Temples of Kali

A Kali temple is a place where an image (murti) of Kali is housed for people to come and worship. The murti is usually of stone: carven, painted, and ritually consecrated. Each temple has its own customs and traditions. Policies on admission may also vary from temple to temple. (Most of the links here are external.)
Dakshineswar Kali Mandir, Kolkata

Founded 19th century by Rani Rasmani. Where Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sarada Devi affirmed validity of all forms of worship.

Kali Ghat, Kolkata

A sacred place (pitha) that was known to the sixteenth century Bengali poet Mukunda1. In the nineteenth century it was the focus of a distinctive school of painting, and in the twentieth century a symbol of India's independence struggle. An active centre of worship today.

Kali Mandir, California

A temple that brings the Dakshineswar tradition to the USA.

Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple, Singapore

Continuing a 140 year history of temple worship of Kali in Singapore.
1 Banerji, S.C.; A Brief History of Tantra Literature; Naya Prokash, Calcutta, 1988; p 473.
A temple image of Kali, garlanded with many flowers
Drawing © Colin Robinson 1994

Tantric temples

Most Goddess temples in India are tantric, in the sense that their images and rituals are influenced by the writings known as Tantras. The ones mentioned below are tantric in another sense too - they celebrate the Goddess not only as Mother, but also as the power of eros.
Kamakhya Mandir, Gauhati, Assam

Kamakhya means "She Whose Name is Desire". (Sanskrit kama is the equivalent of the Greek eros - likewise pictured as a god with bow and arrows.) In this temple, the Goddess has the form of a natural rock formation with the shape of the Yoni. A very old sacred place which today attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. The Kalika Purana, which praises the power of this place, says that Kamakhya is the same Goddess as Mahamaya, 1 who is also known as Kali.2.

Devipuram, Andhra Pradesh

A south Indian temple, very young by Indian standards, as it was begun in 1983. Its founder, Sri Amritananda Natha, a former nuclear physicist, was inspired by a mystical encounter with the Goddess in the form of Kamakhya. The temple is built in the shape of a three-dimensional Sri Yantra, with numerous shrines containing images of shaktis. Many of these shaktis are sky-clad, their female characteristics boldly revealed. The figure at the center of this temple is known as Sahasrakshi, the thousand-eyed, and Rajarajesvari, the sovereign of sovereigns. As she is black in colour, it seems natural to think of her also as Kali, the dark lady.

1 from Tarkaratna, Pancanana (ed); Kalikapuranam [Sanskrit in Bengali script with Bengali translation]; Navabharat Publishers, Kalikata, 1977. Chapter 58 verse 53 - 56
2 Kalikapuranam Chapter 44, verse 54.

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