Kalighat is regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peethams of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell.
Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Svayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshipping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.
Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kaali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.
I reached at kalighat on a hot and humid afternoon. The moment i arrived near the Kali Temple i was approached by numerous hawker priests (A special kinds of priests stand near most of the Indian Temples and try to persuade people use their service with hefty fees). Now i was approached by several of them on my way to the Kali temple, until now i have successfully avoided them. But finally when i reached at the temple i was trapped by one of the temple priest, who promised me to use his service for 51 rupees (Now you may ask why 51 rupees, because Hindus generally offer odd numbers to their God, that's why you could offer 11, 21, 21 501 etc amount of money to God).
Now the priest took me to a mithai shop (A shop which sells several offering which can be offered to the God) asked me to remove my shoes and keep in the safe custody of mithai wallh. The temple authority have not bothered to put up a shoe stand near the temple, so many devotees coming from far off places like me often fall prey to these illegal priests and mithai wallahs near the temple.
After keeping my shoes at the shop, he asked me to buy offering from the shop, when i said i was not interested in buying sweets from the shop, the priest told me that in that case the shop keeper would not allow me to keep my shoes inside his shop. Therefore i was kind of forced to buy sweet from that shop only. He asked me to buy 51 rupees of sweets for the God, after bargaining for sweets for few minutes with the shop keeper, he agreed to give me sweets in just 11 rupees.
He led to another shop to buy flowers and colours for God for 21 rupees. Now we are on our way to offer prayer to God. There were lots of people patiently waiting in the queues to see God. I wished i could not have trapped by the temple priest and i would rather wait outside until my turn to see God.
Anyway, we went near the main temple, the priest told me to wait behind the door, then the priest went and talked to a police man, who was guarding at the temple gate. The priest then came out after his talk with police and asked me to give him 10 rupees. I gave him 10 rupees which he quickly delivered to the police man. The police man then let us go inside the temple.
The temple was very congested and it is the worst managed temple of India. There were no queuing inside the temple. Although there were 20 people inside the temple i felt like breathless because lack of space inside the temple. People push each other freely within the temple. There were many women and children inside the temple but people do not care about anything. It looked like it was fun in creating chaos inside the temple.
The priest told me stand aside and asked me to rush when they open the temple door. In the mean time he said some prayers and asked me to repeat and then he got red colour from the temple wall and painted the colour on my forehead.
I waited nearly 10 minutes, after that i rushed in to see God and after standing in the hassle & bustle for 5 minutes i decided to leave. The priest then took me to another place and introduced me to his Guru. Now everything here is very well managed to cheat foreigners. As soon as stand near Guru, an old man came and told him that the man which Guru blessed earlier has given him 501 rupees. He handed over the money to Guru. The man who gave money to Guru, he was a kind of making an impression to me that large amounts of money is given to Guru. Anyway, Guru asked my name and offered a prayer and asked me to repeat after him. Then he asked me touch the dirt and told me that it was the sacred earth of Mother Kali (the Goddess). After the brief puja with Guru, he asked me to pay Daskhina (Money for Blessing) of 501 rupees. Here again after little bargaining i paid him 100 rupees.
Then we returned from the temple, oh yes on my way back, some one gave me a sacred thread and i paid him 2 rupees. We went to the shop, the priest asked me to pay 10 rupees to the lady for safe keeping my shoes, but i paid him 5 rupees. It was the time to pay the priest and head for home. Now the priest told me that his fee was 101 rupees but again after bargaining for few minutes, i pissed off & after paying him 51 rupees and promised myself not to pay a single penny to anyone in any indian temple.
Everyone is corrupted in this place called Kalighat in Calcutta (Kolkata) India. So my advice is; don't go to Kalighat temple unless you know what exactly you would be doing there. And always avoid illegal priests at the temple. The places like Kalighat are infested with corrupt individual in India, Beware of these people before you make your trip to these places.
Jai Maa Kali (Hail to mother Kali (Goddess))
Kali Temple Road