Thursday, 17 December 2015

Kalighat Kali temple & link with Calcutta!!

Kalighat Kali Temple, 1887. en.wikipedia.org
Kalighat kali Temple.expatsinindia.org

If there is one small village that has the most important historical  and relevant connotation directly linked to the British colonialism it is the village of Kalighat in West Bengal.  In the colonial era,  the village Kalighat was strategically an important place in terms of  safety, location, security  access to  water transportation, good anchorage, etc. When the British bought the village, subsequently they established a town, that over a period of time, grew into a big city. The East India company named it Calcutta, the name derived from Kalighat. During their hey days,  it became the largest, prosperous and most important city in the British Empire next to London. It was the Capital of British India.

The Kalighat Temple is an old one and the  construction of the present temple began in 1809. Built   by  the
Brahmin family of  Sabarna Roy Choudhury, Zamindari  Brahmin family of Barisha,  this temple is dedicated  Goddess Kali. The  
original temple was  a small hut built by King Manasingha  in the early 16th century. Considered as  one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, this 200 year old temple is being visited by thousands of  people from different parts of India.

Goddess Kalighat.www.kalighattemple.com


Lord Shiva doing Rudra Tandava(violent dance).www.coroflot.com

An interesting aspect of this unique temple is unlike other Kali temples, the stone image of the Goddess in this temple  is altogether different.  Devised by two saints  named Brahmananda Giri and Atmaram Giri. The  image has three  big  eyes, a long protruding  tongue made of gold, four hands made of gold too. Of these,  two hands holding the a scimitar  and a  severed head of the Asura king 'Shumbha',  the other two hands show  the Abhaya and Varada mudras or blessings. This divine image is a symbolic of righteous  life  one ought to follow. The scimitar represents ''Divine  Knowledge'' with which one can get rid of 'ego' symbolized by  Asura. The hands showing the abhaya and varada mudras symbolize  her ''Divine Protection'' and blessing to any person who trusts her  and worships her with abiding faith.

According to legend  Lord Shiva, known as the king of dancer in rage,  was performing  ''Rudra Tandava'' upon the news of the death of his divine consort  Sati (who was reborn as Parvati) who jumped into the Agni Kunda (sacrificial fire) in Daksha's Yajna and gave up her life.  Carrying Sati's body, Shiva is said to have performed the Sandhya Tandava and to stop this menace Lord Vishnu sliced Goddess Sati with his Chakra. The body parts of the Goddess fell in several places where Lord Shiva traveled with the corpse and  these places became prominent kali temples and  Hindu pilgrimage centers. The toes of the right foot of  Dakshayani or Sati  fell  in  the  place  occupied  by  present Kalighat.  People saw  luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi (Hoogley river) river bed and further investigation  revealed the presence of a piece of stone in the form of human toe  along with Swayambu  Lingam  (a phallic symbol)  of  Nakuleshwar  Bhairav nearby.  People  began  worshiping Kaali in the middle of  thick jungle. A sage by the name  of  Chowranga Giri is associated with the worship of  Kaali  (the suburb of Kolkata  Chowringee is named after the sage).

Deepawali and Navaratri are important festivals observed here with religious fervor and during these festive days, the temple is  beautifully decorated with flowers and thousands of  oil lamps, a tradition that has been followed for decades.



Ref:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalighat_Kali_Temple