A meandering short post on Exploring Kamalakanta Kalibari. I am wondering do i take up this theme of exploring Kalibari’s of Bengal , at least the famous ones and some of the not so famous ones. To know what is a Kalibari , well read on for a bit.
Bengal is a state so different from others. The entity known as Bengal is not just confined between the political boundaries of West Bengal. Bengali culture is an emotion, a heartfelt series of thoughts and ideologies that have been framed for centuries.
Time check of 2020
My stay in Kolkata has been punctuated with activities ranging from weekend explorations, undertaking the very first trek in this region as well being confined indoors owing to COVID 19 Pandemic. I still remember how hopeful I was even when the lockdown was announced that I would still be able to meet the deadline of undertaking a trek into the Himalaya by late August. However the universe had others plans for humanity.
Reality seeps in of 2020
We all know how the situation panned out. I tried to learn related skill sets online which set me back financially :). Now we are in November, all I have pursued is to alter my destinations and look at exploring and imbibing the rich cultural and religious history of the state of Bengal. These can be in form of weekend destinations or one day trips.
Culture and recognition of religious beliefs are spread all over Bengal in the form of a cultural thread. These are deeply entwined in the ecosystem and even though modernity has seeped into every aspect of daily life , the presence of deep rooted cultural & religious belief is still omnipresent.
Keeping that theme in mind, I have been utilising my weekends to drive around to the nearby places which, as a result of the current scenario are mostly empty of people. So with this context, let’s get to know a bit about Kamalakanta Kalibari.
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Kalibari in Bengal
Speaking plainly, Kali Bari is Hindu temple dedicated to Kali Goddess, especially prevalent in the Bengali community. Most of these are maintained from the early times by the affluent families in the rural regions of Bengal. Since the olden times, people in Bengal have worshipped various forms of Goddess Parvati. The essence of Shakti is highly prevalent in this part of the country.
The concept & devotion to Shakti
One of the most significant events is the festival of Durga Puja which is celebrated with lots of fervour out here. The concept that Devi Durga comes to her paternal home ( Bengal ) from the mountains of Kailash along with her children for a short period. She is welcomed with immense joy and rituals in each and every part of the state.
Then there is Goddess Kali, who is revered in this region. The festival of Kali Puja is celebrated with deep-rooted faith and religious sentiment. She is painted dark as the moonlit night and is spoken of coming to this world to end all evils.
One day trip to exploring Kamalakanta KaliBari
With the background of this, I ventured out to visit Kamalkanta Kalibari located in the Burdhwan division of Bengal. The drive to Bardhwan is always a pleasure on AH1 which takes one through broad open pockets of fertile fields, inspiring one to get out of the city more often.
There is ample opportunity to take a detour and venture into rural Bengal to become a part of the frame for at least a few moments in one’s life. Once we reach Bardhwan town and get off the highway, the road narrows down, and we now start going into the bylanes to reach the temple. The lanes are relatively narrow, and a small car is always preferred.
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Exploring Kamalakanta KaliBari
The Maharaja of Burdwan, Tej Chandra had constructed the Kali Bari. Greatly influenced by the Bengali poet and Yogi Kamalakanta, who was an ardent devotee of Mother Kali, he made him his advisor as well requested him to take care of the constructed Kali temple which came to be known as Kamalakanta Kali Bari.
Kamalakanta after that stayed back at the temple, composing his songs in devotion to Kali Goddess which were famous all over the region.
The history of KamalaKanta KaliBari
The idol was initially not installed in the temple, but as the popularity of the temple grew, Goddess Kali idol was established. The idol was consigned to the Ganges every year on the occasion of Vijay Dashmi and a new idol was installed on the occasion of Kali puja. Initially the idol used to be made of clay but then in the later years the idol was made of stone, a single stone constructed by the sculptor Bhaskar Ghosh.
It is said that to see the mother Goddess Kali one needs to be close eyes and look at the goddess to actually see her in all her glory. Only when the image is imprinted in mind does the beauty of her can be seen through mortal eyes. This is indeed so true.
My thoughts on exploring Kamalakanta Kalibari
It was one of those low keyed visits that I undertook wherein the ambience and the slowed out discovery of the place occupied the primary focus, photography and blogging details took a backseat. Sitting barefoot in a new temple with hardly any devotees save the local community who were ever welcoming to find a stranger in their midst was indeed relaxing and fulfilling.
There are many more short stories like this which i plan to pen down in the coming days . I hope the readers who are one of the primary reason for me to write it down will relate to the thoughts and ambience of these little gems in our country
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