Centered on a main, red-and-cream-painted temple, the Dakeshineswar Kali compound also incorporates 12 riverfront shrines devoted to Shiva; a ritual river bathing place, and a shrine to its founder, Rani Rashmoni.
Hindus and non-Hindus can explore the temple and its compound independently, free of charge. Alternatively, gain a deeper understanding of the temple and avoid any travel hassles by booking for one of Kolkata’s private sightseeing tours: that way, you’ll benefit from a guide and round-trip transport. Options include tours that visit the Dakshineswar and other landmarks such as the Victoria Memorial; and religion-themed excursions that cover Kolkata’s key places of worship including the Belur Math—just across the Hooghly—the Nakhoda Mosque, and more.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Dakshineswar Kali will interest anyone curious about Kolkata’s religions and culture. The temple grounds are wheelchair accessible, but the temple interior is not. Visitors must remove their shoes to enter the temple. You can store them for a small fee at the shoe counters, but retain your socks as the compound can be hot underfoot.
How to Get There
The temple sits in north Kolkata, on the Hooghly’s eastern banks. The easiest way to visit is via cab from the city center. Alternatively, buses run from New Market to Tantipara, a 15-minute walk from the temple, and subway trains operate between Kolkata’s Esplanade station and Dum Dum, from where trains run to Dakshineswar. Otherwise, join the locals on the wooden ferries that chug from Howrah Station Ferry Ghat to Babughat, Belur Math, and Dakshineswar.
When to Get There
The temple is open daily. Times may vary, but typical hours are 6am-10pm—although be aware that the temple may close between 12:30pm and 3pm. The site is a major draw for local Hindu devotees, and can be very busy during the daytimes and evenings, especially at weekends. Arrive in the early morning to beat the crowds and heat.
Highlights of the Dakshineswar Kali After admiring the temple’s spired exterior, head inside to see the idol of Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and time. Adorned with gold and standing on a silver lotus leaf, it makes an arresting sight. Afterward, head for the riverbank to watch the faithful bathe in the Hooghly and capture the river views on camera.
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