A Guide To Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Melanie
Melanie 
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As its name suggests, Dakshineswar Kali Temple in West Bengal is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali, particularly Bhavatarini, one of her incarnations. According to legend, Rani Rashmoni had it constructed in the 19th century based on a dream. It is located on the banks of the Hooghly River, beside the Vivekananda Bridge. It is considered as one of the most sacred temples in Kolkata, as well as one of the largest, featuring 12 spires, a spacious courtyard, and has 12 smaller temples dedicated to Shiva. It is also the temple where the mystic and yogi Ramkrishna Paramhansa was said to have a vision that inspired him to preach about religious unity. Here’s our guide to Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata, to help you navigate your way through one of the most culturally significant places in the city.

Highlights

Dakhineshwar Temple beside the Hoogly, West Bengal
Source: Photo by user Knath used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Temple of Kali

The Temple of Kali was built following the traditional style of Bengal architecture called Nava-Ratna, in reference to the nine spires positioned in the upper two storeys and which can be accessed via a flight of stairs. Not to be missed in the temple is the sanctum sanctorum, which houses an idol of Kali standing on the chest of Shiva, both of which, in turn, are on a silver lotus said to bear a thousand petals. While the temple is dedicated to Kali, Rani Rashmoni’s intent was to welcome anyone, regardless of religion or caste, there.

Trivia: all idols in the temple were installed on 31 May 1855, which was said to have been an auspicious day (“snana-yatra”).

Twelve shrines of Shiva

Lining the temple are twelve identical shrines that are dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva. The interiors are decorated with black and white stones.

Vishnu temple

There is also a small temple dedicated to Vishnu in the complex. Inside the sanctuary are idols of Krishna and Radha.

Nat Mandir

Located right in front of the temple of Kali, the Nat Mandir is a 16-pillared structure with an open hall that served as the venue for religious discourses and the singing of spiritual songs. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. According to legend, Ramkrishna Paramhansa used to pray here to Shiva before setting foot into the Kali Temple.

Other attractions

Some of the other places that you could find in the temple are the “Nahabat”, a chamber where the mystic Ramkrishna Paramhansa was said to have lived; a shrine in honor of Rani Rashmoni; and a bathing ghat. There is also a landscaped garden in the temple complex.

Travelers tips

Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Source: Photo by user shankar s. used under CC BY 2.0

Attire

While there is strictly no imposed dress code here, those visiting the temple should dress conservatively. Be sure to take off your footwear before entering the temple. Backpacks and mobile phones also need to be deposited before entry. To be safe, don’t bring a large sum of money, since you may not be able to bring it with you inside.

Fee

There is no entrance fee here. However, you will need to pay a small amount to deposit your things before you enter the temple.

Photography

Photography is not allowed inside the temple.

Bath

If you wish, you can join the locals in taking a bath in the river. Do bring a change of clothes though.

Best time to visit

If you’re a tourist visiting to see the sights in the temple, try to go here early in the morning, so you can beat the heat. Allot at least two hours to explore this temple. On the other hand, if you’re a pilgrim, evening is the best time to go here, so you can witness the Sandhya aarti. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the best days for you to visit if you’re on a pilgrimage, as these are said to be the best days to pray to Kali. Do note, however, that the temple tends to be filled with people on those days.

Offerings

If you want to give some offerings at the temple, there’s a flower shop right across from it where you can buy some.

Food and drinks

If you can be satisfied with a light snack, there are stalls outside the temple that sell refreshments. Otherwise, there are restaurants within the vicinity, where you can enjoy a full meal.

Souvenirs

There are also stalls outside that sell Hindu religious items.

How to get there

Dakshineswar
Source: Photo by user Jonoikobangali used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

By plane

The closest airport to the temple is Kolkata Airport, which is about a 40-minute drive by car.

By train

Take the train that goes to Dankuni from Sealdah and get off at the Dakshineshwar station. The temple is already within walking distance from there.

By bus

There are buses that go directly to the temple from the Esplanade terminal.

By cab or car rental

Cabs are available in the area. Alternatively, you can also rent a car, if you want to have more control over your movements while you’re on your holiday here. There are parking spaces available near the temple.

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata information

Kali Temple Kolkata
Source: Photo by user Priyoda used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

Address: May Dibas Pally, Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal, 700076, India

Opening hours: Oct - Mar: 6am - 12:30 pm, 3pm - 8:30pm; Apr - Sep: 6am - 12:30pm, 3:30pm - 9pm

Price: Free entry

Official website: Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Department of tourism: West Bengal tourism board

News and updates: The legend of Dakshineswar kali temple in Kolkata | Dakshineswar temple to get a walkway

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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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