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Kalighat Temple

Kalighat Temple
Fact File
» Timing - 5.00 A.M. -3.00 P.M.& 5.00 P.M. -10.00 P.M.

Located in the city of Kolkata on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi), it is popularly known as Kalighat. There is a theory that the name Kalikata anglicised into Calcutta and is derived from the temple at Kalighat.

About Kalighat Temple
The temple at Kalighat as a place of worship for the Sakti cultists was set up by the Sabarna Roy Choudhurys, A famous Brahmin Zamindar family of Barisa in the district of 24 Parganas. This family was one of the foremost Brahmin families in Bengal and still continues to be very highly regarded for the various contributions to the cultural development of Bengal. Different branches of the Sabarna Roy Choudhurys had settled themselves at other villages, namely, Halisahar, portions of Calcutta, Baruipur, etc.

The original temple was a small hut. A small temple was constructed by King Manasingha in the early Sixteenth century. The present temple was built in 1809 on the site of an ancient temple.

It is believed that the swirling wheel of Lord Vishnu had sliced off the corpse of Goddess Sati, when Lord Shiva was performing his menacing dance (Pralay) with her on his shoulders, in a fit of tremendous rage. The slices of her body fell at different places which later turned into pilgrimage centers for the devout Hindus. Kalighat is one such sacred spot where a toe of the Goddess's right foot is believed to have dropped. In the months of Bhadra, Paush and Chaitra (according to Bengali calendar), Kalighat turns into a confluence of devout Bengali and non-Bengali pilgrims.

Scientist, Dr. A. Sarkar of University of Northedam, Indiana, USA sent a message which says ' I never believed in myths and had never any trust on Gods and Goddess till i had my wife miraculously got back her life after our first child birth and both survived beyond's doctor's imaginations from the claws of death. Surely there is some power Supreme, somewhere to do and undo nything in this mortal world. We are to get touch of that power through the blessings of that Allmighty. For me the Nirmalya from Kalighat did that marvel, a miracle above all science any human can think over'.

The pujas and other festivals of light, crackers and colorful processions connected with Navarathri celebrations are hallmarks and highlights of the festivals conducted in honour of Goddess Kali. This temple of Mother Kali is one of the 52 Shakthi Peetams in India and does known for her aggressive yet love nature. Apart from the divine power of the residing deity, the temple has long been famous for its fine examples of terracotta art, though a lot of it has been ravaged by time.

The idol of Goddess Kali is made of black stone and decorated with gold and silver. The one of Lord Shiva is in silver. The goddess is offered a ceremonial bath every year on the snan-yatra day, the rituals being performed by the head priest. Kali represents the destructive side of Siva's consort and demands daily sacrifices; therefore in the morning goats have their throats slit here to satisfy the goddess's bloodlust. During the day many poor people come here for a free feed.

Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kaali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Kolkata is said to have been named after him. Kalighat kali temple is always over crowded with devotees from all over the world.

The Dakshineswar Kaali temple across from the river, near Belur Math, bears an image of Kaali worshipped by the spiritual leader Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, guru of Swami Vivekananda.

Nearby Attraction :
Nakuleshwar Mandir
The Nakuleshwar Mandir is in front of the Kali temple. Built in 1805, the temple was founded by Tara Singh, a Punjabi merchant. Kalighat started to gain prominence simultaneously with the growth and development of Calcutta. During this time, an indigenous canvas art emerged in Kalighat. It became popular as 'Kalighat Pot' (canvas art of Kalighat).

Hospital for the Dying Destitute
The Hospital for the Dying Destitute by Mother Teresa is near the temple, where the Missionaries' important work can be observed first-hand. The temple and hospital are 2km (1.2mi) southeast of the zoo.

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