These 6 Kali Temples In Kolkata Embody Divine Feminine Power

The city of Kolkata is dotted with numerous temples dedicated to Kali, a testament to her popularity among Bengalis. If you wish to delve deeper into the rich culture and mythology of the City of Joy, visit these Kali temples
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is one of the most well-known Kali temples in India
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is one of the most well-known Kali temples in IndiaR.M. Nunes/Shutterstock

Unlike many parts of India, Bengal is known for the worship of goddesses and the feminine divine. In the state, major festivals centre around goddesses like Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lokkhi or Laxmi, and more. Both Durga and Kali are among the most worshipped gods in Kolkata. With the recent aggressive influence of political parties from the north of India, figures such as Ram and Hanuman have made inroads among devotees.

In most Bengali homes you will find an idol or a framed photograph of Kali in one of her many forms. Kali represents Shakti, the feminine divine energy. Many people believe that the name Kalikata, the ancient name of Kolkata, was inspired by the name of this goddess. The number of temples dedicated to her that dot Kolkata is evidence of her popularity among Bengalis. Here are some Kali Baris you must visit to gain a better understanding of this fascinating goddess.

Dakshineshwar Kali Mandir

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is one of the most well-known temples in India. Located on the banks of the Hooghly River, the temple was founded by philanthropist Rani Rashmoni in response to a dream she had before she embarked on a spiritual journey to Varanasi. The temple's presiding deity is Bhavatarini, an aspect of goddess Kali. Opened in 1855, the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple is built in the traditional nine spires style of the Bengal school of architecture. Opposite the main temple you will find a row of 12 identical Shiva (mini) temples built in the "Aat Chala" style of Bengali architecture.

Address: Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700076


The Kalighat temple is one of 51 shakti peeths
The Kalighat temple is one of 51 shakti peethsAnkur P/WikiCommons

The famous Kalighat Kali temple was once situated on the banks of the Hooghly (also known as Bhagirathi) in Kolkata. The river has receded over the years and the temple now stands near a small canal called the Adi Ganga which connects to the Hooghly. The Kalighat temple holds great importance as it is one of the 51 shakti peeths, which are believed to be the locations where the body parts of Sati fell during Shiva's Rudra Tandava. The temple showcases the "Aat Chala" style of Bengali architecture, which is characterised by arched roofs and square bases.

Address: Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700026

Thanthania Kali Bari

This ancient temple is believed to have been established by Shankar Ghosh, the grandfather of Swami Subhodhananda, who was a disciple of 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna. The temple houses an idol of Siddheswari Devi, a clay version of Kali that is painted every year in red and black. The temple is considered to be a Tantric temple.

Address: Bidhan Sarani Road, College Street Market, College Street, Kolkata, West Bengal 700006

Lake Kalibari

Lake Kalibari is located in the leafy Southern Avenue area
Lake Kalibari is located in the leafy Southern Avenue areaWikimedia Commons: Biswarup Ganguly

Lake Kalibari is located in the leafy Southern Avenue area and was established in 1949 by Haripada Chakraborty. The temple features a Panchamundi Ashan—the seat of five skulls—which was created by Chakraborty. The temple was originally known as the Shree Shree Karunamoyee Kalimata Mandir.

Address: 107, Sree Sree 108 Karunamoyee Kalimata Mandir, 1, Southern Ave, Rabindra Sarobar, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029

Dakat Kali Bari

The small Kali bari has a kasti pathar idol
The small Kali bari has a kasti pathar idolImmersive Trails-Global/Facebook

Dakat Kali Bari, or Dacoits' Kali Temple, is named after a notorious dacoit named Manohar Bagdi. He was the leader of one of the infamous bandit gangs of the time. It is said that Bagdi worshipped Kali and constructed the small Kali temple. The present temple was formally built in 1891 but the deity of the goddess Kali, made of kasti pathar, is much older than the temple.

Address: 39/1A, 39/1A, Purna Das Road, Triangular Park, Lake Terrace, Gariahat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029

Chinese Kali Bari

The Chinese Kali Bari is in Kolkata’s old Chinatown
The Chinese Kali Bari is in Kolkata’s old ChinatownWikimedia Commons: Deejayrocks2

Kolkata is the only place in India with a Chinatown. Records state that Tong Atchew was the first Chinese to settle in Calcutta (as Kolkata was then known) in the late 18th century. Subsequently, Kolkata became home to a large number of Chinese disapora who engaged in various occupations and added a new chapter to the evolution of Chinese cuisine in India. This temple in Kolkata’s old Chinatown of Tangra is all about the fusion of two cultures. Built around an old tree, it is interesting to see how the site is a melting pot of different influences centred around the worship of Kali. For instance, there are Chinese-style frescoes on the ceilings and the temple is known for serving Chinese dishes as bhog.

Address: G9VV+Q26, 41, Matheswartala Road, Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal 700046

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