Kalighat Kali Temple is a renowned shrine that attracts hundreds and thousands of devotees every year. Located at Kalighat in Kolkata, the temple can be easily reached by means of local transport from the city.
Video - In and Around Kalighat Kali Temple
Significance of the Temple
The temple is in the southern part of Kolkat. Kalighat is a small locality that is well-known for its Kali temple. Kalighat Kali Temple is considered as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Shakti. Goddess Kali is regarded as the most complex goddess of the Hindu pantheon. Usually depicted in a fearful form, Kali is the destroyer as well as the liberator. Goddess Kali, in her wrathful form, is worshipped by thousand of devotees, who come all the way from distant parts of India and the World. The temple attracts a major portion of visitors to Kolkata.
Kalighat Temple has become a very much important religious place for the followers of Hinduism. As per the legends, the different body parts of Sati fell on the earth at the time of self-sacrifice. It is believed that the right toe of Sati fell here and subsequently the temple was erected to commemorate the Goddess. Goddess Kalika is the presiding deity in the Kalighat Temple.
Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the most important temples in India dedicated to Hindu Goddess Maa Kali. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas scattered in many parts of India and adjoining countries. Shakti Peethas are the spots where various parts of Goddess Sati's body fell on the earth. It is said that the right toe of Goddess Sati fell hear in Kalighat. The name of the city Calcutta is also said to have been coined after Kalighat.
The reference of the temple has been found in 15th century composition Mansar Bhasan and 17th century composition Kavi Kankan Chandi. However, the present form of the temple is known to be only 200 years old. The earliest structure of the temple was a small hut built by King Manasingha and the present temple was built by Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family, completed in the year 1809. The image of Goddess Kali inside the main temple is unlike any other Goddess Kali image anywhere.
There is another temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha and different spots like Natmondir, Jor-Bangla, Sosthi Tala and Harkath Tala. The temple sees huge crowd of pilgrims throughout the year.
Another legend depicts about the temple that once a devotee here saw a bright ray of light impending from Bhagirathi River. Then he located the light and discovered a piece of stone in the form of a human toe. In the vicinity of the temple, he also found a 'Svayambhu Lingam' of Nakuleshwar Bhairav. He placed the images in a small temple and started worshipping them in the forest.
The popularity of this temple had grown with the times and it got the recognition of Kalighat Kali Temple.
The present temple structure was constructed about 200 years ago. In 1809, Kalighat Kali Temple was built by Sabarna Roy Chowdhury of Barisha. Kalighat Temple has been often referred in the texts like Mansar Bhasan of 15th century.
The original temple was being built by Raja Basanta Roy, who was the uncle of Pratapaditya and the King of Jessore (Bangladesh). The original temple was sited on the banks of Hooghly; however the river has shifted away from the temple with the period of time. In the past days, traders used to take stop at Kalighat to pay their obeisance to Goddess Kali.
Situated on the banks of Adi Ganga, the temple has a sanctorum in the company of a huge hall by the name of Nat Mandir. In the north-east of this sanctum, there is a Shiva Temple. There is one more shrine dedicated to Radha Krishna. The main attraction of this temple lies in the image of Goddess Kali that bears a long protruded tongue made out of gold.
The main shrine of the temple complex comprises the image of Goddess Kali. The image of the deity appears incomplete. On the initial level, the face of the goddess was made and further tongue and hands made of gold and silver were added to the image. On the day of 'Snan Yatra' (Bathing Ceremony), the priests cover their eyes with cloth strips, while giving the ceremonial bath to the Goddess. Festivals like Kali Puja, Durga Puja, Poila Boishakh, the Bengali New Year day and Sankranti witness huge number of devotees at the temple with offerings.
Time to Visit
The Kaligat Kali temple is open from 5.00 A.M. to 2.00 P.M and 5.00 P.M to 10.30 P.M. It is closed from 2.00 P.M to 5.00 P.M. for Bhog. Aarthis are being held in the morning and evening.
Other Places to Visit
It is a rectangular altar about three feet high bearing a small cactus plant. Beneath the tree there is an altar where three stones are placed side by side - left to right representing the three Goddesses "Sosthi", "Sitola", and "Mongol Chandi". This sacred spot is known as Sosthi Tala or Monosha Tala. This particular altar was constructed by Gobinda Das Mondal in 1880. The place of the altar is the Samadhi of Brahmananda Giri.
It is the spot adjacent to the Natmondir, southwards meant for Bhali. There are two Bhali Peet for animal sacrifices side by side which are called the Hari- Kath. The bigger one is for buffalo sacrifices and the smaller one for goats and sheep. The animals are sacrificed with a single stroke of the knife and there is very little cruelty to animals when compared to the professional abattoirs.
Radha- Krishna Temple
This temple is known as Shamo-ray temple and is situated inside the temple at the west side of the main temple. In the year 1723, a settlement officer of Mushirabad district first erected a separate temple for Radha-Krishna. In 1843 a Zamindar called Udoy Narayan Mondal erected the present temple in the same spot. The Dolmancho was founded in 1858 by Madan Koley of Saha Nagar. The Temple has separate kitchen for preparation of vegetarian Bhog for Radha-Krishna.
Nakhuleshwar Mahadev Temple
This is in Haldar Para lane on the opposite side of the temple behind the police station. This temple is also very old and mentioned in the history. One can have Dharshan here.
This is the sacred tank situated in the south-east of the temple outside the boundary walls. Present area of the tank is approximately 10 cottahs. In the past it was bigger and called 'Kaku-Kunda'. In sixteenth century 'Sati-Ango' was discovered from this particular tank. This tank is well known for its power to bestow the boon of a child. The water from this tank is regarded as sacred as that of the Ganges. Efforts at draining the water from the tank for cleaning has failed in the past showing the possibility of a subterranean with Adi Ganga.
Buses and trams are available in all parts of the city of Kolkata. Kalighat has a Tram depot. So it serves as the starting and ending point for many trams. All buses going to south Kolkata have to pass through Shyam Prasad Mukherjee road. The temple is off this road. You get down in Kalighat bus stop and walk down the Kali Temple road to the temple. Kalighat is connected by metro railway.
Through airways the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is the nearest to the temple.