Kalighat is a locality in the city of Kolkata in Eastern India. It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Kolkata.
The river over a period of time, has moved away from the temple.
The temple is now on the banks of a small canal called Adi Ganga which connects to the Main Ganges river known as Hooghly river in Bengal.
These four Pithas are also believed to be the most powerful Shakti Pithas on the planet.
The Kalighat Kali Temple in its present form, is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in a number of 15th century Hindu scriptures, and also in some of the 17th century sacred lores of the Hindus.
The temple is visited by pilgrims from all over India, irrespective of sectarian differences.
Thousands of pilgrims flock daily to Kalighat Temple , treat Mother Goddess Kali very much like a human mother, bringing to her their distressing domestic problems, and prayer requests for prosperity & well-being.
They return to the Mother once again, when their prayers are fulfilled, for expressing their heartfelt gratitude.
To read the reviews of the visiting devotees to this holy shrine of Bengal, visit the Tripadvisor Page of Kalighat Kali Temple.
The image of Kali in this temple is unique. It does not follow the pattern of other Kali images in Bengal.
The present idol of touchstone was created by two saints – Atmaram Brahmachari and Brahmananda Giri.
After Brahmananda Giri, several ascetic saints took over the temple. The last Mahanta of this ascetic-saint tradition was Bhubaneswar Giri.
After Bhubaneswar Giri , the affairs of Kalighat Temple were taken over by householder devotees or Sebaits – his own sons-in-law and daughters.
The dominance of saints, Tantriks and Kapaliks declined considerably thereafter.
Presently, the three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold, and the four hands, all are made of gold too.
Two of these hands hold a scimitar and a severed head of the Asura king ‘Shumbha’.
The scimitar signifies Divine Knowledge and the Asura (Demon) head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha ( Salvation).
The other two hands are in the Abhaya and Varada Mudras or blessings, which means her initiated devotees or for that matter anyone worshiping her with a true heart will be saved from all calamities & misfortunes as the Divine Mother Goddess will guide her devotees here and hereafter.
This is a rectangular altar about three feet high bearing a small cactus plant. Beneath the tree, on an altar three stones are placed side by side – left to right representing the goddesses Shashthi (Shoshti), Shitala and Mangal Chandi.
This sacred spot is known as Shoshti Tala or Monosha Tala. This altar was constructed by Gobinda Das Mondal in 1880.
The place of the altar is the Samadhi of Brahmananda Giri. Here all the priests are female. No daily worship or offering of Bhog (food offering) is done here. The goddesses here are considered a part of Divine Mother Kali.
A large rectangular covered platform called Natmandir has been erected adjacent to the main temple, from where the face of the image can be seen.
This was originally built by Zamindar Kasinath Roy in 1835. It has been subsequently renovated many times.
The spacious verandah of the main temple facing the image is known as Jor Bangla. Rituals occurring inside the Sanctum Sanctorum are visible from the Natmandir through Jor Bangla.
This is the spot adjacent to the Natmandir, southwards meant for Bali (Animal Sacrifice). There are two Sacrificial altars for animal sacrifices side by side. These are known as Hari-Kath.
Radha – Krishna Temple
This temple is known as Shyama-raya temple and is situated inside the temple at the west side of the main temple.
In 1723, a settlement officer of Murshidabad district first erected a separate temple for Radha-Krishna.
In 1843 a Zamindar called Udoy Narayan erected the present temple in the same spot.
There is a separate kitchen for preparing vegetarian Bhog (food offering) for Radha-Krishna.
This is the sacred tank situated in the south-east of the temple outside the boundary walls. In the past it was bigger and called ‘Kaku-Kunda’.
The ‘Sati-Anga’ (The right toe of Sati) fell into this tank. It is believed that taking a dip in this small pond/ tank can bestow one with the boon of a child.
The water from this tank is regarded just as the water from the holy river Ganges. Pilgrims practice the holy dipping event called Snan Yatra.
The Kalighat Temple as a Shakti Peetha
The Temple at Kalighat is revered as an important Shakti Pitha by the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. The mythology of Daksha Yajna and Sati’s self immolation is the story behind the origin of the Shakti Peethas.
He had many daughters, one of whom was Sati, an incarnation of the Primordial Mother Goddess or Shakti.
Sati was married to Shiva, the ascetic, whose abode was in the cold and snowy recesses of the Kailasa Parvat.
Daksha had frowned upon the marriage, as Shiva was a penniless man, quite unlike the King that Daksha was.
In time, Daksha decided that he would arrange a Yajna or a Vedic Sacrifice in which he would invite all the gods, except his son-in-law Shiva.
Sati – his daughter, came to her father’s place uninvited and faced a flurry of insults from her father about her husband.
Unable to bear the insults, she fell into the sacrificial fire and put an end to her life.
The news of the death of his beloved wife Sati set Shiva on a delirious rage and he started the Tandava or the Cosmic Dance of Destruction with the body of Sati in hand.
Vishnu – the Hindu god of preservation – managed to chop her body down into fifty one pieces, which fell over the length and breadth of India. Many of these places are in modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.
Shakti Peethas or divine seats of Shakti or the Primordial Mother Goddess, thus came into being wherever these severed parts of Sati’s body had fallen.
Each of the 51 Peethas have a temple dedicated to the Shakti or the Primordial Mother, and a temple dedicated to the Bhairava or Shiva, the Father of the Universe, essentially to show the philosophical fact that a man is nothing without his Shakti or Woman and vice versa.
It is believed that the right big toe of Sati fell here at Kalighat. For more details see Wikipedia page pf Kalighat Kali temple
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