Located at the outskirts of Kolkata, Dakhineshwar used to be a small village. Dating back to the 19th century, when British ruled India, the Dakhineshwar Temple was built by the reverent and fearless queen of Kolkata, Rani Rashmoni, as a fulfillment of her dream.
The deity of goddess Kali worshiped here is known as ‘Bhavatarini,’ meaning the ultimate power which can release the soul from the cycle of birth and death. Dakhineshwar temple was also the seat of the great preacher of universal brotherhood, Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa.
This popular Hindu pilgrimage is located at the banks of the sacred Ganges and people are often seen bathing in the cool river waters before offering ‘puja’ at the temple. As per folklore, a bath in the pious Ganges can wash away all sins of life.
The temple is encircled by twelve identical Shiva temples, representing ‘Aat Chala,’ the typical Bengal form of architecture. Your ‘puja’ is believed incomplete unless you worship the Shiva Lingas.
The temple building is really attractive with its bright red color blended with off white texture. There are several shops outside the temple premises where you can get the ‘puja dala’ consisting large red hibiscus garlands, incense sticks, sweets and vermilion.
As you enter the temple premises, you will see happy faces in spite of standing in long queues while the aroma of incense sticks and the continuous sound of bells create a divine atmosphere.
After the ‘puja’ do not miss the delicious ‘hing kachoris’ served with ‘cholar dal’ at the adjacent food stalls. Dakhineshwar is famous for the mouth watering pickles. There are several kinds of pickle available here which can add variety even to the simplest platter.
Like the other major tourist destinations, Dakhineshwar has several shops glittering with beautiful costume jewelries, items of worship, pictures and idols of Dakhineshwar temple and goddess Kali.
People visiting Dakhineshwar do not miss a visit to Adya Pith and Belur Math. You can enjoy an enchanting boat ride from Dakhineshwar temple to Belur Math over the Ganges while several ‘toto’ rickshaws ride you from Dakhineshwar to Adya Pith.
You can reach Dakhineshwar from Kolkata via trains, which are available at regular intervals. Regular bus service and taxis also make the place easily accessible.
Visit to the Dakhineshwar Temple hence is a nice weekend escape from the daily hustle and bustle.