Kolkata is still deeply rooted and connected with age-old traditions, beliefs irrespective of the spread of modernity seeping in. The city is dotted with historic temples, situated on streets and neighbourhoods that have grown over decades yet still emanate the vibe of history. The visitor can feel the chain links of religious belief so held strong by mankind when he moves on these streets towards the temples that stand as silent; beacons of trust and belief. To visit them has been one of my cherished endeavours of mine. While I have already embarked on this quest, this is the second post in the series. The post is hence titled visiting legendary famous temples of Kolkata.
What is my blog all about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on the ancient history, the art of India, among other places of travel that I keep doing. The history posts come up because there is in ancient Indian History, so many monumental architectures created. Read through the posts on the Mundgod the mini Tibet of India, or the reclusive Karwar town in the Western Ghats or my journey to the 5 prayags ( confluences of historic rivers) in the Himalayas. I am sure a visit to them would be fascinating to just about anyone purely from a visitor’s inquisitive prism of view. In case interested, read about Ganjifa, the slowly dying art of Maharashtra. The previous blog post on famous historic temples in the city of Kolkata can be read here.
We al explore the city that we reside in , in a way which is unique to each of us. For me; exploring, knowing and visiting history is a major aspect of my travels within a city. Consequently temples which form an important link to the history is a natural choice.
My travels have taken me to see places of everyday life but when I have looked at them closely, I have realised their uniqueness and worth. These have made me to retrospect on many a thought that germinates in me . These also enrich me with experiences and a pleasure that I would have otherwise not known.
In case reading blogs is tedious at your end, would you like to check the story posts out here
Visiting legendary famous temples of Kolkata
Firingee Kali Bari
Irrespective of all social boundaries, everyone who has lived in the city of Joy has visited this Kali Temple, located on BB Ganguly street at Bow bazaar. Surrounded by teeming traffic and the chaos of everyday life, this temple stands serene and accessible to all.
Speaking of BB Ganguly street, it is always busy but I definitely recommend a walk through this street to get a glimpse of a slice of the core iconic facets of Kolkata; from the hand-pulled rickshaw to the yellow taxis; from the decades-old shops embedded into the walls on either side of the street selling merchandise that can be attributed to the flavour of the Asian and Indian way of life, one can see and soak in Kolkata straddled between two worlds – early 21st century and modern 21st century.
The temple is named Firingee Kali Bari owing to the recognition given to Anthony Firingee, a Portuguese who becomes the supreme disciple of Goddess Kali and embraces her devotion and practices wholeheartedly. That is quite a story; indeed to be discussed as to how cities and beliefs across the world make travellers adopt them.
The main idol consists of the Siddheswari Kali standing in a majestic posture with a powerful look over Lord Shiva. She is worshipped here with great devotion, and it is believed that the aura of this temple to fulfil the wishes of the devotees is very high.
The temple is more than 500 years old. I consider myself very fortunate to have visited this ancient temple in Kolkata as a part of my effort in visiting the legendary famous temples of Kolkata. The moments in this life to see and soak in history and belief is worth every effort taken.
Rama Krishna Math, Baranagar
I think every one of us is aware of the organization of Rama Krishna Math. It is a worldwide, non-political, non-sectarian spiritual organization for more than a century.
After the departure of Shri Ramakrishna in 1886 from the world, a small group of monastic disciples had nowhere to go and were in a dilemma. At this time, a dilapidated haunted house in Baranagar Kolkata is offered where they start staying and begin monastic life. Thus came into existence the very first Rama Krishna mission in the year 1887 at Baranagar, on the banks of the Ganges. Here, Narendranath Datta, later known as Swami Vivekananda and eight other disciples, took formal monastic vows at what came to be known as Baranagar Math.
The old house and mission did not stand the ravages of time save a few arches left standing. However, the ground where the old house stood is turned into a garden. Thus transforming the thoughts and history into something pleasant and positive.
I wanted to visit this august mission which has such a deep sense of history attached to it. I feel a sense of gratitude while writing this down. Consider myself so fortunate to have been able to visit the very first Rama Krishna Mission established letting the vibes of the place assimilate in me.
I would always recommend those who stay in this city or come to this city for extended visits to make the time to explore the temples that are an integral part of Kolkata. This post is a ready reckoner for visiting the legendary famous temples of Kolkata.
Chinese Kali Temple
One of the best examples of harmonious existence and assimilation of different faiths and communities is the Chinese Kali Temple. This is in the only Chinatown of India in Kolkata at Tangra. One rainy morning I decided to visit this most unique Kali Bari in the city of Kolkata. Kolkata is so full of rituals, it is like a centre of rituals in this part of the country. People depend on these rituals to attach their lives to them on a subconscious level.
The Chinese Kali Bari is a supreme example of the convergence of cultural ideologies of two different communities at this holy shrine. The Prasad offered here varies from noodles to momos to chop suey to rice and vegetable dishes. The temple is very simple, on one side of the road and over 60 yrs old. Local Chinese community who reside here maintain this temple. It is an integral part of the community.
Sri Dashamahavidyamata Sri Anadikeswar Mahadev Temple
The Dashamahavidya Temple is one of the least talked about temples of Kolkata. An incredibly serene and auspicious temple, the history of the temple goes this way. The temple near Ratan Babu Ghat in North Kolkata dates back to the time of Sri Ramakrishna. He requested one of his ardent devotees, Madhur Babu, to arrange an annabhog ( food offering ) for all the ten forms of Maa Kali at a temple. Hence came into existence the Anadikeswar Mahadev Temple celebrating all the ten forms of Maa Kali.
The devotee gets to see all the forms of Maa Kali, and they are a revelation indeed. In the complex, one finds Shiva lingams that add to the aura of serenity and divinity. Next the holy Ganges flowing hardly 50 mts away. I have always found this stretch of Kolkata, next to the Ganges very sublime owing to the synergy of the old Kolkata architecture comprising of historical everyday buildings, streets built for handcarts with the Ganges always a part of the frame.
Pramanik Kali Baari
One of the earliest Kali Bari in Baranagar, North Kolkata. The architect who designed the globally acclaimed Dakhineswar Kali temple built this one in the same lines and symmetry but on a smaller scale.
Built on the banks of the Ganges, the temple has seen humanity evolve and transform over the decades. Visitors come here rarely. I am very fortunate to see both Dakhineswar Kali temple and Pramanik Kali Bari, part of my blog post on visiting legendary famous temples of Kolkata.
My blog posts on Kolkata, the jewel on the East Coast
Read here if it appeals to you my experiences on Kolkata titled Amar Kolkata. Then there was my visit to the unique international book fair of 2020 before the pandemic hit us all. I will always look at early 2020 as a great time for I came across so many events in Kolkata. One such beautiful example was by Art Rickshaw in Hindustan Park. The theme of Old Currency building presently is in line with acknowledging the cosmopolitan transformation of Kolkata through the links to the past two centuries of art. Before I forget how about seeing something simple yet unique, visit the Train Museum in Kolkata and of course the iconic Indian Museum, Kolkata.
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My thoughts on visiting legendary famous temples of Kolkata
Kolkata is famous for many aspects, historic and of national relevance but it is these temples of Kolkata that are so dear to me. These will be remembered by me for years . As I travel down memory lane remembering my days visiting legendary famous temples of Kolkata.