Top 10 Must Visit Temples in Kolkata
Kolkata is the second largest city in India and one of the four metropolitan cities of the country. Once you’ve lived in this city, you can’t help but fall in love with it. The people, the food, the culture and the heritage is something you just can’t get enough of. From the friendly faces of the Kolkatans to the mouth-watering delicacies to the age old culture and heritage, it just feels like home. And nothing defines the heritage of a city better than its ancient temples and their architecture. So here are the Top 10 Must Visit Temples in Kolkata. So let’s get started and get you a sneak peek of the city and its culture that we all love.
1. Dakshineshwar Temple
One of the most famous and frequently visited temples in West Bengal is Dakshineshwar Temple or also famously known as Dakshineshwar Kali Bari. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly river, built in 1855, this temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It also has twelve identical temples of Lord Shiva within its premises. It caters to a large number of pilgrims every single day. The Arati is mesmerizing to witness. In several occasions, like the new year’s eve, the line for the entrance stretches till the Dakshineshwar bridge looking over the Ganges. The temple is also famous for all the monkeys that it houses. You can roam about with your family and friends, feed the monkeys or simply enjoy the serenity of the vicinity.
2. Kalighat Temple
Said to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethams of India, this temple too is dedicated to the goddess of Shakti, Kali. Here, one of the various parts of Sati’s body parts are said to have fallen during Lord Shiva’s Rudra Tandava. It houses the idol of the deity with her hands and tongue made of gold and silver. Pilgrims and tourists visit the temple waiting in a long queue just to get a glimpse of the idol of the goddess.
3. Birla Mandir
Located at Ballygunge, this Hindu temple was built in 1996 by the Birla family. The deities Krishna and Radha are worshipped in the temple. The beauty and the grandeur of the architecture of the temple are breathtaking. It has been inspired by the Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneshwar, dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and Vishnu. Adorned with electric diyas and gleaming chandeliers, this temple is indeed a sight to behold.
4. Calcutta Jain Temple
Calcutta Jain Temple at Tala, Kolkata was built by a Jain named Badridas Bahadoor Mookim in 1867. The temple is dedicated to Pareshnath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankar. With its huge compound and intricate architecture, this temple is a must visit. However, the entry has been restricted by the management to only Jains since 1012. Being one of the most important Jain temples in Kolkata, this place is crowded by Jains at all times throughout the year.
5. Iskcon Kolkata
Also known as Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir was established about a 100 years ago by Kolkata’s most illustrious saint, Srila Prabhupada. It is one of the several branches of the religious Iskcon organization; the biggest of which is situated at Mayapur. The serene and pious atmosphere will surely give you your much-needed break and time to recollect your thoughts and senses.
6. Lake Kalibari
Lake Kalibari is Kali temple situated at Southern Avenue, Kolkata. The temple was founded by Haripada Chakraborty in 1949. The original name of the temple is Sree Sree 108 Karunamoyee Kalimata Mandir as the deity presiding the temple is Karunamoyee. It is now undergoing reconstruction since 2013.
7. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
In 2013, this temple was established for all the Sai Baba devotees at Sodepur. Previously, there were no Sai Baba temples in the northern region of Kolkata. So the people had to travel a long way to worship Shirdi Sai Baba. However, this temple, made with marble now receives a large number of devotees daily. The idol is also made with nothing but marble.
8. Hanuman Mandir
Amidst the crowded area of Dum Dum road, Kolkata, the Hanuman Mandir is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Hanuman, the disciple of Ram Chandra. The temple is most frequently visited by numerous nirvana seekers.
9. Bhukailash Shiv Mandir
Built by Zamindar Joynarayan Ghoshal more than 200 years ago, the temple is one of the least explored temples in Kolkata. This neglected temple in Khidirpur lay in ruins when it was found in around 1012 and brought back to its former glory. The temple, originally built in 1781, showcases an 18-foot-tall Shivalinga carved out of a single Kashti stone; is also believed to be the tallest Shivalinga in Asia.
10. Japanese Buddhist Temple
Though the Japanese came much later in the city, they have several Buddhist temples or Pagodas scattered all around the city. The Japanese Buddhist Temple or the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple is one of them. It is located at Lake road in Dhakuria, South Kolkata. Though it is one of the most beautiful and well maintained Buddhist temples in the city, its existence is sadly unknown to most Kolkatans.
Kolkata is a multicultural, multi-religious city. It consists of uncountable temples all around the city. From Jain temples to Kali Mandirs, there is an abundance of temples that you may explore and never get bored. Like the city, the multicultural essence of these temples is worth all the travelling and searching. If you’re looking for some relaxation and peace, start exploring now.
Contributor: Neha Basu.