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Kalighat

written by Saimantick January 29, 2014

Early medieval accounts of the shakti piths cite Kalighat as the dwelling place of a particularly fierce manifestation of the goddess, known as Dakshina Kalika. Once surrounded by a dense jungle and accessed primarily by boat, this riverside abode of the Cosmic Mother has transformed into a bustling temple complex, located in the heart of one of India’s largest and most populous cities. At the Kalighat Kali Mandir, the dark goddess who has been worshipped since time immemorial continues to reign over this nexus of power where the ancient and modern worlds intersect.

The day began with three scolding sms from my elder brother. However, i did not notice them being busy on the street and being 1 hour 40minutes late. We had a plan to go to Kalighat for some work and me shooting dps for him. My brother calls me proactive, but as soon as i meet him, i loose it all and it becomes vice-versa. So, things turned out good and the work was over.

This was the time when exploring the Kalighat area begun. Lanes by lanes, from kids playing football, to the frame of a cock and dogs, from rickshaw pullers to dp shoots, but what caught my attention most, was a man carring bunch of HIBISCUS flowers in a wrapped up packet towards the temple of goddess Kali.

The Hibiscus Carrier

The Hibiscus Carrier

This man is somewhat a mystery to me. I did not get a chance to see his face even. He was speeding up towards the temple and thus I got only two shots of him almost same frame. The scarlet red of the hibiscus was turned to dark red due the crumbling and crushing.

The story goes that Goddess Kali comes into the world during a war betwen the Gods (who represent truth) and the Demons (who represent everything that keeps us from living in truth–fear, unworthiness, self-doubt, addiction, selfishness and so forth). The battlefield is really the psyche. The demons are winning until the Great Goddess Durga comes onto the scene. At the peak of the fighting she calls on her most potent aspect, Kali, who leaps from Durga’s brow and charges onto the killing ground, destroying the demon army. Kali has won the battle however, she is so immersed in her dance of destruction;  she is, after all, on a mission–she is unaware that the job is done. If she continues dancing, she will destroy the entire world. Fortunately her better-half, Lord Shiva, knows what to do. Taking the form of a tiny baby, he lies down on the battlefield and thus ends the Nritya of Goddess Kali.

Carrying the flowers like that was a fierce act. Wherein after, the damaged will be the left over, while the fresh will get a place around the Goddess’s neck. This is Kali work, test everyone, leave out the damaged, accept the fresh and give it its reward. Ultimately, of course, all is Kali, all is the Mother. The hibiscus, the Goddess Kali, the gods, the demons, the beautiful, the terrible, the eternal cycle of life, death and transformation. She spits us out of her womb, filters and eats us back into it, over and over again.

Kali can be quite terrifying. In Indian religious art she is often pictured wearing a garland of skulls and a skirt of severed arms.

Her hair is wild, her tongue sticks out, she holds a severed head in one of her many hands. She is the embodiment of the fierce feminine, protectress of the heart, come to wrest us from all that keeps us from our Truth. Some say there is none who is more compassionate.

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