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Dakshineswar Kali Temple
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Dakshineswar Kali Temple

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple (Bengali: Dokkhineshsh r Kali Mondir, Sanskrit: ) is a Hindu temple located in Dakshineswar near Kolkata. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, meaning, 'She who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e Sa s ra'.[1] The temple was built by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali in 1855. The temple is famous for its association with Ramakrishna a mystic of 19th Century Bengal.

The temple compound, apart from the nine-spired main temple, contains a large courtyard surrounding the temple, with rooms along the boundary walls. There are twelve shrines dedicated to Shiva Kali's companion along the riverfront, a temple to Radha-Krishna, a bathing ghat on the river, a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. The chamber in the northwestern corner just beyond the last of the Shiva temples, is where Ramakrishna spent a considerable part of his life.



The name of the idol of Kali worshiped in the temple is Bhavatarini. Shown here, is a picture of the deity adorned with priceless jewelleries and other accessories. Ramakrishna came to the temple in 1855, as an assistant to his elder brother, Ramkumar, the head priest, a job he took over the next year, after Ramkumar's death Photograph of Dakshineshwar temple from 'Views of Calcutta and Barrackpore' was taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s

The presiding temple deity, Bhavatarini, with a foot over Shiva
The presiding temple deity, Bhavatarini, with a foot over Shiva
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was founded around the middle of the 19th Century by Rani Rashmoni.[2] Rani Rashmoni belonged to Kaivarta caste[3] and was well known for her philanthropic activities. In the year 1847, Rashmoni, prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred Hindu city of Kashi to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. Rani was to travel in twenty four boats, carrying relatives, servants and supplies. According to traditional accounts, the night before the pilgrimage began, Rashmoni had a vision of the Divine Mother, in the form of the goddess Kali in a dream and reportedly said,[4]

Profoundly affected by the dream, Rani immediately looked for and purchased land, and promptly began construction of the temple. The large temple complex was built between 1847 and 1855. The plot was bought from an Englishman, John Hastie and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha,[5] partly old Muslim burial ground shaped like a tortoise, considered befitting for the worship of Shakti according to Tantra traditions, it took eight years and nine hundred thousand rupees to complete the construction, and finally the idol of Goddess Kali was installed 31 May 1855, amid festivities at the temple formally known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay as the head priest; soon his younger brother Gadai or Gadadhar (later known as Ramakrishna) moved in and so did nephew Hriday to assist him.[1]

The next year, Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay died, the position was given to Ramakrishna, along with his wife Sarada Devi, who stayed in the south side of the Nahabat (music room), in a small room on the ground floor, which now a shrine dedicated to her.

From then until his death 30 years later in 1886, Ramakrishna was responsible for bringing much in the way of both fame and pilgrims to the temple.[6]


Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, built on a raised platform. Built in the traditional 'Nava-ratna' or nine spires style of Bengal architecture, the three-storeyed south-facing temple has nine spires distributed in upper two storeys, and stands on a high platform with a flight of stairs, over all it measures square and rises over high.

The garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) houses an idol of goddess Kali idol, known as Bhavataraini, standing on the chest of a lying Shiva, and the two idols are placed on a thousand-petaled lotus made of silver.

Close to the main temple are the row of twelve identical Shiva temples built facing the east in the typical Aat Chala Bengal architecture, they are built on either side of the ghat on the Hoogly river. To the North east of the Temple Complex is the Vishnu Temple or the Radha Kanta s Temple. A flight of steps lead to the columned verandah and into the temple where a silver throne rests with a 21 and half inches idol of Lord Krishna and idol of Radha.


Image:Dakshineswar.jpg|The main temple, the Radha-Gobindo temple and the Naat Mandir Image:Shiva temples.jpg|The Lord Shiva temples at Dakshineswar Image:Flower_stall_at_Dakshineswar.JPG|The flower vending stall: Flowers are used in puja. Image:Rashmoni_Shrine_Dakshineswar.JPG|Shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni Image:Dakshineswar Temple.jpg|The temple complex from Bally Bridge Image:Dakshineswar Spires.jpg|Terra-cotta roof of the temple File:Nahabat of Dakshineswar Kali Temple.jpg|The south side of the Nahabat, where Sarada Devi lived in a small room on the ground floor File:Sarada Devi's Room Nahabat.jpg|Sarada Devi's tiny room on the ground floor of the Nahabat, now a shrine. File:Dakshineswar Temple view from outside the temple gates.JPG|View of the main temple from the newly created car parking area outside the temple courtyard. File:Daksineswarflowersinganges.jpg|People dump hibiscus flowers that has been offered to Maa Kali at the Dakshineshwar temple. File:Maa Bhavatarini's face @ Dakshineshwar Kali Temple.JPG|The deity of the temple is named Maa Bhavatarini. File:The Kali idol @ Dakshineshwar.JPG|The diety of the temple.

Further reading

See also



External links

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