Dakshineshwar Kali Temple in Kolkata, West Bengal (India) is a popular Hindu Temple which is visited in huge numbers by both locals and travelers. I come into the category of both a local (by virtue of my parents having origins in this city) & traveler (since I don’t live here and just visit this city on regular basis) and have a beautiful relationship with this temple. I am sharing my experiences of the Dakshineshwar temple with you all here with the hope that when you are in Kolkata, you will definitely visit this temple once.
Located on the banks of river Hoogly, Dakshineshwar Kali temple was built in mid 19th century (and therefore is historic but not ancient as per Indian temple traditions are concerned) by Rani Rashmoni. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali in the Hindu faith. The temple owes much of its fame to the spiritual guru Shri Ramakrishna who was a priest at this temple and founded his spiritual path while doing the priestly duties here. As a child, my Mum regaled me with stories on Shri Ramakrishna’s spiritual incidences at Dakshineshwar. So, every time she took me to this temple, I used to visualize them.
The temple compound is built in Bengal style of architecture, with main temple being nine spired. Also, lying adjacent to the main temple are a row of twelve identical Shiva temples built facing the east in the typical ‘Aat Chala’ Bengal architecture. They make for a wonderful view against the backdrop of the Hoogly river (photography is not allowed of these temples so no photographs here of them!!). I am wonderful memories of visiting this temple in early mornings and sometimes during sunset during my childhood. The view of the temples against the river as the sun rises is really nice. The temple is run by a trust at presently and very neatly maintained.
Since Dakshineshwar temple is closely related to Shri Ramakrishna, who spent considerable time here, there are lot of interesting memorials inside the temple compound which relate to the life of the saint & his wife who had made it their home at the time. In fact so closely linked is the temple that a visit to Belur Math, which are headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission faith (based on Shri Ramakrishna’s spiritual mission) is incomplete without a visit to Dakshineshwar temple.
If you wish to visit this temple, please remember that the timings are – 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.
~ Happy Travels~