India > Temples >Dakshineswar Temple
Dakshineswar Temple, Kolkata
In the year 1847, the wealthy widow queen Rani Rasmani prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred city of Banaras to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. In those days there was no railway line between Kolkata and Varanasi (Banaras) and it was more comfortable for rich persons to make the journey by boat rather than by road. We are told that the convoy of Rani Rasmani consisted of twenty four boats carrying relatives, servants, and supplies. But the night before the pilgrimage began, the Divine Mother, in the form of the goddess Kali, intervened. She appeared to the Rani in a dream and said, "There is no need to go to Banaras. Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges river and arrange for my worship there. Then I shall manifest myself in the image and accept worship at that place". Profoundly affected by the dream, the Rani immediately looked for and purchased land, and promptly began construction of the temple. The large temple complex, built between 1847 and 1855, had as its centerpiece a shrine of the goddess Kali, but also had temples dedicated to the deities Shiva and Radha-Krishna. A scholarly and elderly sage was chosen as the head priest and the temple was consecrated in 1855. Within the year this priest died and his responsibility passed to his younger brother, Ramakrishna, who over the next thirty years would bring great fame to the Dakshineswar temple.
In later days, we all are aware about the realities how Rama Krishna derived his Liberation and trance by the touch of the image of Goddess Kali there and acquired the supernatural power and became an ascetic with divine austerity. There also the Cosmic grace of Maa-Kali turned. Ramakrishna as a saint, as an incarnation of Lord Rama and Krishna together in one embodiment. Swami Vivekanand got his blessings and contemplated his preaching globally to serve humanity, to serve all living souls, to serve the Lord Shiva and taking all religions to be one and only one for the God being the one - the power omnipotent. Even now, we get the blessings of Maa-Kali from Dakshineswar for any distress of life, any problem of mental agonies and anxieties or for any family criticalities to get peaceful solutions and successful achievements in fulfilling the prayers by the touch of Her auspecious Nirmalya and Pujas with pure heart.
Jyotirlingas at the Kali Mandir
There are twelve most holy Sivalingas known as Jyotirlingas, the manifestations of Siva in the form of emblems representing light. In the Dakshineswar temple also, twelve temples of Siva have been constructed in a row by Rani Rasmani, who perhaps had in mind the twelve Jyotirlingas. Sri Ramakrishna himself was a living Jyotirlinga of Siva as he was the embodiment of divine light which arose out of Jugi's Siva temple of Kamarpukur. Thus it is no wonder that Thakur was much devoted to the twelve 'Jyotir Lingas' or Siva installed at Dakshineswar.
Sri Ramakrishna could not worship for long the twelve Sivalingas in the Dakshineswar temple which are called Yogeswar, Jatneswar, Jatileswar, Nakuleswar, Nakeswar, Nirjareswar, Nareswar, Nandiswar, Nageswar, Jagadiswar, Jaleswar and Yajneswar. Among these twe1ve Sivas, Jagadiswar (literally, Lord of the world) seems to be especially important, as the real name of the Kali at the Dakshineswar temple is 'Sri Sri Jagadiswari Mahakali.' Sri Ramakrishna himself was Jagadiswar-Siva who actually realised that the Jagad (world) itself is Iswara (Siva). He said "One day while worshiping Siva I was about to place a betle leaf on the head of the image, when it was revealed to me that this Virat, this Universe, itself is Siva. After that my worship of Siva through the image came to an end". But he used to send his young disciples to the twelve Siva temples for meditation.
How to Reach
Local buses, mini buses and metered taxis are readily available from various parts of the city. Even auto rickshaws are available on share basis.
Nearest Railway Station : Dakshineswar (suburban) & Howrah Junction.
Nearest Metro Station : Dum Dum.
Nearest Airport : Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Intrnational Airport.
Time required for sightseeing : About 45 minutes.
Location : Kolkata, West Bengal, India.