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Warrior avatar of Adishakti
Goddess of Power, Protection, Auspiciousness.
A 17th-century wooden idol of Bhadra Kali from Kerala
Other namesRudra Kali
Sanskrit transliterationभद्रकाली
AffiliationAdi Shakti
AbodeKailasha, Manidvipa
  • oṃ bhadrakāl̤yai namaḥ
WeaponTrident, Sword, arrow, Discus, Conch, Spear, staff, thunderbolt, two varieties of Shields, Bow, Noose, Goad, Bell, Axe and Club.
BattlesDaksha yajna
DayTuesday [1]
TextsShiva Purana
FestivalsBharani, Padayani, Kuthiyottam,Thookam

Bhadrakali (IAST: Bhadrakālī; lit.'auspicious Kali'[2]), is a Hindu goddess She is considered to be the auspicious and fortunate form of Adi Shakti who protects the good, known as bhadra.[3]

In Vaishnavism, Bhadrakali is among the many epithets of Yogamaya, the internal potency of illusion of the preserver deity, Vishnu.[4]


In Sanskrit, Bhadra means auspicious. Another interpretation of this name is that Bhadra comes from 'Bha' and 'dra', The letter 'Bha' means 'delusion' or 'Maya'and 'dra' is used as a superlative i.e. meaning 'the most/the greatest etc.' which makes the meaning of Bhadra as Maha Maya.[5][6]

In other words, maya represents the illusion of the samsara we are in, and worshipping of Bhadrakali is thought of getting liberated from this maha maya. This can be seen with the head that she holds in her hand - the chopped head and the sickle represents that Bhadrakali gives liberation (i.e., liberates ourselves of our own ego, hence the chopped head).


This goddess is represented with three eyes, and four, sixteen, or eighteen hands. She carries a number of weapons, with flames flowing from her head, and a small tusk protruding from her mouth.[citation needed]



According to Tantra Rahasya, the feminine form of the divine (Devi) arose from the North (Uttaramnaya) face (Amnayas) of Shiva, which is blue in color and with three eyes, as Dakshinakalika, Mahakali, Guhyakah, Smashanakalika, Bhadrakali, Ekajata, Ugratara, Taritni, Katyayani, Chhinnamasta, Nilasarasvati, Durga, Jayadurga, Navadurga, Vashuli, Dhumavati, Visalakshi, Gauri, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Matangi, and Mahishamardini.[7]


goddess Bhadrakali, gouache on paper (ca. 1660–70)

According to Kerala traditions, the events described in the Markandeya Purana associated with Bhadrakali (her slaying of the demon Darika to liberate the universe from the evil) took place in Kerala, near Madayi in the Kannur District.[8] [9] She is seen to protect the honour of women and to bestow all spiritual knowledge.[10][11]

Among the people of the neighboring states, especially in Tamil Nadu, this form of Shakti is known as 'Malayala Bhagavathy' or 'Malayala Bhadrakali', who provides protection to her devotees irrespective of caste and religion.

In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and the Southern Travancore area of Kerala, especially in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the Tamil, Kannada and Telugu speaking communities worship a form of Mahakali as 'Ujjaini Mahakali', and they consider Emperor Vikramaditya as their first teacher in this spiritual tradition as having established the tradition in the South.

Family deity[edit]

Hindu communities in Kerala, Southern Karnataka and Southern Tamil Nadu including the Ezhavas, Billavas, Kodavas, Nadars, Namboodhiris, Moosathu Brahmins and Nairs, worship Bhadrakali as their family deity (Paradevata). They worship certain weapons in their temples which they believe to be the weapons used by the goddess. The Kuladevata or community deity of Kudumbi community is Kodungalluramma, the mother goddess of Kodungallur. Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala, dedicated to Bhadrakali. During the 'Thalappoli' festival, which is celebrated mainly on Makar Sankranti, Kudumbi people from all over the state (mainly Malabar, Tulunad, Kodaka) come to the temple. Many temples of Thiyyas in Northern Kerala and South Karnataka are called the Kali Sree Kurumba, Cheermba, Paradevata. According to Castes and Tribes of Southern India by Edgar Thurston, Bhadrakali is the prime deity of Ezhavas of Travancore. According to the Nadar Community of Tamil Nadu, there were seven children born to Devarishis and Devakanyas. They gave their children to Bhadrakali. She took them and gave milk to the children.The progenies of these children are today believed to be the ancestors of the Nadar community. She is considered as the mother of Nadars. The Nadars also claim that they are the descendants of Bhadrakali. A Bhadrakali temple is usually at the centre of almost every Nadar settlement. Bhadrakali is also the tutelary deity of the Nadar community of Tamil Nadu.[12] Kanyakubja Brahmins with roots in Bhadras, Kanpur worship her as their Kuladevi. The place is called Bhadras because of the presence of a very old Bhadra Kali Temple.

Other legends[edit]

According to legends, the famous Indian Sanskrit poet Kalidasa became what he was[clarification needed] thanks to the divine will of Bhadrakali. Another legend states that the emperor Vikramaditya and his brother Bhatti were also ardent devotees of Bhadrakali, whose blessings resulted in all the success showered upon them. Vikramaditya also helped to establish small wayside Bhadrakali temples and prayer centers for pilgrims in many parts of Southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu. The devotional traditions focused around these small temples exist even today.[13]


It is believed Bhadrakali protects the practitioners of Kalarippayattu, a traditional martial arts form. In Malabar, it is believed that all the victories of Thacholi Othenan and other martial artists were due to the blessings of Bhadrakali of the Lokanarkavu Temple, also known as 'The Shaolin Temple of Malayalees'. Most traditional villages in Kerala have their own Kalari, the ancient martial arts schools and local temples dedicated to Bhadrakali associated with them. Among Tamils, Bhadrakali is equally important as the patron deity of traditional martial arts and a guardian of all law-abiding citizens.

Murti of Bhadrakali in Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Kerala has a tradition of folk artist rituals and dances associated with worship of Devi in the form of Bhadrakali. These rituals are performed in places of worship called Kavu (roughly translated as grove) or in small temples. Besides the general welfare of the village, these rituals aim at warding off of such calamities like smallpox and other epidemic diseases. The ritual themes generally revolve around the triumph of Bhadrakali over the demon Darika and other evil characters.

Performing Kalankaval in Vellayani Devi Temple

The dance forms are:

  1. Theyyam
  2. Theeyattu
  3. Padayani
  4. Poothanumthirayum
  5. Mudiyettu
  6. Kuthiyottam
  7. Kettukazcha
  8. Apindi Vilakku or alpindivilakku
  9. Thira
Bhadrakali Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.



  • Bhadrakali Temple is a temple situated in thanesar, jhansa road, Kurukshetra,haryana.Shaktipeeth Shri Devikoop Bhadrakali Mandir is also known as “Savitri Peeth”, “Devi Peeth”, “Kalika Peeth” or “Aadi Peeth”. the most iconic thing of temple is when the sati abolished the hawan of daksha his father .the shiva in his fierce form took the goddess on his shoulder and was started doing "Tandava" the dance of destruction . Our Scriptures say that unable to stand slander and calumny let loose on her husband, Lord Shiva, Devi Bhagwati laid down her life and became a ‘Sati’. Clasping her holy dead body to his heart, the distraught Shiva started pacing all over the universe. Watching all this, Lord Vishnu cut her dead body with his ‘Sudarshan chakra’ into 52 parts. In this way, the places where these parts fell, emerged as sacred “Shaktipeeth”. All this was done for general good of one and all. Naina Devi, Jwala ji, Kamkhya ji etc are among the 52 holy Shaktipeethas. It is believed that right ankle of Maa Sati fell down at Shaktipeeth Shri Devikoop Bhadrakali Mandir in Kurukshetra. The legend has it that before marching out for the battle of Mahabharta, the Pandvas along with Lord Krishna offered worship here praying for their victory and donated the horses of their Chariots which made it an age-old tradition of offering horses made of silver, mud etc, depending upon one’s means, once the desire have been met. The Tonsure (head shaving) ceremony of Shri Krishna & Balram was also performed at this Shaktipeeth Shri Devikoop Bhadrakali Mandir.[citation needed]


  • Bhadrakali Temple is in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is near the Sahid Gate. The temple is at the eastern side of Tundikhel. This temple is also known as Shree Lumadhi Bhadrakali. It is one of the most renowned “Shaktipith” of Nepal. A form of the goddess Kali, Bhadrakali in Sanskrit means “blessed, auspicious, beautiful and prosperous” and she is also known as “Gentle Kali”. Another name for the goddess is Lazzapith.
  • Bhadrakali Temple, is a temple on the East of Pokhara in Kundahar, atop a small hill. It is dedicated to the goddess Kali.


  • Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It is believed that she protects the city, hence the position of the temple is near the city fort.[citation needed]
  • Bhadran in Anand district.[14]

Jammu And Kashmir[edit]


  • Bhadrakali temple at Itkhori, Chatra. It is 35 km on the East of Chatra and 16 km west of Chauparan connected with Grand Trunk Road Along with the temple situated on the bank of river Mahanada (Mahane), surrounded by hill and forest, there is a water reservoir.[16]


Kaliyoottu Festival in Vellayani Devi Temple
  • Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Thrissur, Kerala; is one of the oldest temple in India built during the Sangam age. Mahodayapuram (Kodungallur) was the capital of the Chera Empire which ruled Kerala. Shri Bhadrakali in her fierce form is worshipped along with Mahadevar(Siva) and Saptamathrukkal.
  • Vellayani Devi Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala. One of the most famous Bhadrakali temple, situated at Vellayani, Trivandrum, Kerala conducting longest non-pilgrimage festival in India (60 days of festival once in 3 years). Idol in this temple is very huge and made up of pure gold. Temple is very ancient and it is calculated as 800 years old. The temple is entirely different from other temples due to its traditional rituals.
  • Thiruvarkadu Bhagavaty Temple in Payangadi, Kannur, Kerala is the first and foremost Bhadrakali Temple at a place believed to be the fortress of Darukasura. Bhadrakali beheaded Darika here. The Shakteya Sampradaya pooja is well known here. It is done by Bhattarakas (Pidararas) who are migrant priests from Kashmir and Bengal. The idol of Bhadrakali is around 6 feet tall and is portrayed in the form of slaying Daruka. Tiruvarkattu Bahagavaty Temple is famous for the removal of black magic.
  • Chettikulangara Devi Temple, near Mavelikkara, Kerala.
  • Kalarivathukkal Temple, Kannur, Kerala; the fierce form of Bhadrakali, as the mother of the martial art Kalaripayattu. Theyyam the folk dance in Malabar starts with the permission of the Chirakkal Raja and the final theyyam in entire Kerala is in Kalarivathukkal Temple. The rituals are in Sakteya method.
  • Thoniyakavu Bhadrakali Temple in the village of Puthenpeedika, of Kerala state, India
  • Malayalappuzha Devi Temple, in Pathanamthitta
  • Panayannarkavu, near Mavelikkara, Kerala
  • Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple in Thrissur.
  • Pathiyanadu Sree Bhadrakali Temple – a famous revered shrine in Kerala, India. The shrine is in Mullassery. It is 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) from Karakulam.
  • Pattupurackal Bhagavathy temple, Vadakkenirappu, Njeezhoor, Kottayam, Kerala
  • Pattupurakkavu Bhagavathi Temple, Pandalam
  • Sarkaradevi Temple Sarkara, Chirayinkeezh, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala ( Sree Sarkara Devi Temple is one of the oldest Bhadrakali temple in Kerala. Sarkara Pongala, Sarkara Kaliyoottu and Sarkara Bharani are famous festivals in this temple.These three festivals are with in two months in every year ! Lakhs of people participates in these three festivals.
  • Thirumandhamkunnu Temple at Angadippuram, Kerala; A famous temple of Shri Bhadrakali, Ganesha near bagawathy is for child and marriage.
  • Thirumandhamkunnu Temple, angadipuram, malappuram dist
  • Thrikkariyoor Kottekkavu Bhagavathi Temple at Kottappady near Kothamangalam one of the oldest of kali temples and famous for the Muduyet ritual held once in every 12 years "Garudan Thookkam on "Meena Bharani","Sathrutha samhara pooja" and "."Rakhshassinum sarpathinum padmamittu nivediam".
  • Vazhappully temple, Vazhappully Temple in Thrissur, Kerala is a Hindu Temple famous for Guruthi Pooja for goddess Kali. Guruthi Pooja at Vazhappully Temple is offered for the fierce form of goddess Kali at Night. During Guruthi pooja the guruthi is offered to the goddess. Guruthi is a creamed mixture of Turmeric, slaked lime and other pooja ingredients. Guruthi represents blood which is vitality.
  • Manakkattu Bhadra Temple, Chirakkadavu in Kottayam, Kerala which is famous for being among the rarest Bhadrakali temples having daily Guruthi Pooja. Major pitstop for Sabarimala pilgrims.



Tamil Nadu[edit]

Bhadrakali Amman in Sivakasi
  • Anthiyur, Erode District, Bhadrakali Amman Kovil.
  • Coimbatore, Mettupalayam, Arulmigu Vana-Bhadrakali Amman Kovil.
  • Kanyakumari :- Sri Bhadreshwari Amman Temple at Kannathankuzhi- an old and powerful temple worshipped and being managed by Nadar family of Pandaram Nadar, Maathan, Sangili, Padmanabhan, Perumal, Ponnammal-Ponnumuthu, Rajamani and Kochappi Nadars and their heirs. Annual festival held in every year in the month of Panguni and thousands of Nadar families used to worship the goddess.
  • Madurai, Madapuram, sri bhadrakaliamman kovil.
  • Nagapattinam, Sri Maha Ruthrakaliyammbal Temple - Chithra Pournami Thiruvizha
  • Rajapalayam, pachamadam, Arulmigu pachamadam Bhadrakali Amman Kovil .
  • sivagangai, kolangudi, sri vettudayar kaliamman kovil.
  • Sivakasi, Arulmigu Bhadrakali Amman Kovil.
  • Thoothukudi, Poobalarayerpuram, Arulmigu Bhadrakali Amman Kovil – Amman kodai – Chithirai Last Tuesday, Dasara Car Festival.
  • Thoothukudi, Sivagnanapuram, Arulmigu Bhadrakali Amman Kovil – Amman kodai – Avani First Tuesday, Samy kodai – Panguni First Friday.
  • Thoothukudi, sindhalakarai, sri vekkaliamman kovil.
  • Tenkasi, surandai, Arulmigu Bhadrakali Amman Kovil.
  • Trichy, oorayur, sri vekkaliamman kovil.
  • Vadamattam - 612201, Near Kumbakonam, Arulmigu Sree Vadapathirakali, facing north with Hongara roopam, Perumal molavar.


  • Bhadrakali Temple in Warangal, Telangana. Bhadrakali (Maha Kali Mata) was the principal deity of the Hindu Kakatiya kingdom of Warangal (Orugallu or Ekasila nagaram) that ruled most of Andhra Pradesh during that period. Rituals and animal (and human, by some accounts) sacrifices on a large scale were performed to invoke the blessings of goddess Bhadrakali before the Kakatiya warriors went off for battle. As per the writings on the temple wall this temple is believed to be constructed by the King Pulakeshin II of Chalukya dynasty around 625 CE.[citation needed]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]


West Bengal[edit]

  • Kalighat Kali Temple, Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. The temple is visited by pilgrims from all over India irrespective of sectarian differences. Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.[citation needed]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hudson, D. Dennis (25 September 2008). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 562. ISBN 978-0-19-536922-9.
  3. ^ (28 January 2019). "Story of Bhadrakālī". Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  4. ^ Bryant, Edwin F. (18 June 2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. Oxford University Press. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-19-028756-6.
  5. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary".
  6. ^ "A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary". 1 June 2002. Retrieved 23 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Shakti and Shâkta by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), [1918], Chapter Six Shakti and Shakta. "4) The face in the North is blue in color and with three eyes. By this face, I revealed the Devis, Dakshinakalika, Mahakali, Guhyakah, Smashanakalika, Bhadrakali, Ekajata, Ugratara, Taritni, Katyayani, Chhinnamasta, Nilasarasvati, Durga, Jayadurga, Navadurga, Vashuli, Dhumavati, Vishalakshi, Gauri, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Matangi, Mahishamardini, their rites and Mantras."
  8. ^ Maha Kshethrangalude Munnil, D. C. Books, Kerala
  9. ^ Markandeya Purana
  10. ^ the Horse-worship of the Prajapati Daksha The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCLXXXIV. p. 317. "I am known by the name of Virabhadra’’ and I have sprung from the wrath of Rudra. This lady (who is my companion), and who is called Bhadrakali, hath sprung from the wrath of the goddess."
  11. ^ Purana
  12. ^ Robert L. Hardgrave (1969). The Nadars of Tamilnad: The Political Culture of a Community in Change. University of California Press. p. 38. ISBN 81-7304-701-4.
  13. ^ Ujjaini Mahakali Ammanin Varalaru, Mahatmyam
  14. ^ "Bhadrakali maa temple".
  15. ^ "Bhadrakali Mandir, Kashmir".
  16. ^ "Hazaribagh | Hazaribag District | Hazaribagh City | | Vinoba Bhave University".
  17. ^ "~* Welcome to Bhadrak (Orissa) : The Official Website *~". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  18. ^ Amit Nigam: Ratlam ki Tripura sundari, Democratic World, 28 December 2006
  19. ^ Amit Nigam: Ratlam ki Tripura sundari, Democratic World, 28 December 2006

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]