Dakshineswar Temple

dakshineswartemple

In the year 1847, the wealthy widow 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 Calcutta and 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 not 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.

Places of Interest

To the north of the Kali-temple is a Dalan of Radha-Krisna. To the west, twelve Siva temples of Bengali atchala style stand in rows on the Hughli river with a ‘chandni-bathing ghat’, which is flanked by these Siva temples, six each on either side. The temple compound on three sides – north, east and south – are enclosed by rows of guestrooms and offices.
There are umpteen shops on both sides of the main entrance of the temple. The whole ambience with the arboreta is absolutely ethereal.

Getting there and Around

By Air –

Kolkata is well connected by air to all major countries in the world, as well as to Indian cities. The air carriers that have flights to and from the city include Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Biman Bangladesh, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Royal Nepal Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.

By Rail –

Trains are available from all parts of the country to Calcutta. Most inward bound trains stop at Howrah, which is also the station from which major trains to other cities depart. Most trains heading to areas such as New Jalpaiguri and other provinces in the north-east stop at the other station, Sealdah. Local trains to nearby towns are available from both stations, depending on which part of West Bengal you want to go to. Since Howrah and Sealdah are not exactly a hop, skip and jump away from each other, do remember to check which station you need you board your train from, when you buy your ticket!

By Road –

A few buses ply from Orissa and Bihar to Calcutta. However, these are highly uncomfortable and best avoided. Buses are also available to nearby towns, especially if you wish to visit Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri on your trip to Calcutta. Depending on which direction you’re heading in, buses could depart from the end of the Maidan near Chowringhee Road, or the bus stand at Babu Ghat near Fort William. A few tour operators have their own private bus stands, so do make inquiries.

Accommodation

Accommodation is not a problem in Kolkata as there are thousands of Hotels Ranging from Luxurious to Budget hotels,Lodges ,Guest houses and  Resting beds per hour are also available.

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