On the next day after I reached Kolkata, I decided to visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple, which is famous all over India and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The temple is about 12.5 km from Kolkata city and it takes about 21 minutes to reach the temple by car. I had a cab arranged at the travel desk to take me to the temple. I got up early in the morning and got ready by 7.00 am. The cab arrived and I reached the temple by 7.30 am. It was already vibrant with the chanting of the pundits and the devotees.
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhavatarini, an incarnation of Goddess Kali. It was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, who was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali. The temple is also closely associated with the spiritual leader Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who along with his wife Sharda Devi, worshipped here until his death. He was a great devotee of Goddess Kali and was respected by all sects of people. He was also the spiritual Guru of Swami Vivekananda.
The temple was located on the banks of the River Hoogly and looked very impressive, spreading over an area of 25 acres. It remained open from 6.00 am to 12.30 pm and then from 3.30 to 9.00 pm. for the devotees to offer their prayers. The main temple is surrounded by 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and there is a Shivalinga placed in each shrine. The courtyard also has a temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna.
Inside the sanctum sanctorum there was the idol of Goddess Kali, standing with one foot on the chest the Lord Shiva lying on the ground. The two idols are placed on a silver lotus with thousand petals. I offered the flowers and sweets I bought from the shop near temple and stood there praying for a few minutes. The priest gave me prasad and put a tilak on my forehead. The prayer made me peaceful and relaxed, and then I got out, visiting the other shrines. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are regarded as the auspicious days, there is a huge crowd of devotees.