Author: Shoma A Chatterji
Photographer: Nilanjan Basu
Publisher: UBS Publishers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817476514X
The history of the city of Kolkata can never be complete without reference to the Kali temples of the city. The city is doted with temples of Kali, big and small, famous and anonymous, historical and contemporised, visited by devotees and atheists, religious-minded people and agnostics, Bengalis and non-Bengalis, local, national and international tourists and pilgrims.
The name that comes to the mind when we mention the city is that of Kalighat. It is one of the most famous places of pilgrimage, located in the heart of Kolkata’s southern end. Kalighat owes its fame to the famous Kali temple here, founded and established by an erstwhile zamindar family of Kolkata, known as the Sabarno Raychoudhuris, in 1809.
In the Puranas, Kali, the black one emerges from Durga’s forehead to destroy the demons, Chandra and Munda and therefore earns the appellation Chamunda. The direct linkages of Tantra with Kali, the black goddess, in its popular form in West Bengal is traced back to Tarapeeth, a Sakta center in Birbhum district of West Bengal and to Bamakshyapa, a guru at Tarapeeth, said to be a contemporary of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Legend in Bengal insists that it was the third eyes of Sati-the eye of knowledge located on hr forehead-that fell at Tarapeeth.
With culture in a state of constant flux, the character and role of Kali, the goddess and Kali temples in Kolkata have undergone major transformations. Though popular expectations move around a decline in the consecration of the cultic image of Kali in terms of worship, this has not happened in Kolkata rather the consecration of belief in Kali has multiplied tremendously.
The Naming of the City
Some Noted Kali Temples in Kolkata
Kali-The Black Goddess
The Kali Temple of Kalighat
The Culture of Kali in Kolkata