Calcutta, (now Kolkata) has a number of Kali temples. Some of them are pretty old. The temples are scattered throughout the metropolis. One such temple is situated at 512, Rabindra Sarani, Kolkata – 700005 popularly known as Siddheswari Kalibari. Many of us have seen the temple and also Maa Siddheswari.
If you are going straight following the Chitpore tram line, the temple will fall on your left. Alternately, if you are going from Beniatola to Baghbazar following the tram route, the temple will fall on your right. It is a simple dalan temple; but has a very rich history. It is not known for sure when the temple was first founded; but the idol was pretty old.
According to popular sources, an ascetic by the name of Kalibar along with a few of his disciples came here as per the divine order of Goddess Kali all the way from the Himalayas. The divine order was to get the goddess establish to the south of Bengal by the side of Adi Ganga. He went a long distance from there but when he arrived here at Baghbazar Chitpore he made a mistake as far as the place was concerned. The place where the sadhu landed was Baghbazar. At that time Baghbazar was a swamy marshy land. The sage received the divine darshan of the goddess. Kalibar here got the success and he named the Goddess as Siddheswari.
At that time the northern part of the Calcutta was infested with the dacoits. There used to be bali or sacrifice of animals; but now it is very much minimal so much so that only one sacrifice is performed on the night of Dipannita Amavasya (Kali Puja). The present place where the temple stands is made much later. It was heard that the zamindar Govindaram Mitra renovated the first temple and gave it a new look. That was nearly three hundred years back. One thing to note here that though the black pagoda of Govindaram Mitra collapsed fully in the great storm of 1737, this temple did not collapse as such and the idol of Goddess Kali miraculously surivived.
It was at the initiative of two brothers – Shyam Mullick and Binod Behari Mullick of Chitpur and Abhaycharan Mitra, the successor of Gobindaram Mitra that the present temple was built.
The Phuldol festival of the Goddess Kali is celebrated on the day of Buddha purnima when the goddess along with the ghat is beautifully decorated with various types of colourful flowers.Daily worship is performed here. Apart from Kali puja in the Bengali month of Kartick, Ratanti Kali Puja and Falaharini Kali Puja are also celebrated here with equal splendour. The mangal arati starts at five in the morning. The temple remains open from six in the morning till half-past twelve in the afternoon and again from four in the evening till half-past nine at night. Here non-veg bhog is offered to Maa Siddheswari in the afternoon.
1. Dhanya Baghbazar edited by Swami Purnatyananda.
2. Kolkatar 51 Kalibari by Arun Mukhopadhyay.
Date of Posting: 7th July, 2020.