Dakshineswar Temple is one of the most sacred place of Kolkata. It is one of the most popular temples which are flooded with pilgrims throughout the year. It is the devotion in God that begets pilgrim from every corner of the country.
As a resident of Kolkata, I have visited the temple enormous time. This is the place where I get back my lost serenity of my soul and can articulate easily with Kali maa. My dilemma and exasperation simply vanishes when I visit the temple. The perplexities of my life gets dissolved in the pure water of the Ganges. All the grimes of my mind washes away. I just love the place because of its beautiful location facing the river Ganga and another reason is it is free from Pandas. Whenever I visit the temple, my soul gets purified and my face wore a perpetual look of amiable beatitude.
The temple is dedicated to maa Bhabatarini, manifestation of goddess Kali. It is built by Rani Rashmoni in 1855. Rani Rashmoni is well known for her philanthropic activities. She generally used to visit Benaras for getting divine blessings. Banaras is far away from Kolkata. She used to travel by boat with her relatives and servants. The journey is very tedious and troublesome. The night before her pilgrimage, she had a mystical vision of Kali maa. Mother told her to build a temple near the bank of Ganga. Rani was deeply touched by the dream and bought land in Dakhinswar to build the temple. This is the history behind the erection of this beautiful temple.
Rani Rashmon Rani was born on Born in 28th Sept. 1793. Amidst in the male dominated society, she was the pillar of strength. She was married to Babu Rajchandra Das of JanBazar at the age of 11. After demises of her husband, she took the charge of property and with the help of Mathur, her son-in-law expanded the business successfully. Rani Rashmoni built the temple in 1855. She was very open-minded. People of any caste and religion can offer puja to maa Kali. Irrespective of religion and castes, Dakshineswar is thronged by millions of devotees every day. Sri Ramkrishna The head priest of the temple was Ramkumar, who installed the idol of Kali. Ramkumar brought little Gaddadhar along with him in the temple. After his demises, the responsibility passed on to his younger brother, Sri Ramkrishna. Sri Ramkrishna was born on 17.02.1836 in Kamarpukur, Hoogli, fourth childern of Khudiram Chattopadhay and Chandramoni Devi. Rani patronized Shri Ramkrishna as the guardian of the Dakshineshwar temple. He served the temple for 30 years and was an ardent devotee of goddess Kali. He earned immense reputation in the society.
Maa Sarada Maa Sarada, was wife of Sri Ramkrishna. She was born on 22nd Dec 1853 and was the eldest childern of Ramchandra Mukhopadhay and Shayamasundari devi in Jairambati, Bankura. She was married to Ramakrishna at the age of 6. Ramakrishna was then the priest at the Dakkhineshwar Kali temple. She served Ramakrishna and his disciples for several years and was was a sacred and intellectual leader in her individual right. She moved in Kolkata at the age of 19. In 1886, Ramakrishna passed away and Maa Sarada was left alone and she continued to preached the teachings of Ramakrishna along with her own practical philosophy.
Swami Vivekananda He was born on 1863 and was the son of well known lawyer of Kolkata, Biswanath Dutta. He was very intelligent boy and was an all rounder. He could sing, was good at sports, had a ready wit, his range of knowledge was extensive and loved to help people . Narendranath became acquainted with Ramkrishna in 1881, and used to go to Dakshineswar frequently to meet him and his visit to Dakshineswar increased. Swami considered Sri Ramakrishna as his guru. On 16th of September, tuesday, Narendra requested Ramakrishna to pray to Goddess for his financial upliftment. Ramkrishna refused to pray. Rather he advised Narendra to pray for himself as it was an auspicious day. Swami came to Dakshineswar and prayed to goddess. With a feeling of devotion and love, he prayed to Maa Kali for divine knowledge and devotion and forgot to pray for his financial upliftment. After that, he also became an ardent devotees of goddess Kali.
Dakhineswar is abode of Gods. Maa Bhabatarini is surrounded by Lord Shiv ji and Radha Krishna. There is a series of 12 identical shiv temple erected in Aatchala style. This east facing temples are just in front of the Ganges. Pilgrims are allowed to go inside the Shiv temple for worship. Radha Krishna temple is located at the north east. Deities are beautifully adorned by silver thrones. There is a columned verandah in front of the sanctum where visitors used to stand for a glance of Lord Radha Krishna. All the temple stands on a platform with a flight of steps. A big courtyard surrounds the temple.
The meticulous craftsmanship is the outcome of this magnificent temple. At the entrance of the temple premises, large gate welcomes you. On the right hand side a big fresco of Ram Krishna Deb will greet you.
At the left side, there is ample space for car parking. A toilet complex for visitors inside the parking lot is also provided for the visitors.
There are many food stalls for the pilgrims. They serves only vegetarian food like puri, sabji, sweets and more.
While you walk down, Gaji pond is at left side and Dala arcade is at right.
The middle area is beautifully landscaped.
As this is our culture to visit any temple bare foot, so there must be some place to keep the shoes safely. Inside the premises, there is a big room to keep the shoes before entering the temple.
For book lovers, there is a library which comprises a motley collection of Bengali, Hindi and English books.
To maintain law and order, there is a police check post. Before entering the main temple, thorough checking of pilgrims are done as mobiles, camera or any other electronic gadgets are strictly prohibited inside the main temple. Wallets are only allowed.
The main temple of Bhabatarini Maa is constructed in Nava Ratna i.e. Nine spires style. The temple is three storied and south facing Maa Bhabatarini is housed inside the Garbhagriha i.e. sanctum. The idol stands on the chest of laying Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is lying on a thousand petal lotus made of silver. Only priests are allowed inside the Kali mata sanctum. Visitors are not allowed to go inside the sanctum of Kali Maa. Pilgrims have to give their puja accessories to the priests.
‘Kalpataru Utsav’ is celebrated every year on 1st January and on this day, lakhs of pilgrims comes here. On that day one has to stand on long queue to offer puja. Other than Kalpataru Utsav, on the auspicious day of Kali puja, same crowd is seen.
A marvelous initiative had been taken by the government for the ease movement of pilgrim. West Bengal government unveiled “Skywalk” on 5th November 2018 which connects the temple with Dakshineswar station.
Inside the premises
Gaji Tala and Gaji Pukur While entering from the main gate of the temple, at left hand side, there is a big pond known as ‘ Gajipukur’ and at the north east of the temple, there is Gajitala. It is that place from where Ramkrishna Deb explored Islam religion and unified two religions, Hindu and Muslim to come here and offer their prayers.
Kuthi Bari Rani Rashmuni with her family members used to stay here whenever she visited the temple. From the year 1855-1870, Sri Rmkrishna used to live at the ground floor of the Kuthir. Originally it is built by Lord Hasting .
Nahabat Khana Nahabat is panoply of musical instrument usually used to play in ancient time. And now a day, Nahabat is rarely arranged in occasions like weddings etc. Inside the temple, there are 02 Nahabat Khana, one at the southern garden is closed while the other is towards the west of the Kuthi Bari and north to the Kali Temple.
In Bengali, ghat means a place where a flight of steps leads to descend down the river. This ghat is near to the series of Shiva Temple. The series of Shiva temples are divided by the Chadni (River bank), keeping the six Shiva temples to the left and the other six to the right. In this ghat, Sri Ramakrishna’s Vedantic guru Sri Totapuri alighted from his journey.
Room of Sri Ramkrishna In the north west corner of the temple, is the room of Sri Ramkrishna deb where he spend his last 14 years of his life. After the demise of his nephew, he shifted in this room from Kuthir Bari. Here he used to conduct spiritual discussion with his ardent followers like Swami Vivekananda and Keshab Chandra Sen.
Nat Mandir 50ft in length and 75 ft in width, this 16 pillared structure with a roof is an open hall which served the purpose for many religious discourses as well as spiritual songs. Just above the Nat Mandir, there is an idol of Lord Shiva whom Sri Ramkrishna always prayed before entering the Kali temple. To the south of this Nat Mandir there is a place for religious sacrifice.
Dala Arcade Generally we visit any temple to offer puja to the deity. And pujas are performed by flowers, sweets, sindur, agarbati etc. So, for the sake of pilgrims, Dala arcade has been constructed from where all the puja’s samagri can be bought. It is small market with series of stalls who sells puja accessories. The market is just opposite to the main entrance of the temple.
Dakshineswar temple is a devalaya all people are greeted equally. There is no restriction for caste and creed. No dress code, no entry fee is required to visit the temple. It is free from Panda system also. To offer puja, one has to stand in queue. There is no VIP queue. Several sitting arrangement are provided in front the Ganges. Flowers are blooming in the garden. There are many eatery shops near the garden. One can simply roam to enjoy the serenity.The temple looks amazing at night.
How to Reach
The nearest railway station is Dakshineswar and from Sealdah, train runs regularly. A beautiful sky walk connects the temple from the station for the ease movement of pilgrims and to avoid the congestion of the road. The temple is well connected with bus routes also. Metro rail facilities is also available.
Temple remains open throughout the year.
From October to March: 6:00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 8:30 pm.
From April to September: 6 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 pm.
Entry – free
Nearby places that can be visited
Belur Math – It is another significant place of Kolkata. It is headquarter of Ramkrishna Math and Mission. From Dakhineswar temple, regular ferry services are available to Belur Math. The temple is sprawling over 40 acre of land andis emblem of peace and purity.
Adyapith- It is a temple of Adya Maa and is nearly walking distance from Dakshineswar temple.
This is an ideal place for one day city tour. In Adyapith and Dakshineswar temple, Prasad are served to the pilgrim at afternoon. For this one has to get the token at early morning. So, you can start your day by offering puja at Kali mata temple. Next visit Adyapith temple and have your lunch. Have a boat ride and visit Belur Math after 3.30p.m..
Sandya Aarati at Dakshineswar temple is very beautiful. Maa Bhabatarini looks more glorious in the evening. The ambience of the temple becomes magnificent at night due to artificial lightings.
If you have ample time, then do enjoy the boat ride.
Varieties of pickle are available for sale. So, if you love pickle, then do try it.
Do not take any gadgets inside the main temple as they are strictly prohibited.