Kolkata – Kalighat Kali Temple

Kolkata – Kalighat Kali Temple is dedicated to goddess Kali (Parvati). It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.

Kalighat was a Ghat  sacred to Kali on Hooghly river (Bhāgirathi) in the city of Calcutta. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. 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 Hoogly

Location:

Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700026
Phone: 033 2243 6440

Worship

Pilgrims treat Kali much like a human mother, bringing her their domestic problems and prayers for prosperity, and returning when their prayers are fulfilled to express their gratitude.

Legend

Kalighat is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati’s body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva’s Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell. Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhāgirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Svayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshiping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.]

The image of Kali

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 – Brahmananda Giri and Atmaram Giri. Three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold and four hands, which all are made of gold too. Two of these hands holding a scimitar and a severed head of the asura king ‘Shumbha’. The scimitar signifies Divine Knowledge and the asura (or, human) head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands are in the abhaya and varada mudras or blessings, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshiping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and hereafter.

Temple details

Sosthi Tala

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 (Sosthi), Sitala and Mangal Chandi. This sacred spot is known as Sosthi 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 as part of Kali.

Natmondir

A large rectangular covered platform called Natmondir 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 often.

Jor-bangla

The spacious varandah of the main temple Facing the image is known as Jor Bangla. Rituals occurring inside the sanctum sanctorum are visible from the Natmondir through the Jor-bangla.

Harkath Tala

This is the spot adjacent to the Natmondir, southwards meant for Bali (sacrifice). There are two Sacrificial altars for animal sacrifices side by side. These are known as 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 scimitar 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

Kalighat Temple Tank (Kundupukur)

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 16th century ‘Sati-Ango’ ( the right toe of Sati) was discovered from this 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.

Associated Temples

Nakhuleshwar Mahadev Temple

This Shiva temple is dedicated to the consort of Maa Kali. It is situated 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.

The four Shiva temples inside the temple were constructed by different shebait families who retain control over them.

How to reach

Kalighat is located in Kolkata (Calcutta) which is well connected by Road, Rail and Air.

Buses are available from all parts of Calcutta. All buses going to south Calcutta have to pass through Shyam Prasad Mukherjee road. The temple is off this road. You get down in Kalighat (Kalighat Tram Depot) bus stop and walk down the Kali Temple road to the temple. Kalighat is connected by Metro railway.

The nearest metro stations are Jatin Das Park and Kalighat. Please take the Northern exit in Jatin Das Park and the Southern exit in Kalighat.

The steps in Jatin Das Park station are many and steep. There is an escalator part of the way in Kalighat station. It is advisable for elderly people to alight at the Kalighat station.

Timings

The 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. There are Aarthis in the morning and evening.

The temple schedule as per the notice put up.

Sun/Sat/Tue Weekdays
Opening Time
(For Mongal Aarti)
4.00 A.M 4.00 A.M
Opening Time
(For Public)
5.00 A.M 5.00 A.M
Nitya Puja 5.30 A.M to
7.00 A.M
5.30 A.M to
7.00 A.M
Bhog Rag 2.30 P.M. to
3.30 P.M.
2.00 P.M. to
3.00 P.M.
Sandhya Aarti 6.30 P.M. to
7.00 P.M.
6.30 P.M. to
7.00 P.M.
Closing of Temple 11.30 P.M. 10.30 P.M.

Tuesdays and Saturdays are special days for worship. Ashtami days are also special.

Wednesday or Thursdays are the best day to visit to avoid crowds.

Avoid Touts, Dalals and Pandas, follow temple guidelines

The queue for the Varandah (Jor- bangla) is under the control of the Dalals and Pandas and they allow people to enter at different points.

Dalals and Pandas say it will take hours to have Dharshan in the Garbha Graha (Nijo -Mandir) and advised to go in the Varandah (Jor- bangla) queue which is not correct. Veriy your self don’t fall trap of Dalals.

You can have better Dharshan in the Garbha Graha (Nijo -Mandir).

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