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Kalighat Kali Temple Story

Kalighat Kali Temple, situated in Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Goddess Kali. This temple holds significant importance as one of the Shakti Peethas within the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. The origin of the Shakti Peethas is traced back to the tale of Daksha's yajna and Sati's self-immolation as depicted in ancient Puranas and epics. Kalighat Kali temple story too is associated with this infamous yajna.

Daksha, a prominent figure and the son of Brahma, was responsible for the creation of beings in Hinduism. He had numerous daughters, one of whom was Sati, an incarnation of Adi Parashakti, the primordial mother goddess. Sati was married to Shiva, the ascetic deity who resided in the cold and snowy realm of Mount Kailash. Daksha disapproved of this marriage because Shiva did not possess the wealth and status he expected in a son-in-law.

Daksha decided to host a grand yajna (sacrifice) and invited all the gods except for Shiva. Sati, feeling insulted by her father's actions and words, arrived at the yajna uninvited. Unable to bear her father's derogatory remarks about her husband, she cursed Daksha and, in her grief, self-immolated, vowing to be reborn to a more virtuous father.

Sati's death incited Shiva's uncontrollable wrath. He created Virabhadra and Mahakali by tearing two locks of his hair, and these fierce beings disrupted the sacrificial ritual and beheaded Daksha. After a tumultuous battle, Brahma and Vishnu implored Shiva to restore peace by reviving Daksha. Shiva agreed, replacing Daksha's head with that of a sacrificial goat. Daksha awakened and repented for his actions. Shiva forgave him and mourned Sati's demise, performing the Tandava dance with her charred body. To prevent the destruction of the universe by Shiva's grief, Vishnu sent his Sudarshana Chakra to cut Sati's body into fifty-one pieces, scattering them across the Indian subcontinent and surrounding regions.

Shiva eventually calmed down, resumed his meditation, and awaited Sati's reincarnation as Parvati. He married her, and they became the parents of Ganesha and Kartikeya.

The Shakti Peethas, divine seats of Adi Parashakti, came into existence wherever Sati's body parts had fallen. Each of the 51 Peethas features a temple dedicated to the goddess and another to Shiva or his fierce manifestation, Bhairava. These sites symbolize the sacred union of Shiva and Shakti, emphasizing the idea that Shiva is incomplete without his Shakti, and vice versa. At the Kalighat Kali Temple, the goddess is worshiped as Dakshina Kali, while Shiva is revered as Nakuleshwar. Some beliefs suggest that it is Sati's right big toe, while others claim it is her face that fell at this location and is venerated as a fossilized relic.

The 51 Shakti Peethas are associated with the 51 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, each carrying the power to invoke a specific goddess. These letters are known as Beeja Mantras, representing the primordial sounds of creation. The Beeja Mantra for Dakshina Kali is "Krim."

Hindu religious texts, such as the Kalika Purana, identify four primary Shakti Peethas where the most potent energy resides: Vimala, where the feet fell (Pada Khanda); Tara Tarini, housing the breasts (Stana Khanda); Kamakhya, where the genitals fell (Yoni Khanda); and Dakshina Kali, where the face fell (Mukha Khanda). These four temples are believed to have originated from the lifeless body of Sati.