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Glimpse of Krishna and Kali in one deity in the unique Kali temple of Kolkata

In the heart of Kolkata, there is an exclusive Kali temple located at the famous Keoratala crematorium, Kalighat. This sacred place symbolizes the coexistence of Krishna and Kali within a single deity, linking the Shakta and Vaishnava traditions. It is notable that the ancient reverence for the Mother Goddess goes beyond both Shakta and Vaishnava beliefs, demonstrating the deep devotion and devotion to the divine feminine energy in Sanatana Dharma.

During the Bengal Renaissance, a notable example of the Shakta-Vaishnava relationship was ‘Mata Krishnakali’, also known as ‘Ratanti Kali’. According to mythology, during the Kali Puja on Krishna Chaturdashi of Magha month, Krishna and Kali united, resulting in the name “Ratanti” or the night of union. Due to this, the name of the goddess worshiped on that day became ‘Krishnakali’ or ‘Ratanti Kali’. A story related to this incident has also been told in Brahmavaivarta Purana. According to the legend, during the union of Radha-Krishna, Lord Krishna took the form of Kali.

The famous Sati Peeth of Keoratala, ‘Kalighat Kalimandir’, is near the cremation ground to the north-west. Notably, the place where the deity ‘Sri Sri Krishnakali’ resides was originally part of the cremation ground, marked by a sacred fire place. According to local folklore, Anand Rishi, a devotee of Kali, established this temple about 150 years ago after engaging in intense sadhana or spiritual practice. Another sage named Anantananda also meditated here. The elevated platform in the temple complex symbolizes the memories of both the saints.

The temple goddess, ‘Sri Sri Krishnakali’ is worshiped daily. Special ceremonies are celebrated on every full moon and new moon day. Additionally, a grand Shyama Puja is celebrated with great pomp during the Diwali festival on the new moon day of Kartik month. Kali Puja is also celebrated with special rituals and festivals on Krishna Chaturdashi of Magha month. Notably, the north-western corner of the Keoratala cremation ground, which is adjacent to the terracotta temple of Mahakala, hosts the puja of ‘Shamshan Kali’ with a huge congregation during Deepanvita Amavasya.

From Rash Behari intersection a straight road leads to a junction. While on the right side is the Kalighat area and the famous Sati Peeth ‘Kalighat Kalimandir’, on the left side is the famous Keoratal cremation ground, where the ‘Shri Shri Krishnakali Temple’ is situated. As the new moon night approaches, devotees immerse themselves in the worship of various forms of Kali.

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