Dakshineswar Kali Temple located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River is in the honour of Goddess Ma Kali (Mother Kali). The presiding deity is Bhavatarini. And the Holy River Ganga flows by the side of the temple where the devotees take bath on auspicious days.
Devotees from Western countries also come here to pay respect to the Holy mother Kali and also to Sri Ramkrishna Parhamhansa a mystic from the 19th century and his wife Sarada Devi.
Built during the 19th century (1847-1855) by the reformist Rani Rashmoni it shows clear signs of the then Bengal architecture. Moreover, the style of Nava-Ratna (Nine Spires) is there in this three storeyed south facing temple which stands on a high platform with a flight of stairs.
The ‘garbha griha’ in Bengali stands for “sanctum sanctorum” where the Devi Bhavatarini stands on the chest of Lord Shiva. Both the idols are placed on a thousand-petaled lotus made of silver. Lying close to the main temple is a series of twelve Shiva temples identical in their stature consist the traditional “aath-chala” Bengal style.
What is the history of Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
The history of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is that in the year 1847, the widow, Rani Rashmoni set out to express her love for the Divine Mother with a convoy of twenty four boats carrying relatives, servants and labourers to the city of Banaras.
Legend says that just before the night of the pilgrimage the Divine Mother Kali appeared in her dream asking her to build a shrine for her on the “ banks of the river Ganga and there she would accept worship from her devotees”.
So she set out to build this vast temple complex consisting temples of Goddess Kali, Lord Shiva and a temple of Radha Krishna. It took eight years to build the entire structure. The temple head priest was a scholarly elder sage famous by the name of Ramkumar. But within a year of its foundation he died and hence passed on the responsibilities to his brother Ramkrishna who attained “moksha” through his love for the Divine Mother and brought great fame to the Dakshineswar temple.
What is the significance of Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Significance of Dakshineswar Kali Temple is that the planning of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is such that it offers space for rooms of staffs and guests of the temple. There is also an orchard to the north where there is the ‘Panchavati’ with the banyan tree and the Bel tree.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple’s atmosphere is indifferent to praise or criticism, here the lowly and highly does not have any difference. Here all live with an unusual harmony. Time- is mystery in the place. It seems as if time has stopped here. The streets outside the Dakshineswar Kali Temple increase the anticipation of the devotees for Ma Kali who would soon shower her love and calm your mind. The Divine Mother is decorated with ornaments like anklets, necklaces made of gold and pearls, a garland of human heads made out of gold and a golden nose ring with a pearl-drop.
Here Sri Ramkrishna sat for hours in meditation. In recent times this area has been redesigned in an ethnic manner. The main temple has a magnificent “Natmandir”, or music hall. To the northwest and southwest parts of the temple premises there are two “Nahabhats” or music towers.
What are the timings of Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Here are the timings of Dakshineshwar Kali Temple:
|Mangal arati (summer)
|Mangal Aarti (Winter)
|Sandhya aarti (Summer)
|Sandhya aarti (Winter)
What are the festivals Celebrated at Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Dakshineswar Kali Temple are:
- Kalpataru one of the holiest of festivals at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Followers of Sri Ramkrishna attend this festival with much enthusiasm. It occurs on the first day of the English calendar i.e. 1st January.
- Devotees celebrate Navaratri at Dakshineswar Kali Temple with grandeur for nine days and nine nights. The worship of ‘kumari’ kanyas or girls who yet to attain puberty takes place in front of the Divine Mother. Then, on the ninth day comes the Ayudhya puja where devotees place their tools for livelihood hoping for success and happiness.
- The Dusshera sees the celebration of Goddess Saraswati who showers knowledge and wisdom to her worshipers.
- On Diwali, Kali pooja takes place at Dakshineswar Kali Temple where the devotees worship deity Bhavatarini. The devotees also decorate the entire temple complex is with diyas and strings of lights. Nowadays sky lights are also lit within the temple premises making the whole place glow with bright lights.
Which Poojas and Rituals are performed at Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
The poojas and rituals performed at Dakshineswar Kali Temple are:
- Once a month takes place the Amavasya (darkest night) ritual where devotees offer their prayers after a daylong of fasting and breaks it after the priest has performed the Homa
- The second month of the Bengal year Jaistha which is the summer season beckons the Phalaharini Kali puja on a new moon night.
- The Durga puja is the most grand of all festivals for Bengal. And here at Dakhshineswar the Durga puja is celebrated with grand events. Priests recite from holy Sanskrit texts for five days telling about the victory of Ma Durga over the Ashura or demon. Here the priests perform the puja in front of the Kali image.
- One of the most important ritual or puja taking place at Dakshineswar Kali Temple is Kali puja. It takes place during Diwali and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and devotees walk into the temple complex to offer prayers and gifts to Goddess Kali. Both Tantric and Brahmanical rituals are performed to Ma Kali and thousands of visitors get to see the entire ritual.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple committee also prepares the bhog/prasad made especially for puja and rituals. It is distributed to a long line of devotees visiting the temple and desiring Maayer Prasad (offerings from the Divine Mother).
How to reach Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Here’s how to reach Dakshineswar Kali Temple:
Dakshineswar Kali Temple is to the left of Dunlop junction. If one travels by metro, there is Dum Dum metro station nearby. Barrackpore Trunk Road can be sought from Shyambazar’s five-point crossing, in north Kolkata. This is another route to travel by road. And turning left one can reach Dakshineswar.
Where to eat near Dakshineswar kali Temple?
Some of the places where one can eat near Dakshineswar Kali Temple are:
- The lanes outside the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is famous for its street food especially kachodi and cholar dal that visitors crave upon. The most famous is the Dakhshineswar peda a kind of sweet that from young to old is a delight for the tongue.
- The Bharadwaj lodge and restaurant is a famous place there. People often stop by it since it is not far from the temple.
- Visitors who are non-vegetarian can stop by the famous Gol Bari restaurant about 6.2 km from Dakshineswar which is famous for its’ kosha mangsho (chicken recipe).
- Several new places for food have opened like “Bangaliyaana”, “Dunlop Hotel and Restaurant” etc.
Where to stay near Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Some of the places where one can stay near Dakshineswar Kali Temple are:
- The Debalay Guest House at T.N.Mukherjee road is comfortable and convenient for travellers.
- The Holy Nest Guest house is another place where travellers can arrange accommodations. It is also not far from the Dakshineswar Kali Temple area and has a pleasant atmosphere.
What are some of the temples near Dakshineswar Kali Temple?
Some of the temples near Dakshineswar Kali Temple are:
- The Adyapeath temple is a very famous place for pilgrims. It is near the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and is for Goddess Kali. It is a beautiful place where devotees visit every year for peace and tranquility.
- The Belur Math: Swami Vivekananda, disciple of Sri Ramkrishna built the the Belur Math. It is a very worthy place to visit in the early mornings where the atmosphere is calm and quiet. The place is notable for its fusion of Hindu, Islam and Christian symbols that shows that oneness of all religions.
- The Shobhabajar Rajbari is also a famous tourist spot. It has historical importance that attracts visitors.
- Another place where devotees visit is the Hanseswari Temple. It is in Bashberia town, in the Hooghly district. Here people can see Goddess Hanseswari who is another avatar of Goddess Kali. It has a six storey shrine which has the form of a human body.
- Kalighat Temple