Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

2:23 pm

 This July I had started a new blog that many of my friends and followers here on my blog were unaware of, mainly because I didn't tell anyone. It was supposed to be a space exclusively for all the religious and spiritual places that I've been to till date and sort of a tourist guide/travelogue/review sort of a mix. I don't know, hadn't thought it through. Anyways, after exactly two posts, I abandoned the blog because well, turns out, two blogs is just too many for me. And today, way into November I think, why can't I just write all that stuff down here? I write about pretty much everything else that grabs my fancy in this blog anyways. So now then, this shall be my one and only blog. Just note that anything to do with my tourist guide/travelogue/review of religious or/and spiritual places shall be labbled on this blog under "a little bit of faith".

This is what I had written in that other blog way back in July of this year. I'm copying and pasting it here and deleting the other blog. Enjoy or ignore, as you please.

As mentioned earlier, I wanted to blog about the religious and spiritual places that I have been to for a long time now. But I only got to it today. And since it is difficult to just start with any one out the many places that I have visited, I shall begin with the temple I visited most recently. I went to Kolkata this past weekend with my family and my parents insisted that we visit the famous Dakshineshwar Kali temple. So off we went! Or wait... rewind a few hours. We did not know when the temple closes on on a weekday so we decided that Saturday early morning was the best time to visit the temple. WE duly got up at 5:30am, took a shower, and started off at 6am. Kolkata in the early morning is quite different from Kolkata in the afternoons and nights. For one, there isn't as much traffic as you normally find there. Dakshineshwar Kali temple is quite far from the so-called "heart" of Kolkata. Anyway, we started off from Ballygunge Place and the temple was quite a bit of distance from there.

When we reached, it was still no where near 7 am and still, we found the place packed with devotees. Turns out, Saturday is the "day" of Maa Kali, the goddess of to whom this temple is dedicated to. So all those people who do not (at all) like super crowded places, avoid going there on Saturdays, especially Saturday evenings. But even if you do turn up on a Saturday, it isn't so bad. The place isn't the kinds that would make one claustrophobic, or at least, it didn't make me so. The devotees are very organised. Once you enter the temple complex, you see that four lines are formed. We were a bit confused initially, wondering which line led to our turn at worshipping Kali, but turns out that all four lead to Her. Of course, the longest line leads to looking at Her from a front view (as opposed to glancing at Her idol in side profile).

Hibiscus flowers, said to be a special favorite of Maa Kali, and incense sticks are available in the abundance in front of the temple complex. Just one request: please do not throw away the empty incense wrappers on the temple floor; wait till you get to a dustbin. Even though Dashineshwar Kali temple is cleaner than a lot of temples I have been to, it is still strewn with incense stick wrappers and such by various people who come to visit the temple.

The temple is a beautiful one, built in a what I hear a very traditional Bengali architecture. The main temple houses the idol of Maa Kali who faces the 12 smaller temples, all of which are dedicated to Her Husband, Shiva. Why 12, you ask? All of these 12 Shiva temples are representative of the 12 Jyotirnlings. And each of these 12 temples are functional so devotees can also worship Shiva. The temple is located on the banks of Hoogli river (called "Ganga" by the local people) and across from Belur Math (you can apparently take a boat from Dakshineshwar Kali temple to Belur Math). At the banks of Hoogli, a river considered to be very holy by the Hindus, one can see many people take their morning baths. True story. I saw a woman, clad in a nightie, scrubbing her hair and face with soap. Another thing about this place, the living room of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa is also on display there.

I hope this post will help you in your visit to this particular temple.

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