There are many Kali temples in Cossipore-Baranagar area of which the Kali temple in Baranagar bazaar is more than two hundred years old. Founded in 1781, this temple is located at the crossing of Gopal Lal Thakur Road and Kashinath Datta Road. The presiding deity is Maa Siddheswari.
It is said that Nanu Thakur, who happened to be one of the forefathers of the present sebaits of the temple, used to worship the goddess from a very tender age. He used to worship the goddess religiously after having his bath at the Ganges on a daily basis. The present sebaits of this temple are the Chakraborty family. It has been heard that the great great grandfather of the present sebaits, Sannayashi Charan Chakraborty was a priest of this temple and, that too, two centuries back.
The principal festival is Kali puja. The temple is crowded with many devotees, some of whom come from far off places. When I visited this temple in this year’s Kali puja, I found a lot of people both inside and outside the temple. Many have come to offer puja to the goddess. It is during this time that the temple is decorated. Maa Siddheswari, about six feet in height, made of clay of the Ganges (ganga mati) is there inside the temple along with other gods and goddesses. The puja is performed according to tantric rituals.
Previously this temple was inside a hut, the roof of which is made of hogla leaves. It was heard that Totapuri, Ramkrishna Paramahansadev, Rani Rasmoni, Balananda Brahmachari, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Abhedananda visited this temple. Daily worship is performed and on each Amavasya (new moon) special puja is held. Both veg and non veg bhog is offered to Maa Siddheswari.
There is a food shop selling kachuris (one type of snacks) situated at the north of this kalibari known as Fagu’s Dokan (Fagu’s Shop). Ramkrishnadev was fond of eating kachuris from this shop. The shop is still there but in a different name. When I enquired, I was told that this shop was pretty old. Apart from singhara and kachuri, alur chop (chop made of potato) is sold here.
In order to visit this temple, take an auto from Sinthir more and get down at Baranagar bazaar stop. You will see the temple just at the crossing.
(i) Bisaya/Baranagar – Ajit Sen;
(ii) Baranagar Alambazar Math – Ramesh Chandra Bhattacharya.
Date of posting: 11th November, 2018.