Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Coordinates: 22°39′18″N 88°21′28″E / 22.65500°N 88.35778°E / 22.65500; 88.35778
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Dakshineswar Kali Temple
দক্ষিণেশ্বর কালীবাড়ি
The Temple complex on the bank of river Hooghly, West Bengal.
DistrictNorth 24 Parganas
DeitySri Jagadishvari Bhavatarini Kalimata Thakurani
FestivalsKali Puja, Durga Puja, Snana Yatra, Kalpataru Day
LocationGreater Kolkata
StateWest Bengal
Dakshineswar Kali Temple is located in Kolkata
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Location in Kolkata
Geographic coordinates22°39′18″N 88°21′28″E / 22.65500°N 88.35778°E / 22.65500; 88.35778
TypeBengal architecture
FounderRani Rashmoni
Completed31 May 1855; 168 years ago (1855-05-31)
Temple(s)1 main temple of Kali
12 Shiva temples
1 temple of RadhaKrishna
Official website

Dakshineswar Kali Temple or Dakshineswar Kalibari is a Hindu navaratna temple in Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini (Kali), a form of Mahadevi or Parashakti Adya Kali, otherwise known as Adishakti Kalika.[1] The temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a Zamindar, philanthropist and a devotee of Kali Maa. The temple is known for its association with Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada Devi, mystics of 19th century Bengal.[2][3]

The main temple was inspired by Navaratna style Radhakanta temple in Tollygunge, built by Babu Ramnath Mondal of Bawali Raj family .[4][5][6][7] 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 consort, along the riverfront, a temple to RadhaKrishna, a bathing ghat on the river, a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. 'Nahabat', the chamber in the northwestern corner just beyond the last of the Shiva temples, is where Ramakrishna and Maa Sarada spent a considerable part of their lives.[2][8]


The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was founded around the middle of the 19th century by Rani Rashmoni.[9] Rani Rashmoni was a Mahishya by caste[10] 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.[8] According to traditional accounts, the night before the pilgrimage began, Rashmoni had a vision of the Divine Mother goddess Kali in a dream and reportedly said,[11]

There is no need to go to Banaras. Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges river and arrange for my worship there. Then I shall manifest myself in the image and accept worship at that place.

Profoundly affected by the dream, Rani immediately looked for and purchased a 12,000-hectare (30,000-acre) plot in the village of Dakshineswar. The large temple complex was built between 1847 and 1855. The 8.1-hectare (20-acre) plot was bought from an Englishman, Jake Hastie, and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha.[12] 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. The idol of Goddess Kali was installed on the Snana Yatra day on 31 May 1855 amid festivities at the temple formerly known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Kali, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay as the head priest. Soon his younger brother Gadai or Gadadhar (later known as Ramakrishna) moved in and so did his nephew Hriday to assist him.[1][2][3][8][13] On 31 May 1855 more than 1 lakh (one hundred thousand) Brahmins were invited from different parts of the country to grace the auspicious occasion. The next year, Ramkumar Chattopadhyay died, and the position was given to Ramakrishna. His wife, Sarada Devi, stayed in the south side of the Nahabat (music room) in a small room on the ground floor, which is now a shrine dedicated to her.[14] Ramakrishna was responsible for bringing much in the way of both fame and pilgrims to the temple.[15]

Rani Rashmoni lived for only five years and nine months after the inauguration of the temple. She fell seriously ill in 1861. Realizing that her death was near, she decided to hand over the property she had purchased in Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) as a legacy for the maintenance of the temple to the temple trust. She accomplished her task on 18 February 1861 and died on the next day.[2] After her death, her sons-in-law took to celebrating Durga Puja in their respective premises.


Built in the navaratna or nine spires style of Bengal architecture, the three-storeyed south-facing temple has nine spires distributed in the upper two storeys, and stands on a high platform with a flight of stairs, overall it measures 14 metres (46 ft) square and rises over 30 metres (100 ft) high.[3][8]

The garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) houses an idol of goddess Kali, known as Bhavatarini, standing on the chest of a supine Shiva, and the two idols are placed on a thousand-petaled lotus throne made of silver.[3][8]

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 Hooghly river. To the North east of the Temple Complex is the Vishnu Temple or the Radha Kanta Temple. A flight of steps lead to the columned verandah and into the temple where a silver throne rests with a 21+12-inch (550 mm) idol of Lord Krishna and a 16-inch (410 mm) idol of Radha.[3][8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mehrotra 2008 p.11.
  2. ^ a b c d "History of the temple". Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Dakshineswar - A Heritage". Government of West Bengal. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  4. ^ Roy, Diptimoy (2001). Paschimbanger Kali O Kalikshetra [Kali and Kali Temples in West Bengal] (in Bengali). Kolata: Mondal Book House. pp. 64–65.
  5. ^ "কংক্রিটের আড়ালে মুখ ঢেকেছে মন্দিরশিল্প". www.anandabazar.com (in Bengali). Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  6. ^ "রানিকাহিনি". www.anandabazar.com (in Bengali). Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  7. ^ Basu, Debashish Ed (1990). Kolkatar Purakatha. pp. 71, 78.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Swati Mitra, ed. (2011). Kolkata: City Guide. Goodearth Publications. ISBN 978-93-80262-15-4.
  9. ^ Harding 1998, p.xii
  10. ^ Sen, Amiya P. (June 2006). "Sri Ramakrishna, the Kathamrita and the Calcutta middle classes: an old problematic revisited". Postcolonial Studies. 9 (2): 165–177. doi:10.1080/13688790600657835. S2CID 144046925.
  11. ^ Rosen, Steven (2006). Essential Hinduism. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 201–202. ISBN 978-0-275-99006-0.
  12. ^ Prabhananda 2003
  13. ^ Swami Chetanananda (2001). God lived with them. Advaita Ashrama. p. 655. ISBN 978-0-916356-79-8.
  14. ^ Karkar, S.C. (2009). The Top Ten Temple Towns of India. Kolkota: Mark Age Publication. p. 91. ISBN 978-81-87952-12-1.
  15. ^ Balakrishnan, S (9 May 2003). "Kali Mandir of Kolkata". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 11 June 2003. Retrieved 21 April 2018.


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