I really don’t recollect from how many months, which may run into years, I have been listening to Bhajan Samrat Anoop Jalota’s soulful rendition of Bhajans on Seher Program on 92.7 FM at 6 AM. and that has been my permanent ritual. Here in this program Jalotaji tells a story around a temple or a religious place. Few weeks ago he told the story of Dakshineshwar temple of Kolkata, which immensely interested me. So much so that I started contemplating a visit to Kolkata just to be in the temple. I don’t know when my wish would be granted or would be granted at all, but I would visit to the temple is on my wishlist.
The thought lingered with me for few weeks, and in one of my thinking sessions I recollected that my brother Prabhat had visited Dakshineshwar temple in Kolkata last year. This made things easier for me and I narrated the story to him which Anoopji had told on FM that day. He confirmed the story and shared with me few details about the temple which I would love to share with my religious & spiritual readers, in particular.
A dream inspired the construction of the Dakshineshwar Temple in Kolkata, a structure more than 100 ft high, built within a huge complex that also houses 12 shrines dedicated to Shiva and one to Radha-Krishna. In 1847, when the wealthy widow Rani Rashmoni was preparing to leave for Varanasi, Goddess Kali appeared in her dream and said, “There is no need to go to Kashi. Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganga and arrange for my worship there.” The Rani followed her orders.
Our PM Narendra Modi paid a visit to Dakshineshwar temple.
To the west of the vast temple courtyard stand 12 Shiva temples of Bengali aatchala (eight-roofs) style in a row. Sri Ramakrishna spent many years in the chamber to the north-west, a little beyond the last of the Shiva temples. Some of the most important events in this enlightened soul’s life took place at the Dakshineshwar Temple.
With six temples on either side, a flight of steps goes down to the bathing ghat in the Hooghly. At the head of the ghat is the traditional chandni, a roofed terrace where visitors can enjoy the riverfront. To the left of the temple courtyard is the temple to Radhakanta, or Vishnu. A temple dedicated to Rani Rashmoni was added later, near the entrance.
Built in the traditional ‘Nava-ratna’ or nine spires style of Bengal architecture, the three-storeyed south-facing temple has nine spires distributed in upper two storeys, and stands on a high platform with a flight of stairs, overall it measures 46 feet (14 m) square and rises over 100 feet (30 m) high.
The garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) houses an idol of goddess Kali, known as Bhavataraini, standing on the chest of a lying Shiva, and the two idols are placed on a thousand-petaled lotus made of silver.
Close to the main temple are the row of twelve identical Shiva temples built facing the east in the typical ‘Aat Chala’ Bengal architecture, they are built on either side of the ghat on the Hoogly river. To the North east of the Temple Complex is the Vishnu Temple or the Radha Kanta’s Temple. A flight of steps lead to the columned verandah and into the temple where a silver throne rests with a 21 1⁄2-inch (550 mm) idol of Lord Krishna and a 16-inch (410 mm) idol of Radha.
This way this abode of Kali is manifestation of Rani Rashmoni’s dream!
Must visit when in Kolkata.