Most of us, especially the elderly tend to be religious at some point in life. In fact, seniors even like going on pilgrimages that make them feel closer to their divine power. If you think a pilgrimage is the only way to admire the religious and spiritual elements of the Indian culture, then you might be wrong. Practising religion is a part of everyday Indian life, with almost 84% of the population practising Hinduism intently.
In Hinduism, temples hold a significant place. According to Indian tradition, any colony without a temple is inhabitable. A Hindu temple serves as the core of Hindu culture and heritage. Even now, the temples are held in high regard in Hindu communities. A temple is not only the abode of the deity but also an institution that imparts Hindu knowledge to its followers and their children. One such temple is Kalkaji Mandir, which is situated in the national capital city of our country, New Delhi. In this article today, we will be talking about the Kalkaji Mandir, its legends and rituals, historical significance, architectural influence and even timings.
Legends & History of Kalkaji Mandir
Kalkaji Mandir is also referred to as Kalkaji Shrine. It is a Hindu temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess named Kali. The temple is located in Kalkaji, India, in southern New Delhi, adjacent to the Nehru Place commercial centre, near the Okhla railway station and Kalkaji Mandir metro station, a community that takes its name from the temple. It is a general belief that Goddess Kalka’s image here is a self-manifested one. The revered temple is also known as Jayanti Peeth or Manokamna Siddh Peeth which means that the goddess who has made this place her abode will fulfil all the wishes and desires of the devotees.
According to Hindu mythology, Kalka Ji is a deity. She is known as Kali and is thought to be among the many avatars of Durga, another Hindu goddess. Kalka Ji is distinguished by her dark complexion and her threatening demeanour. She is frequently praised as a symbol of resistance, feminine power, violence, intolerance, and disobedience. According to the legend, the Kalka Ji deity originated in Delhi’s Aravalli Hills, east of Kailash, at the current location of this temple. Many mythical gods lived in the area surrounding Shri Kalka Ji Mandir centuries ago, probably during the Golden Era (Satyug), according to Hindu mythology. Millions of years ago, during Satyug (one of the four Yugas of Hinduism), two unholy creatures began disrupting the gods who lived near the temple site. The disturbed Gods sought the help of goddess Parvati and from Parvati’s mouth emerged goddess Kaushaki (known as Kaushaki Devi). She attacked these gigantic creatures and managed to kill them, but in the process, blood from these creatures dropped on the surface of the earth, giving birth to thousands of more such creatures. Fighting so many giants at once was a huge task for Kaushki Devi. As a result, her loving mother (Maa Parvati) manifested a whole other avatar of herself – Kali.
Kali possessed the unique ability to change her size depending on the need. Her upper lip touched the sky, and her bottom lip touched the slopes, as she widened her mouth. Kali Devi sucked up the blood that fell from the giants slaughtered by Kaushki Devi, thanks to her enormous mouth. The two goddesses completely erased the threat of the giants by working together. Kali was regarded as the area’s chief of divine creatures because of her unique gift. She was so moved by the accolades that she decided to stay there indefinitely.
Construction & Architecture of Kalkaji Mandir
The construction date of the Kali temple is the subject of numerous theories. Historians believe the Marathas established the temple around 1764 AD. Mirza Raja Kidar Nath, the Peshkar (treasurer) of the Mughal King Akbar Shah II, added his own modifications to the shrine almost one hundred years later, in 1816. The current temple took shape after another hundred years or so. Donations from devotees provided much of the cash for the temple.
Folklore, on the other hand, paints a very different picture. The Pandavas and Kauravas are said to have performed religious ceremonies at this temple during the Mahabharata (Bronze Age). Kalka Ji is also said to have been born in this location.
Thok Jogians and Shamlat Thok Brahmins own the property on which this temple is built legitimately. Inside this mandir, these people are also the pandits who perform the puja Sewa (religious ceremonies).
The marble finish on Kalka Ji Temple is stunning. While the foundations are brick, the blocks are plastered and then covered in marble for added grandeur. The temple’s outside structure is protected by a pyramid-shaped tower. This Kali mandir’s structure is remarkable in that the centre room has 12 sides, each with its own entry door. The total length of each side is 24 feet. All 12 doorways lead to a corridor, which is lined with marble. Each of these galleries is eight feet and nine inches broad and has three external doorways. These arched external openings are 36 in number. A marble plinth stands in the temple’s centre, on which Maa Kali’s statue carved out of stone is maintained. This idol has an inscription on which the goddess’s name is inscribed in Hindi. A stone triton is set in front of Kalka Devi’s picture. A pair of tiger statues constructed of red sandstone flank the deity on both sides. When you enter through one of the temple’s eastern doors, you can see the complete layout. The idol of Kalka Ji is protected by marble railings. These bars and the plinth also have calligraphy inscribed in the Nastalq style.
Rituals of Kalkaji Mandir
Worshippers come to the temple all year, but their prayers and celebrations reach a pinnacle during Navratri, a nine-day long Hindu festival held in spring and autumn. Devotees congregate to say prayers and sing songs glorifying Goddess Durga. Many traders come to the shrine to sell their handicrafts to enhance their business over these nine days. Devotees wait in serpentine lines outside for their chance to see the deity.
Every morning at 6:00 AM and every evening at 6:00 PM, the idol of Goddess Kali is offered and bathed with milk as the main ritual. This is followed by an aarti at 7:30 PM. After this, songs and hymns are recited. Anything that is needed to offer to the Goddess is available at the entrance of the temple, before the main door.
The temple’s surroundings are light and airy, with lights turned on all night. Worshippers also seek to meditate on the temple premises, and an evening aarti is held.
Timings of Kalkaji Mandir
The Kalkaji mandir opens at 4:00 in the morning and closes at 11:30 at night. The summer and the winter timings of the evening aarti vary. Also, to bear in mind, the priests perform the aartis according to their own turns. The aarti is performed twice a day. During summers, the aarti timings are 5:00-6:30 in the morning and 7:00-8:30 in the evening. Likewise, during the winters the aarti timings are 6:00-7:30 in the morning and 6:30-8:00 in the evening. The evening aarti is also said to be called the Tantric Aarti. The temple remains close from 11:30 AM-12:00 PM for offering the bhog to the goddess. In the evening, the temple is closed between 3:00-and 4:00 for cleaning the temple premises.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is permissible, but taking photographs in the prayer hall is strictly prohibited.
The Lotus Temple is situated just 3 Km away from Kalkaji Mandir.
The temple authorities can be contacted for getting the passes for you and your family too.
Parking lots are available near the temple at a 5-10 minutes walk.