Bhadrakali Temple Kalighat, Kolkata

About The Temple

A Glimpse Into The History And Legends of Sree Bhadrakali Temple Kalighat

Kalighat temple is dedicated to the worship of Divine Mother BhadraKali. It is situated in southern part of Kolkata, the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal. King Manasingha erected the original structure as a small temple in the 16th century. The family of Sabarna Roy Chowdhury constructed the present structure of the temple in 1809.

Center of historical and religious significance

The Kalighat Temple is one of the most important of the 51 Shakti Peeths in India. The temple has an immense historical significance. This bhadrakali mandir has a high religious value among the followers of Shaktidharma or the doctrine of power. The temple is highly significance to the Shaktism cult of the Hindu religion. It is a revered Shakti Peeth, where people from every community, irrespective of sectarian divide come to offer obeisance to the Divine Mother. It is a holy shrine frequented by people from every part of India. This temple is also associated with the tantric cult of worship. Chowranga Giri, a renowned monk from the Dasanami sect of Shaktism had worshipped Goddess Kali in this temple for a long time.

History of idol worship

The presiding deity is Divine Mother sree bhadrakali. The Goddess Kali is worshipped in different incarnations in the temple. The deity, Divine Mother Kali is revered as the Goddess beyond all forms. The deity is worshipped as the source of all forms of energy. Hence, Goddess Bhadrakali is considered as Adi Shakti and the slayer of evil. The presiding is revered as the head of the ten Mahavidyas and devourer of time. The devotees have a humanly relation with the Goddess, very much like the relation of a human child and its mother.

Appearance of the idol

The idol of the Goddess in the Kalighat temple is rather unique. It is very different from the other idols worshipped across Bengal. The idol is made of touchstone and gold, which was made by two saints, Brahmananda Giri and Atmaram Giri. The idol in the Kalighat Temple features three eyes, a protruding tongue and four hands. The tongue and hands are made of solid gold. The Goddess is depicted as holding a scimitar in her upper left hand and the lower left hand is shown as holding the severed head of a demon.

Other shrines in the temple

There are several other shrines inside the temple complex. Sosthi Tala is a rectangular altar, which is about one meter high and consists of a tree. Three stones are laid on the altar, which signify Goddesses Sasthi, Sitala and Mangal Chandi. This shrine is also called Monosha Tala. Natmondir is a large, roofed platform that lies adjacent to the main temple. Harkath Tala is a sacrifice altar meant for animal sacrifices. Besides, a Radha-Krishna Temple is also present in the temple premises.

Methods of worship

The Divine Mother is worshipped according to the tantric cult. The worship of the goddess in the temple follows Kalikula or family of Kali, method of worship. This aspect of worship is prevalent in northern and eastern India. Kalikula method of worship follows the ideal that the Divine Mother is the source of wisdom and path to attain Moksha or liberation. The Shaktas, followers of Shaktidharma believe that Goddess Kali is the Divine Mother who protects her children with fierceness from all evil. The Goddess is also regarded to be the source of all beauty. Worshipping involves chanting of sacred mantras, offering of flowers and animal sacrifices.

Important religious occasions

The most important religious occasion in the temple is Kali Puja, also known as Shyama Puja. It is celebrated on the first moonless night of the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. Special events are held in the temple. Hordes of devotees throng the temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess. The Godhead of the Kalighat temple is worshiped at night according to tantric rituals and mantras. The Goddess is offered offerings of red hibiscus flowers and food. Animal sacrifices also held to please the Goddess.

Another important occasion is the Mahashivaratri, which is celebrated with enormous enthusiasm. Mahashivaratri is a religious festival that celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with his consort Parvati, an incarnation of Goddess Kali. Lord Shiva is worshipped by bathing the Shiva Lingam with water, milk and honey. Offerings of white flowers are made to Lord Shiva. Since, Goddess Kali is considered to be the wife of Lord Shiva, Mahashivaratri is celebrated with great zeal in the Kalighat Temple.

An important pilgrimage

Kalighat is an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus, especially for the followers of the Shakti cult of Hinduism. Since it is one of the most important Shakti Peeths of India, hordes of devotees visit the temple every day to offer obeisance and seek the blessings of the Divine Mother.

How To Reach

It is very easy to reach Kalighat because it is located in the heart of southern Kolkata. There are numerous modes of transport available to reach the Kalighat bhadrakali mata Temple.

 

  • You can easily reach Kolkata from any city in India by air. All domestic and international air-carriers operate flights to Kolkata. Kolkata is connected to almost all the important cities of the world. The Kalighat temple lies at a distance of 23.5 kilometers from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. It takes about 55 minutes to cover the distance.
  • Kolkata is connected by train services with almost every city and bigger towns in the country. There are several railway stations in Kolkata. However, the two most important stations are Howrah and Sealdah. Kalighat is located at about a distance of 10 kilometers from Howrah station. Sealdah station is almost at a distance of 8 kilometers from Kalighat Temple.
  • State-run buses operated by Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal Transport Corporation are also available if you want to reach Kolkata from any one of the neighboring states. Local bus and taxi service is widely available from every part of Kolkata to the Kalighat Temple.

 

Besides, the easiest mode of local transport is the Kolkata Metro Railway Service, which connects Kalighat to almost every part of Kolkata.

Nearby Attractions

You must visit many places if you are in Kolkata. There are lot of temples and other places of tourist interest in Kolkata. You can travel to numerous sites from the bhadrakali maa Kalighat Temple.

  • Dakshineshwar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, which is located in Kolkata. It is located at a distance of 31 kilometers from Kalighat Temple. Maa Bhavatarini is the presiding deity of the temple. The temple lies on the banks of the river Hooghly.
  • Belur Math is another place of religious and spiritual importance. It is the Head-quarters of the Ramakrishna Mission. Thousands of devotees of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansadev and Swami Vivekananda visit this place daily. It is also located on the banks of river Hooghly. It lies at a distance of about 18 kilometers from Kalighat Temple.
  • Tarapith is also an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus. It is situated in Birbhum district of West Bengal. The temple is famous for its tantric methods of worship performed by Sadhak Bamakhepa. The distance between this place and Kalighat is approximately 228 kilometers.
  • Another famous religious attraction in Kolkata is the Birla Temple. The presiding deities of the temple are Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. The temple also houses Goddess Durga. The temple lies at a distance of 3.5 kilometers from Kalighat.
  • Victoria Memorial is yet another important tourist site in Kolkata. It is a reminiscence of the British rule in India. The Central Chamber and Calcutta Gallery exhibit the city’s colonial era. Kalighat is located at a distance of 3.5 kilometers from here.
  • The Indian Museum located in the heart of Kolkata is the largest Museum in India. It houses an amazing range of rare artifacts and other materials of historical significance.
  • Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is one place you cannot afford to miss if you are in Kolkata. Sunderbans is the only place in the world where tigers live in swamps. The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is located at a distance of about 130 kilometers from Kolkata.

History Of Temple

The legend of the Kalighat Temple

The Kalighat Temple is associated with the legend of Sati, which is the origin of the Shakti Peethas of India. Sati was the daughter of Daksha Prajaapati, so she is also known as Devi Dakshayani. Sati had married Lord Shiva, an ascetic. Daksha Prajaapati was against this marriage. So, King Daksha hatched a conspiracy to insult Lord Shiva, his son-in-law. Sati was unable to tolerate the humiliation of her husband and she immolated herself in the homa, a sacred sacrificial fire. Lord Shiva was profusely enraged by the loss of his wife. Mad with fury, he placed the body of Sati on his shoulders and performed Tandava, the dance of destruction. Lord Vishnu, in a bid to stop Lord Shiva from destroying the universe, cut the body of Sati into numerous pieces with his weapon Sudarshan chakra.

The pieces from the corpse of Devi Dakshayani fell to different spots across the Indian sub-continent. And, Shakti Peethas were made in reverence to bhadra kali maa in every place where the pieces had fallen. Kalighat temple is the place where the big toe of the right foot of Sati had fallen. Hence, it is a very important pilgrimage site for the Hindus. In the Kalighat temple, the Goddess Kali is also worshipped in the form of Maa Adi Parashakti, the primary source of energy. There is another story related to these events. After the self-immolation of Sati, Lord Shiva created Veerbhadra and Bhadrakali from two strands of dreadlock from his head to wreak havoc in the royal court of Prajaapati Daksha. Veerbhadra is the fierce form of Lord Shiva himself and Bhadrakali is the consort of Veerbhadra.

In the Basukinath Dham, the temples of Basukinath and Parvati stand facing each other. It is believed that Lord Shiva and his consort meet each other every evening. Hence, visitors are not allowed to enter the premises for a certain time during sunset.