The Kali Bari Mandir In The Heart Of Delhi Forms The Hub Of Bengali Culture In The City
Picture Credits: Nilen Chatterjee
Come rain or sunshine, the Kali Bari Mandir always sees a steady stream of devotees flooding into this temple on a daily basis. One look at the idol of Goddess Kali decorated with jewels and clasping the trishul in her hands is bound to leave one mesmerised.
The Kali Bari Mandir, which is located on Mandir Marg in the Connaught Place area of Delhi, forms the centre of the Bengali culture in the city. Built in the 1930s, it is located in close proximity to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and Birla Mandir. It’s easy to locate, given that it lies on the main road.
Inside The Temple
For the level of dominance that it holds, Kali Bari does not occupy much land. It’s barely the size of a standard room and the temple houses three idols of worship. The main idol of Goddess Kali is placed in the centre and is heavily decked with embroidered clothes and fine ornaments made to order. The unique part is the offering of liquor to Kali, who is believed to be the fiercest form of Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja Festivities
With its roots firmly set in history, the Kali Bari Temple is also the oldest centre for conducting a traditional Durga Puja in Delhi. The artisans are invited from Kolkata to build the pandals and Rabindra sangeet (songs written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore) competitions have been held here in the past. If you’re planning to visit the Kali Bari during Durga Puja, brace yourself for the hordes of people who will undoubtedly be crowding the place.
The smoke and fragrance from the incense sticks loom large around the idol lending a mysterious feel for those unaware of the powers attributed to Kali. The festival mood is set by the dhakis (traditional drummers) playing their cylindrical dhaks (drums). The beats of the drums, coasted at one end, form an integral part of the puja.
Picture Credits: Jhelum Sen
It’s proximity to Gole Market is an added advantage; after a brief darshan (visit) at Kali Bari, it’s impossible to miss out on the sumptuous chaat pakori which has earned a lot of visitors for Gole Market. Kaleva Sweets situated on the Bangla Sahib Marg in Gole Market is the best place to enjoy tantalizing street food and delicious North Indian meals.
Kali Bari is not as huge as other prominent temples in Delhi, however, that has never affected the dedication of the devotees. Even though the temple houses the idol worshipped predominately by Bengalis, the devotees do not necessarily come only from the Bengali community and one can definitely find people from different communities tip toeing their way through to get a glimpse of the vivacious idol of Kali and feel the aura surrounding it.
With a Church, a Temple and a Sikh gurudwara located close to each other, the location of Kali Bari provokes the thought of religious tolerance that is openly adopted here in Delhi. Come drop by for a slice of devotional fervour!
Location | Kali Bari Mandir - Mandir Marg, Near Laxminarayan Temple