A Tour to Kolkata’s Top Kali Puja Pandals

Hello Friends, my name is Animesh Das and after my tour to Ujjain and penning upon the same in Ghumakkar, alongside receiving an array of good feedback, I am writing down the experience incurred during the month of Kartika Amavasya i.e. Deepawali.

In this series of Bengal tour I will cover the routes of Kali Puja Parikrama and then a Gram Bangla Tour to two holy places of Bengal, First to Jayarambati (Birth-place of Sri Sarada Devi) and Second to Kamarpukur (Birth-place of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Deva), Belur Math & Cossipure Udyanbati.

Born and raised up entirely in North India, Capital of India Delhi NCR, I am used to the celebrations of our Diwali culture of North since childhood, however as a prejudiced Bengali on the day of Diwali we always celebrate Kaali Puja in form of Matri bandana which occurs typically from midnight to early dawn.

But this time I had a rare opportunity to visit the Banga Desha (which is the heart of Shakti sadhana, generally in the land of Shaktism), I had an approved leave for 10 days and knowing Diwali would be a part of my holiday, I decided to do a Kaali Puja Parikrama during the night of Diwali.

Road through Ganga

Road through Ganga

We reached home and after a day’s rest I was ready for my parikrama on the day of Diwali. Alongside me was my brother in law Krishnendu who generally go every year and undertake this parikrama.

Kalighat

Kalighat is one of the major satipitha among 51 shaktipitha of Indian mythology and it is believed that the Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell during the rudra tandava of shiva and henceforth it is the first shaktipith of the Eastern India.

Its located near hazra area and very easily accessible. Main Puja is offered throught the day starting 4 am in the morning continuing 11 PM in the night, with major footfall during Tuesdays/Saturdays alongside amabasya.

When you enter the shrine a very common suggestion to every devotee or fellow traveler is that please beware of the pandas or rajpurohits who will ask you to perform puja and ask for exorbitant price.

What I will advise is that when you go to the shrine area just entering the temple, leave your shoes to Prasad sellers and it is solely your wish to take the Prasad the amount is INR 21/- 51/- 101/ 151/201/251/501/1001 to anything upto your choice and mannat. Just take a purohit don’t ask any thing or bargain simply take him along with you.

He will perform the pushpanjali and after the Darshana pay him according to your wish. In my case I took a Prasad dala of Rs 21 and after the Darshana and puspanjali I paid the purhohit Rs 11 as dakshina, without uttering an word. That’s an expert advise to all the folk.

However I am still saying if you have mannat and want to donate as per your wish you are free to do so, just don’t fall prey to demands.

Kalighat Kali

Kalighat Kali

After the darshan and payment to panda, we moved out to the Darshana of different Kali roopas , we moved first to the burning ghat(Shamsan) of Keora Tola Shamsan which is just a 0.1 Km from temple or 10 mins walk by foot Here the Puja of Kali or the Soshan kalika( The Guardian of Burning Ghats) is done.

This Kalika Roop is worshipped only in Samshan Bhoomi as prescriped in Tantra Mal here the Kali Maa is worshipped as per Tantric rituals at midnight.

Shamshan Kali

Shamshan Kali

The next destination for parikrama was the worship of Shri Krishna Kaali where the Maa is depicted as Lord Krishna.

According to legends in Vrindavana, when Radha rani came to worship Lord Krishna, radharani’s mother in law Kutilaa compained to Radha’s husband Ayan that she is worshipping Krishna. When Ayan himself went to verify the same , Lord Krishna took the form of Kali in Krishna Kaali roopa and henceforth this sweet incarnation came to be known as Krishna Kali.

Krishna Kali

Krishna Kali

Singhavahini Kaali at Harish Chatterjee Street

After having the divine darshan of Krishna kali roop we moved to Harish Chaterjee street where the worship of major matri roopas were there. Our first stop was at Singhavahini Kaali where the mother goddess is seated upon the Lion with grand mudra and it was observed and worshipped in Royal manner. The radiance of this roop is just beautiful in words to describe, when you move to Harish Chaterjee street do try to catch this version of Matri-Rupa

Singhavahini Kali

Singhavahini Kali

Chetla Agrani Club

After moving few metres ahead alongside the street we went to Chetla Agrani Club this is very famous club and get award from Statewise competitions, we saw the beautiful image of Elokeshi Shiva Kaali Elokeshi means weird hair style where as per Markendya Puraan Maa Chamunda and Maa Ugra kalika were in this form devouring the Asura sena and massacring every single Daityas during the Chanda munda War.

Her hairstyle is elaborate weird hence earning the name of Elokeshi.

Elokeshi Kali

Elokeshi Kali

Kalighat Youngsmen Shastrabhuj Kali

Next we moved towards our destination where we would see two beautiful Roopa of Mahakali. One is the Padmasana Kali and other one is Sahsatra Bhuja Kaali. The Padmasana Kali is worshipped according to Meditation Brahman Paddati and is considered to be Yogamaya arising from the Lotus of wisdom. The idol is based on chamunda roop and is considered to be the Goddess of Wisdom.

The sahasra bhuja Kaali (The Goddess with 1000 hands)is worshipped based on the Adbhut Ramayana story where Lord Rama has to kill Sahasrabhuj Ravana, Lord Rama got wounded in battle and Sita Maharani got enraged and took the form of Mahakali with thousand hands and slayed thousand headed Ravana with a single blow.

The Form of Sahasra bhuja kaali is very unique with lord shiva as his husband on left and she is been adorned with snake necklace and beautiful Red Sari with Abhay Mudra.

Sahastra Bhuja Kali

Sahastra Bhuja Kali

Rupayan Club

Padmasana Kali

Padmasana Kali

As we got delighted to see the pictures of Kali idols near Chetla we moved towards the most famous and iconic Kaali Puja of Kolkata i.e. the one and only Chamunda Kaali, one of the fearsome idols of Kalipuja depicting Ma Kaali in full enraged and angry form.

ABS Sporting Chamunda Kali

This Kali Puja has reached its 65th Year and is so famous that if you ask for Chamunda Kali Puja everyone will guide you to the puja pandal. For convenience its just beside the Durgapur-Chetla Flyover entrance.

The idol is been depicted in Night fight time when Ma Chamunda took the ferocious form of Ugrachandika and was creating panic and havoc among the asura army with its hordes. This idol is 30 Ft high and is in supreme character.

Chamunda Kali

Chamunda Kali

The Shav shivam Kali- Who resides upon the corpses

Shav Shivam Kali

Shav Shivam Kali

The Dakshina Kali- The Prachin age old village diety of Bengal resembling a village girl

Chetla Dakshinayan Club Dakshina Kali

Chetla Dakshinayan Club Dakshina Kali

The Adi Kali – The Kali Maa residing as guardian of ancestors

Aadi Kali

Aadi Kali

The Chinnamasta Mata- One of 10 Mahavidyas

Chhinamasta Kali

Chhinamasta Kali

Ma Tara : One of 51 satipeethas and major Tantric pith. Ma Tara is beautiful and one of the Dasha Mahavidya

Matri Sevak

Matri Sevak

Sangathani Club

Our Final destination came to halt at Sangathani Club which is doing the 100 yrs+ puja depicting three Tri-Shakti Kaali resembling Kalighat, Dakshineswar & Tarapith. Jai Ma Jai Ma Jai Maa that’s the only sound we can experience in this 5.5 kms Parikrama and the bliss one cannot suffice in written words.

Tri Shakti Kali

Tri Shakti Kali

Its really true what is said in Markendya Devi Bhagwat Puraana, that devi in form of Mahakali is only one and is the source of full feminine power as mother, wife and sister and overall the Maa of Universe and to appease her we have to bow to her eternally

Namo Devyai Mahaa-Devyai Shivaayai Satatam Namah |
Namah Prakrtyai Bhadraayai Niyataah Prannataah Sma Taam ||1||

1.1: Salutations to the Devi, to the Mahadevi; Salutations Always to Her Who is One with Shiva (the Auspicious One).


1.2: Salutations to Her Who is the Auspicious (being One with Shiva) Primordial Source of Creation and Controller of Everything; We Bow Always to Her.

So here is the first leg of my travel and I believe that one should personally visit and try to do this parikrama for self enlightenment. My next writing will be on Visit to Jayrambati and Kamarpukur which is eternal tirtha to Bengali people and lesser known places for bliss.

Kindly accept my apologies if any corner I have incurred issues, Awaiting your feedback

2 Comments

  • Thank you for the parikrama post Animesh..
    I cannot agree more on one of the quotes in this post.. taht Maa Kali is the supreme power and the single wholesome representation of the feminine qualities.. I for one, have had several hair-raising moments.. all when I have been to various Kali/Durga temples..
    Brilliant!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    If I remember correctly, this is one of the rare and unique posts on the various Pujo Pandals in Kolkata (and around). I have been wanting to spend time in Kolkata during the Pujo time, when I do this log would be extremely valuable.

    Thank you Animesh for sharing this. I look forward to reading the next leg.

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