and is dedicated to the goddess Kali. The temple is built on a raised platform, and the entrance is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. The idol of the goddess Kali is made of black stone and is adorned with gold and silver ornaments. The temple is also famous for its intricate terracotta work, which depicts scenes from Hindu mythology and folklore.
The Natmandir is a large open-air hall where devotees can sit and offer their prayers. It is decorated with beautiful murals and paintings that depict scenes from Hindu mythology. The Haldar Pukur is a large tank that is believed to have healing properties. Devotees take a dip in the tank and offer their prayers to the goddess Kali. The Jor Bangla is a two-storied building that houses the offices of the temple administration.
Festivals and Celebrations at Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat Temple is famous for its annual Kali Puja festival, which is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. The festival is held during the month of October or November and lasts for four days. The temple is decorated with lights, flowers, and garlands, and devotees from all over India come to seek the blessings of the goddess Kali. The temple also celebrates other Hindu festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali, and Navratri.
Visiting Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat Temple is located in the Kalighat area of Kolkata and is easily accessible by road and rail. The nearest railway station is Kalighat Metro Station, which offers easy access to the temple. The temple is open from early morning till late evening, and visitors are advised to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple premises.
Apart from offering prayers and seeking blessings, visitors can also explore the various stalls and shops around the temple that sell religious artifacts, souvenirs, and snacks. The area around the temple is also known for its street food, and visitors can indulge in some authentic Bengali cuisine like puchka, jhal muri, and mishti doi.
The Kalighat Temple is not only a religious shrine but also a significant cultural and historical landmark in Kolkata. The temple has been witness to several political and social movements in India’s history, and its walls have seen the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, and other prominent personalities.
In conclusion, the Kalighat Kali Temple is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Kolkata, whether for religious or cultural reasons. Its rich history, magnificent architecture, and spiritual significance make it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kalighat Kali Temple
- What is Kalighat Kali Temple?
Kalighat Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali, located in the Kalighat area of Kolkata, India. It is one of the most significant and revered temples in Kolkata, attracting millions of visitors each year.
- What is the history of Kalighat Kali Temple?
The history of Kalighat Temple can be traced back to the 15th century when it was first built as a small hut by a saint named Chowranga Giri. Over the years, the temple was renovated and expanded by various rulers and philanthropists, including the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family and Rani Rashmoni. It has also played an important role in the social and political movements of India’s history.
- What is the significance of Kalighat Kali Temple?
The Kalighat Temple is significant as it is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, where the various parts of the goddess Sati’s body fell when Lord Shiva carried her corpse. It is also revered as a place where people come to seek the goddess’s blessings, particularly in times of trouble or distress.
- What is the best time to visit Kalighat Kali Temple?
The Kalighat Temple is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the Navaratri festival, which falls in September or October. The temple is beautifully decorated during this time, and various cultural programs and religious rituals are held.
- What is the dress code for visiting Kalighat Kali Temple?
Visitors to the Kalighat Temple are advised to dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing or tight-fitting clothes. It is also customary to remove one’s shoes before entering the temple premises.
- Are there any rules to be followed while visiting Kalighat Temple?
Visitors are expected to maintain silence and avoid making loud noises inside the temple premises. They should also refrain from touching the deity or offering anything directly to the goddess. Photography is allowed outside the temple, but it is prohibited inside the main shrine.
- What else can visitors do around Kalighat Temple?
The area around the Kalighat Temple is known for its street food, and visitors can indulge in some authentic Bengali cuisine like puchka, jhal muri, and mishti doi. There are also several shops and stalls around the temple that sell religious artifacts, souvenirs, and snacks.