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History Of Dakshineswar Kali Temple – Story Of Origin Of Dakshineswar Kalibari

 Dakshineswar Kali Temple, also known as Dakshineswar Kalibari, is a Hindu temple located in Dakshineswar, a suburb of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The history of Dakshineswar Kali temple is associated with Rani Rashmoni. The story of origin of the temple is associated with a dream of Rani Rahmoni.

Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, this temple is dedicated to Bhavatarini, a form of the goddess Parashakti Adya Kali, also known as Adishakti Kalika. The temple's construction dates back to 1855 and is credited to Rani Rashmoni, a prominent Zamindar, philanthropist, and a devoted worshiper of Goddess Kali Maa. Notably, this temple is closely associated with two mystics of 19th century Bengal, Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada Devi.

Rani Rashmoni, belonging to the Mahishya caste, was renowned for her charitable endeavors. In 1847, she embarked on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of Kashi to express her devotion to the Divine Mother. However, a significant event altered her plans. She had a vivid dream the night before her pilgrimage, where the goddess Kali appeared to her and instructed her to establish a beautiful temple along the banks of the Ganges, promising to manifest herself in the temple's murti (vigraha or image or idol) for worship.

Impacted by this divine vision, Rani Rashmoni acquired a 30,000-acre plot of land in Dakshineswar, previously known as Saheban Bagicha. This land was purchased from an Englishman named Jake Hastie and was shaped like a tortoise, a fitting symbol for the worship of Shakti in Tantra traditions. The construction of the vast temple complex began in 1847 and took eight years and nine hundred thousand rupees to complete. The murti of Goddess Kali was consecrated on May 31, 1855, during the Snana Yatra festival, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay serving as the head priest. Shortly thereafter, Ramakrishna (formerly known as Gadadhar) and his nephew Hriday moved to the temple to assist in its worship.

The inauguration of the temple was a grand occasion, with over 100,000 Brahmins from various parts of the country invited to participate. Ramkumar Chattopadhyay, who initially served as the head priest, passed away the following year, and Ramakrishna took on the role. His wife, Sarada Devi, resided in a small room on the ground floor of the Nahabat (music room), which is now a shrine dedicated to her. Ramakrishna's presence at the temple brought considerable fame and numerous pilgrims.

Rani Rashmoni's life was relatively short after the temple's inauguration, lasting only five years and nine months. She fell seriously ill in 1861, realizing her impending demise. In preparation for her passing, she bequeathed the property she had purchased in Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) to the temple trust to ensure its continued maintenance. She completed this task on February 18, 1861, and passed away the following day.