Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Dakshineswar Kali Temple

 

Place

:

North 24 Parganas District, West Bengal

Significance

:

Famous for its association with the great religious thinker Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Timings

:

6 am-noon, 3.30-9 pm.

Best Time to Visit

:

October-March

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The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a Hindu temple situated on Kalighat road alongside the Vivekananda or Bally Bridge, in the North 24 Parganas District. Every year, thousands of pilgrims and devotees from different parts of the country and abroad visit this temple. 

It is famous for its association with the great religious thinker Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who spend thirty years in spiritual ecstasy and preached the unity of all religions. He used to serve as the head priest here. This temple was built by a wealthy widow, Rani Rashmoni between 1847 and 1855. It said that, the Divine Mother, in the form of goddess Kali appeared to the Rani in a dream and demanded her to construct a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges River and install her idol in it. Rani, thus built this beautiful temple, dedicated to the deities Shiva and Radha - Krishna. Initially no priest was willing to serve in the temple because of the Rani's low caste, finally an elderly sage was accepted as the head priest and within the year he died and his responsibility passed to his younger brother, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He achieve his spiritual vision of the unity of all Religions. Non Hindus can enter into this temple. The main temple built in the traditional Nava-ratna' or nine spires style of Bengal architecture, is a three-storeyed south-facing temple.

The temple has nine spires and in front of this temple has a large music hall supported by pillars. At the northwest and southwest corners of the temple compound has two music towers. The temple is dedicated to Kali and the sanctum sanctorum houses an idol of goddess Kali known as Ma Bhavataraini (Savior of the World), standing on the chest of a lying Shiva. The idol is portrayed as the four-armed, black skinned and dressed in gold brocade. On the feet of the Goddess and arms contains jeweled ornaments of gold and pearls. She holds a sword and a bloody demon's head in her hands.Other than this main temple, three sides of the paved courtyard except the west contains kitchens, store-rooms, dining-rooms, and quarters for the temple staff and guests. 

Apart from the nine-spired main temple, the temple complex contains a series of 12 other temples dedicated to Lord Siva. Almost identical, it is situated opposite to the Kuthi Bari, close to the banks of the River Ganga. The temples each of them have a Shiva Lingam and pilgrims can pour Ganges water over each of the Shiva lingams.

The temple is dedicated to Kali and the sanctum sanctorum houses an idol of goddess Kali known as Ma Bhavataraini (Savior of the World), standing on the chest of a lying Shiva. The idol is portrayed as the four-armed, black skinned and dressed in gold brocade. On the feet of the Goddess and arms contains jeweled ornaments of gold and pearls. She holds a sword and a bloody demon's head in her hands. This paved courtyard is lined with buildings on three sides except the west contains with buildings on three sides kitchens, store-rooms, dining-rooms, and quarters for the temple staff and guests. 

The chamber in the northwest angle, just beyond the last of the Siva temples is the Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's living room where he lived for 15 years. The bed which he used to rest is carefully preserved. On the top of the bed, a photograph of his is kept here. One can see photos of great men and women who had the divine fortune of coming in contact with the master. North of this room is the Nahabat where Sri Sarada Devi lived. To the west of this, is a semicircular porch overlooking the river. In front of this porch , there is foot path and beyond the path is a large garden and, below the garden, Hooghly (Ganges) River. Further north of the buildings contains the Panchavati a group of five trees planted by Sri Ramakrishna. It is said that Sri Ramakrishna used to meditate under these trees. Outside the temple compound is situated a bungalow, used by members of Rani Rasmani's family. And north of the temple garden, separated from it by a high wall, is a powder-magazine belonging to the British Government.

To the north east of the Temple Complex , there is a temple of Radhakanta, also known as the temple of Vishnu. A flight of steps lead to the columned verandah and into the temple. It contains the images of Radha and Krishna stand on a pedestal facing the west. Daily puja is performed here. One can get puja basket from stalls near the temple, which contains sweets, flowers. Pilgrims usually purchase and hands this basket to a priest, who then offers it to the Goddess and returns a portion tot he pilgrim as Prasad. Apart from these, there is a bathing ghat on the Hoogly river, a bookshop, a shrine to Rani Rashmoni. 

Tuesdays and Saturdays are dedicated to Mother worship and are especially crowded these days. Mandir opened from October to March: 6:00 a.m to 12.30 p.m and 3:00 p.m to 8:30 pm and from April to September: 6 a.m to 12.30 p.m and 3:30 p.m to 9:00 pm. Entry is Free. Photography within the temple compound is prohibited. Shoes are not allowed in the temple.







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