Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

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Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a well-known Hindu temple situated in the Dakshineswar neighborhood of Kolkata, West Bengal, 9 kilometers from Kolkata Railway Station. It is one of Kolkata's greatest temples and one of the attractions that must be included in Kolkata tour packages. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River.

A little village called Dakshineshwar, north of Kolkata, is home to the Hindu temple known as the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, which is situated on the Hooghly River's eastern bank. A journey to Kolkata is frequently said to be incomplete without a visit to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple due to its famed beauty and allure.

While the mystic sage and reformer Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his wife Sarada Devi are identified with the spiritual history of this temple, the socio-political history connected to the temple is also highly fascinating.

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni of Bengal, was dedicated just two years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, also referred to as India's first war of independence. Even the temple's construction has a historical feel to it because it was designed in the traditional "nava-ratna" or "nine spires" Bengal School of construction style.

History of Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Dakshineshwar was a small settlement in the early 1800s that was encircled by thick forest near the location of the current temple.

philanthropist and ardent devotee of Goddess Kali Rani Rashmoni constructed the exquisite temple of Dakshineshwar. According to legend, Rani Rashmoni desired to make the pilgrimage to Varanasi in order to worship to the mother Goddess. She had a dream about the Goddess telling her to build a temple close to the Ganges and place a statue rather than travel all the way to Varanasi the night before she was supposed to leave for that city.

Rani quickly set about organizing the construction of a temple. After researching various potential temple sites, she settled on a 20-acre tract of land by the eastern banks of the Ganges that included a Muslim burial place that also resembled a tortoise hump and was said to be the most suitable location for Shakti worship in Tantra traditions.

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Another area of the property, which was known as Saheban Bagicha, belonged to a European by the name of John Hasty. The building of a Hindu temple on land that had belonged to multiple faiths represents the harmony of all religions.

The enormous temple complex was constructed over the course of eight years, from 1845 to 1855, at a cost of approximately INR 9 lakhs, of which INR 2 lakhs were spent on the day of the opening. On May 31, 1855, the Hindu holiday known as "snana-yatra," the idols of the Gods and Goddesses were supposed to be set up. From all around the nation, more than 100,000 Brahmins were invited to attend the festivities and were fed. The official name of the temple was Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali temple.

Elder brother of Sri Ramakrishna, Ramkumar Chattopadhayay, was chosen to serve as the temple's chief priest. His younger brother Ramakrishna, then known as Gadadhar, and nephew Hriday helped him out. However, a year after the temple's opening, Ramkumar passed away, leaving the young Ramakrishna and his wife Sarada Devi in charge of all remaining duties. The ground-floor apartment that Sarada Devi resided in, south of Nahabat (the music room), is now a shrine in her honor.

During the following thirty years of his service to the heavenly mother Goddess, Ramakrishna was a significant factor in attracting a large number of people to the temple as well as gaining the temple a great deal of fame. He developed into a fervent follower of Kali and made significant contributions to Bengal's socioreligious climate.

Because she was so kind and open-minded, Rani Rashmoni always wanted the temple to be accessible to members of all social groups, regardless of their caste, creed, or religion. This custom is still practiced today, as pilgrims from all social classes visit the temple in droves.

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Rani Rashmoni died in February 1861, just 5 years and 9 months after the temple's inauguration, therefore she did not survive to see much of the temple's splendor. Knowing she wouldn't be around for long, she left a property at Dinajpur (a region of modern-day Bangladesh) as a legacy for the upkeep of the temple and temple trust. On February 18, 1861, the day after she turned over the legal papers, Rani died dead.

Architecture of Dakshineswar Kali Temple

The Dakshineshwar Kali Temple was constructed in the 'Nava-Ratna' or nine spires style, which is a prominent feature of traditional Bengali architecture. The main Kali temple is a three-story structure that faces south and has nine spires spread across the top two stories.

The main temple is constructed on a 46-square-foot plot of land and rises over 100 feet (30 meters) thanks to a flight of stairs and a high platform. An audience room is located in a small, covered verandah. In addition, a sizable Natmandir was constructed directly in front of the temple.

The deity's idol is kept in the Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum). The Kali at Dakshineshwar, sometimes referred to as Bhavatarini, is seated on Shiva's recumbent chest. The two statues are supported by a pure silver lotus with a thousand petals.

Twelve identical miniature Shiva temples facing east surround the main temple's courtyard and are arranged in a row. The interiors of these temples are finished in black and white stone. There is a Shivalinga constructed of black stone within each temple. The temples were built in the traditional Bengali "Aat-Chala" (eight eaves) architectural style. The 12 jyotirlingas were considered when building the 12 Shiva temples. Sri Ramakrishnan Paramhansa liked to meditate at these Shiva temples, where he is thought to have attained enlightenment.

At the northeastern corner of the main temple is a Vishnu temple that houses idols of Radha and Krishna. This temple, also known as Radha Kanta's temple, is perched on a high platform and has a set of stairs leading up to the interior. The Radha idol is 16 inches, whereas the Lord Krishna idol, which is housed in the Vishnu temple, is 21 and a half inches.

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