Kalighat Kali Temple

Kalighat Kali Temple
Kalighat Kali Temple

The Kali Temple in Kolkata is one of the four Adi Shakti Peethas throughout India, and it holds a special significance to devout followers. Here, according to legend, are where parts of Sati’s body fell during Shiva’s Rudra Tandava. In particular, Kalighat marks the spot that represents where her right toes touched ground. Another story states that long ago an eager devotee noticed a brilliant light beaming from the Bhagirathi River – this formed as an omen for what was yet to come!

When he finally found the light, there lay a human toe-shaped stone. Beside it was located Nakuleshwar Bhairav’s ‘Svayambhu Lingam’. He constructed a small temple to properly venerate these items and began worshipping them in their secluded forest home. The area is now known as the Kalighat Kali Temple – dedicated solely to goddess Kali!

Raja Basanta Roy, uncle of Pratapaditya and King of Jessore (Bangladesh), constructed the original temple on the banks of Hooghly. Over time, however, the river moved away from its location. Traders in former times frequently stopped at Kalighat to offer reverence to Goddess Kali.

Located on the picturesque banks of Adi Ganga, this temple boasts a holy sanctum accompanied by an enormous Nat Mandir. In the northeast corner lies a Shiva Temple and in addition, there is one more shrine dedicated to Radha Krishna. The most remarkable feature of this alluring place of worship though is obviously that golden statue of Goddess Kali whose extended tongue adds to its majestic beauty.

Visit the Kali Temple in Kolkata and marvel at the incomplete image of Goddess Kali. Over time, gold and silver hands and her tongue were added to complete her form. On Snan Yatra (Bathing Ceremony) day, priests adorn their eyes with cloth strips as they give a ceremonial bath to Her Highness! Witness massive crowds during festivals such as Kali Puja, Durga Puja or Poila Boishakh while offering prayers to seek blessings from this revered goddess.

The current temple structure was constructed in the 19th Century and is two centuries old. But references to this holy place have been found in religious writings as far back as 15th century Mansar Bhasan, 17th century Kavi Chandi, and Lalmohon Bidyanidhis’s ‘Sambanda Nirnoy” of much later age. Clearly, Kalighat Kali Temple has held a special significance for generations!

Legends state that the initial temple was a humble hut-like structure, which King Manasingha modernized and upgraded in the early 16th century. Subsequently, under the protection of Sabarna Roy Chowdhury’s Barisha family, its current construction was completed by 1809.

By Air:
Located 25 kilometres away from the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, it takes approximately 50 minutes to an hour to reach the temple. Taking a cab provided by one of Kolkata’s top car rental companies is your best bet for getting there conveniently and on time!

By Bus:
All buses travelling to South Kolkata take you down the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road, a road that lies off Temple Road. Once at Kalighat bus station, simply make your way towards Kali temple and walk along Temple Road until you reach your destination.

By Train:
Howrah Junction is the closest train station to Temple, being connected by rail line to all of India’s top cities. You can easily get there by taking a cab ride, or choosing one of the local buses available in abundance.

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