Address : Dakshineswar, Kolkata
City/District : Kolkata
State : West Bengal
Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a Hindu navaratna temple located at Dakshineswar. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, who is form of Adi Shakti. The temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was founded around the middle of the 19th century by Rani Rashmoni. Rani Rashmoni was a Mahishya by caste and was well known for her philanthropic activities. In the year 1847, Rashmoni prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred Hindu city of Kashi to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. Rani was to travel in twenty-four boats, carrying relatives, servants, and supplies. According to traditional accounts, the night before the pilgrimage began, Rashmoni had a vision of the Divine Mother in the form of the goddess Kali in a dream and reportedly said,
Profoundly affected by the dream, Rani immediately looked for and purchased a 30,000-acre plot in the village of Dakhineswar. The large temple complex was built between 1847 and 1855. The 20-acre (81,000 m2) plot was bought from an Englishman, Jake Hastie, and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha. Partly old Muslim burial ground shaped like a tortoise, considered befitting for the worship of Shakti according to Tantra traditions, it took eight years and nine hundred thousand rupees to complete the construction. The idol of Goddess Kali was installed on the Snana Yatra day on 31 May 1855 amid festivities at the temple formally known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay as the head priest. Soon his younger brother Gadai or Gadadhar (later known as Ramakrishna) moved in and so did his nephew Hriday to assist him. On 31 May 1855 more than 1 lakh (one hundred thousand) Brahmins were invited from different parts of the country to grace the auspicious occasion. The next year, Ramkumar Chattopadhyay died, and the position was given to Ramakrishna along with his wife Sarada Devi, who stayed in the south side of the Nahabat (music room) in a small room on the ground floor, which is now a shrine dedicated to her.
Ramakrishna was responsible for bringing much in the way of both fame and pilgrims to the temple.
Rani Rashmoni lived for only five years and nine months after the inauguration of the temple. She fell seriously ill in 1861. Realizing that her death was near, she decided to hand over the property she had purchased in Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) as a legacy for the maintenance of the temple to the temple trust. She accomplished her task on 18 February 1861 and died on the next day. After her death, her sons-in-law took to celebrating Durga Puja in their respective premises.
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