Kalkaji Temple, popularly known as Kalkaji Mandir is a renowned temple dedicated to Kalka Devi or Kali, one of the incarnations of Goddess Durga. Kalkaji temple is arguably the most visited temple in the Delhi city. The Temple is situated near the Okhla industrial estate just in front of the famous Lotus temple. Devotees throng the temple throughout the year but the culmination point of the celebration comes during the festival of Navratri. This is a nine-day festival, during which a large fair is organized here. These fairs are the Indian version of carnivals that is full with the vibrant commotion of hawkers and children. Small groups singing various hymns and songs praising Goddess Durga, accompany them.
Very less has left of the original temple, built in mid 18th century. However, a very small portion of the original structure built in the year 1734 can be seen on the topmost point of the hill. According to the historical accounts, Marathas are said to have plundered the then temple after they lost to the Mughals in the battle of Talkatora in the year 1738. Later in the mid 19th century, Raja Kedarnath, the treasurer of Emperor Akbar II made certain changes and additions to the temple.
The modern temple is a 12-sided structure completely made out of marble and black pumice stones. This structure houses the black stone that denotes goddess kali. The temple building is very simple and has no ornamentation as such. There is an inn in the backyards of the main structure known as Kali Dharamshala.
The major ritual consists of offering and bathing the idol with milk followed by an Aarti in the evening. This, in turn, is followed by hymn recitation. Offerings can be purchased just before the entrance of the temple. Visitors should be alert in the area as the place is very crowded and there can be few anti-social elements (pickpockets) after your wallet or precious possessions.
Places of Interest
Akshardham Temple – Read Details here
Bhairav Temple – Read Details here
Chattarpur Temple – Read Details here
Iskcon Temple – Built on a hilly place in 1998, the ISKCON Temple is a complex of temples. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this elegant temple is one of the largest temple complexes in India. It has a large number of Hare-Rama Hare-Krishna followers.
Bala Hanuman Temple – This small but elegant temple located at Baba Kharak Singh Marg near Connaught Place was built in 1724. It is very popular among the devotees of Lord Hanuman. The 24-hour chanting of the mantra ‘Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram’, since August 1, 1964, has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Gauri Shankar temple – Tucked behind fragrant mounds of marigolds, roses and jasmine blossoms sold on Chandni Chowk just west of the Jain temple, the large marble Gauri Shankar temple, dominated by its eight-hundred-year-old lingam, is Delhi’s holiest Shiva temple. Devotees enter up a narrow flight of marble steps, flanked by pillars carved with chains and bells, that opens onto a spacious courtyard, always a scene of animated devotional activity. Inside, offerings for sale include bilva (wood apple) leaves, chandan (sandalwood paste), marigolds, red powder, rice, and cotton threads. The main sanctuary holds bejewelled statues of Gauri (Parvati) and Shankar (Shiva) standing beneath a silver canopy, and the ancient brown stone lingam resting on a marble yoni encased in silver and draped with silver serpents. Shrines to other deities line the south wall.
Aurobindo Ashram – This ashram at Aurobindo Marg, is a centre for yoga and meditation. The main ashram is at Pondicherry. Products like handmade paper, incense sticks, etc. are available here.
Digambara Jain temple and Jain Bird Hospital – Delhi’s oldest Digambara Jain temple, directly opposite the entrance to the Red Fort, at the east end of Chandni Chowk, was built in 1526, but has been modified and added to ever since, and remains a haven of tranquillity amid the noise and chaos of the main street. Though not as ornate as the fine temples in Gujarat and Rajasthan, it does boast detailed carvings, and gilded paintwork in the antechambers surrounding the main shrine to Parshvanath, the twenty-third tirthankara. You’ll have to remove your shoes, and hand them over with your bags and all leather articles to a kiosk before entering.
Getting there and Around
By Air – Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is connected to all the important cities of the world with almost all the major international airlines operating out of here. Palam Domestic Airport connects Delhi to the major cities in India.
By Rail – The Indian Railway with their modern and organized network connects Delhi to all major and minor destinations in India. The city has three major railway stations at New Delhi, Old New Delhi, and Nizamuddin. Luxury trains like the Palace-on-Wheels, Fairy Queen, and Royal Orient Express can be taken from New Delhi Cantonment railway station. Rajdhani Express trains connect New Delhi from the state capitals. Shatabdi Express trains connect New Delhi to the neighboring cities.
By Road – Delhi is well connected to all the major cities of India by a network of highways and roads. Buses can be taken from the three Inter State Bus Terminuses (ISBT), at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar, as well as many starting points in and around the city, from which various state-managed and privately run transport facilities like airconditioned, deluxe and ordinary coaches operate
Best way to travel in Delhi – For travel in Delhi there are buses, the Metro train, auto-rickshaws and cycle- rickshaws. Tourist taxis ply interstate while the yellow and black taxis can be used to commute anywhere within the city and are safe but relatively expensive. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses go anywhere in the city and are the cheapest mode of transport. Auto rickshaws are another option, but it is always important to bargain for a reasonable fare. Luxurious special tourist buses are also available with packaged tours to all the tourist attractions in Delhi.The recently introduced Delhi Metro railway line is a convenient and efficient mode of transport connecting all major places within the city.
There are thousands of hotels in Delhi, so, accommodation can’t be a problem.Some of the best hotels that provide comfort and luxury to the visitors coming to the Delhi are the Ashoka hotel in the heart of the city, the Centaur Hotel near the airport and Holiday inn Crown plaza in Connaught Plaza and the Hyatt Regency. All of these hotels are star category hotels and provides good services. Budget hotels are available in Karol bagh and Paharganj area of Delhi
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