Dakshineswar Kali Temple
A little outside of Kolkata, around 16 Km from Esplanade, the Bhavatarini Mata, an aspect of Kali Mata, founded a temple profoundly known as Dakshineswar Kali Temple situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. The name Bhavatarini meaning ‘She who liberates her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e. ‘Samsara’.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple,formally known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali, built up by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali on 31st May, 1855.
Story Behind The Build Up Of Dakshineswar Kali Temple:
In the year 1847 Rani Rashmoni made a preparation to make a long pilgrimage tour to Kashi, a Hindu sacred place of India. According to the traditional account, one night before the journey she got a dream from Ma Annapurna and reportedly said,
“There is no need to go to Kashi. Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges River and arrange for my worship there. Then I shall manifest myself in the image and accept worship at that place.”
According to that order, Rani bought 20 acre land in Dakhsineswar Village from an English Man John Hastie and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha, which also comprises some land of Muslim Burial ground which becomes beneficial for Tantra Tradition as the place is suitable for worshiping for Shakti, The Ultimate Power.
To finish the whole construction, it took 8 years and nine thousand rupees. On the day of Snana Yatra of Jyeshtha dated on 31 May 1855, the idol of Ma Kali, established within the temple. ON that same day over 1 lakh priest were invited from all over the country to enrich the occasion.
The head priest was Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay and later on his brother Shri Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa whose actual name was Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, became the head priest along with his wife Sarada Devi, who was addressed as “Ma”. The divine power of Shri Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa makes this place more popular towards the devotees.
Experiencing Dakshineswar Temple:
An experience of the peaceful historic place starts as the pilgrim enters into the courtyard of Dakshineswar temple.
The Bhavatarini Mata temple, situated at the center.
In the front of main temple there is a prayer hall or Nat Mandir, assembly hall for devotees and also used for Bhajans, Kirtans, Pandit Sabha etc. A famous history, laid inside the Nat Mandir. In 1864 an assembly of Pandits was arranged by Mathur Babu to judge the divinity power of Sri Ramkrishna on the request of Bhairavi Brahman, who courting from the sacred text declared before great scholars about the divine experience of Sri Ramkrishna. Pandit Vaishnaba Acharya proclaimed Sri Ramkrishna experienced Mahabhava like Radhaand Chaityna.
And on the northern side is the RadhaKanta Temple. RadhaKanta Temple comprises of three rooms, of which in the middle room the image of Radha Krishna is placed and other two rooms of both the side have Old image of Radha Krishna along with the statue of Shri Shri Ramkrishna and the image of Lord Ram, the family deity of Rani Rashmoni Devi.
On the west of the courtyard 12 Shiva temples, erected both side of the Chandni Temple, six in a side.
Shri Ramkrishna stayed in a room which is on the northern corner of the main temple.
Along the southern and the eastern side of the boundary of the courtyard are the Office Room, Kitchen and Stores.
“Bali Sthan” is in between Nat Mandir and Office.
The Architecture plays a very important role. You can see three different types of design of Temple Architecture of Bengal which makes you spell bound.
The three types are: 1) Dalan or Bangla Mandir
2) Chala Mandir
3) Ratna or Chura Mandir
All three are present in this temple and make the temple a piece of art.
Ma Bhavatarini Temple followed the Ratna Architecture whereas Vishnu Mandir and 12 Shiva Mandir followed Dalan Tradition and Chala Tradition respectively. Navaratna Mandir of Ma Kali is the finest architecture of Ratna architecture. Navaratna Style signifies the nine terraces of 3 tier roof, whose gracefulness reflects the genius of architecture of Bengal. The height of Main Temple is 100ft with a base of 46 and half square feet.
The Inner Shrine or Garva Mandir is about 15sq feet.
Finally after finishing a long queue when your vision can penetrate the entrance of the Garva Mandir, the divine beauty of Ma Bhavatarini makes you feel fresh and much stronger from the inner of your soul.
What you can see inside is a black stone image of Ma Kali, 33and half feet tall, stands on the chest of Lord Shiva, facing south. In addition the white marble image of Lord Shiva lies on 1000 petals of Silver Lotus placed on a shiny black stone base.
Lord Shiva is lying as a dead person, represents Shiva Tattva or Inactive Brahman whereas Ma kali represents Sakti Tattva.
Here divine mother standing with 4 arms in the form of Dakshina Kali making her red tongue out, bitten by white teeth signifies controlling Rajas by Satya according to the Tantra. The upper right hand signifies “Abhayamudra” (giving protection of her children), her lower right hand is in “Brahmamudra” (giving blessing and giving of boons). The upper left hand holding “Kharga” signifies divine knowledge and lower left hand holds Human Head signifies “Human Ego”.
The idol, decorated by Silver Chalchitra along with four silver pillars and Ma Kali, adorned by Golden Garland of Human Heads and Hands. Big image of jackal, placed on the base of the idol and small images of Bull, Lizard, Swine and Lion, placed on the four pillars. Additionally in front right side an image of Ganesha and in left a silver image of Sri Ramkrishna. A Mangala Ghat, set before the idol, worshiped daily. After making your visit complete if you have leisure time then must visit the Ganges ghat. The cool breeze makes you feel energetic and you can click some photographs as memory. You can also cross the river by boat and make some thrilling experience. On the opposite side another holy place is Belur Math about which I will write in my next blog.
Till then happy exploring.
- Photography prohibited inside the temple.
- In evening the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is worth watching.
- Tuesdays and Saturdays, believed as auspicious day for Kali worship. On both these days, there is a huge gathering of devotees at the Dakshineswar temple. Not to mention the Sandhya Aarti is the prime attraction of devotees, which is truly incredible.
- Moreover twelve temples of Shiva decorate the premise of Dakshineswar Temple, each housing Shiva Lingas of black stone.
- Dakshineswar temple becomes a center of attraction mainly during the Kali Puja. The temple, decorated wonderfully with flowers and amazing lighting arrangement.
How to reach dakshineswar from Kolkata :
- By train – Dakshineswar is railway station on theSealdah (in the heart of Kolkata)- Dankuni (on the Howrah-Bardhaman chord line) sector. It is 14 km from Sealdah and 10 km from Dankuni. Most local trains especially Dankuni Local from Sealdah station stop here. Additionally long distance trains such as Darjeeling mail also stop at this station.
- By road – Connected to Kolkata. One has to travel along Barrackpore Trunk Road, a major artery in north Kolkata, and turn left for Dakshineswar just after Baranagore and before Dunlop rail over bridge. Moreover Belghoria fly-over will connect it to Jessore Road and Dum Dum airport. Vivekananda Setu across the Hooghly River at Dakshinewar connects it to, Bally, Uttarpara and Dankuni on the other bank and on to Grand Trunk Road, Delhi Road, Bombay Road and Durgapur Expressway. Additionally new bridge named ‘Nivedita Setu’, built to ease out the load of old bridge, ‘Vivekananda Setu’. There are many buses from Kolkata, as well from places across the river.