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History of Dakshineswar Kali Temple

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In the year 1848, the wealthy widow zamindarni Rani Rasmanidevi organized a pilgrimage to Kashi in the spirit of worshiping Annapurna. He left in 24 boats with his relatives, slaves and supplies. According to legend, on the eve of the journey, the queen had a dream of goddess Kali. The goddess instructed her not to go to Kashi and worship by setting up Kalis idol in a temple on the banks of the Ganges and as soon as she is worshipped she will appear in that idol.

Having this dream, the queen immediately bought land on the banks of the Ganges and started the construction of the temple in the year 1848 until 1855.

The 20-acre plot of the temple was purchased from John Hasty a native Englishman. Part of it was the tortoise-shaped Muslim cemetery. So in Tantra Sadhana the place is considered suitable for energy worship. This temple was built in eight years at a cost of nine lakh rupees at that time. The statue was erected in the temple in a grand procession on 31 May 1855, the day of the bathing procession. Earlier the worship of the temple was called Mata Bhavatarini Kalika. Sri Ramkumar Chattopadhyay became the chief priest, his younger brother Gadadhar or Gadai (later Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa dev) became his associate. Later his nephew’s also continued to help him.

The next year Sri Ramkumar passed away and the reponsibilies were passed to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa dev. Sarada Devi the wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramansha dev was his spiritual consort and used to stay in Nahabatkhana outside the temple premises. This Nahabatkhana is now the temple of Goddess Sarada.

From this time till 1886 until he died, Sri Ramakrishna stayed in this temple for about thirty years. Due to its location, the temple later became a pilgrimage site.

Architecture:

The temple is built in the Navaratna style of Bengali architecture. The main temple has three floors. Its nine peaks are divided into two upper floors. The temple faces south. The sanctum sanctorum is located on a raised building. The building is 48 square feet wide and 100 feet high.

In the sanctum sanctorum (Sanctum Sanctuary) the idol known as Bhavatarini is established on the chest of Shiva. These two idols are placed on a silver lotus.

The twelve temples of the same type facing east near the main temple are built in the Atchalastha architecture. These temples stand on two sides of a ghat of the Ganges. To the north-east of the temple premises is the Vishnu Mandir or Radhakanta Mandir. In this temple a twenty-one and a half inch Krishna and sixteen inch Radha idols are installed on a silver throne.

Dakshineswar Kalibari is known for the living Kali temple located on the banks of the Hooghly River. It is located in Dakshineswar which is in North 24 Parganas district. The temple was established by the famous Manabdardi zamindar Rani Rasmoni in the year 1855. Here Goddess Kali is worshiped as “Bhavatarini”. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa dev, a prominent yogi of the nineteenth century used to worship goddess Kali in this temple.

Summary:

It is said that Rani Rasmoni established this temple after Goddess Kali instructed to do so in her dreams. The grandfather of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa dev, Sri Ramkumar Chattopadhyay helped the queen a lot during the establishment of the temple. Sri Ramkumar was the first high priest of this temple. In the year 1858-56, the young Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa dev took charge of this temple.

Dakshineswar Kalibari is home to several temples and other Srines besides the Kali Mandir. The main temple is the Navaratna temple which is inspired by the Navaratna temple built by Ramnath Mandal in Taliganj. In addition to the main temple, there are twelve Shiva temples together known as the “Twelfth Shiva Temple”. The Radhakrishna temple known as “Sri Sri Radhakanta Mandir” is located in the north of the main temple and the Natmandir is located in the south. The residence of Ramakrishna Paramahansa dev is still there in the temple premise and there are several other places associated with the memory of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa dev and his family. These places are considered as Srines by devotees today.

Route:

You will get bus services from all parts of Kolkata to Dakshineswar and walk for 10 minutes towards the temple, on the way you will get lot of brokers, I would advise you to avoid them. You can also take train to Dakshineswar railway station and walk 10 minutes to the temple.

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