After nineteen days of the completion of the Durga Puja, the city get geared up to celebrate another popular festival, the Kali Puja Kali is worshipped as the Mother Goddess who protects from evil.
Images of Goddess Kali
The image of Kali is bit frightening and usually shows her with a severed head in one hand, her sword known as Kharga in the other. She is seen standing on her foot on Lord Shiva's chest and wearing a garland of skulls.
The puja actually takes place at midnight on the day of the new moon. During the Kali Puja all houses are lit up with candles decorated around the house. During this puja, children and adults are seen to burst firecrackers and lighting multicouloured sprinkling crackers. No one seems to sleeps on that night.
The mythology of Kali Puja
Goddess Kali has always enjoyed a significant presence in our culture. She appears in various forms as an embodiment of Shakti, the eternal energy and cosmic power. She is also believed to be the eternal cosmic strength that destroys all existence. Her facial expressions depict the extent of her powers of destruction. The heads she holds in her hand instantly arouses mortal-fear in everybody and her protruding tongue symbolizes the mockery of human ignorance. She is also the Goddess of Tantrism or the Indian Black Magic.
According to Mathology Shiva and Kali are the originating couple of the universe but Kali even mocks Shiva, as if she herself is the unique source of everything. There are several other Avtars of Kali also. One such is a striking contrast is Kali represented as the Benevolent Mother where she is the personification of Eternal Night of Peace. From the canons of orthodox Hinduism Kali, Durga, Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati are all different forms of the Ultimate Power that are revered on different occasions.
It is said that Kali developed her thirst for blood after killing the demon Raktavera, who had acquired a boon of rebirth with his each drop of blood from Lord Brahma. The only way Kali could kill him was to hold him high, pierce him with a spear and drink all his blood as it gushed out. Kali is often portrayed with her tongue hanging out and her mouth dripping blood.
History of Kali Puja
Kali Puja is celebrated on the night of the new moon in Kartik. It is believed that Maharaja Krishan Chandra of Nawabdeep gave an order that everyone, in his domain should worshipp kali and punishment was given to the defaulters. So, 10,000 images of kali started to be worshipped in his domain.
Now, just like all other rituals, the religious sides of Kali Puja has become quite indirect and obscure. In Kolkata and the suburbs, Kali Puja is celebrated with equal pomp and grandeur. Always the images are not fiery looking ubiquitously. In many family Pujas, the sacred form of Goddess Kali is being worshipped as a practice. One cannot forget the extraordinary song penned by the famous poet hailing from Halishahar, Ramprasad Sen who developed a pure human relationship with his hymns. It is believed that Goddess Kali used to appear before him as his daughter. One remembers Rani Rashmoni had established the idol of Goddess Kali at Dakshineswar and had appointed Gadadhar alias Sri Sri Ramkrishna Paramahansa (known worldwide through Swami Vivekananda, his disciple's mission) as Her priest. It was this image of Goddess Kali of Dakshineswar which Swami Vivekananda found awakened and was transcended in another world after coming across the living deity.
The most popular event during Kali Puja is the burning of crackers. Previously, Kali Puja was synonymous with mind-blowing, often earth-shattering sound. It is a welcome relief that such torture has come to an end. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has clamped down on noisy firecracker manufacturers and has imposed a total ban on it. Ignoring the directive of the Pollution Control Board would invite stiff penalties. Already, policemen have fanned out in various parts of nungi, the largest fireworks manufacturing base in West Bengal to see whether noisy firecrackers are being manufactured illegally. The Government is bent on putting an end to Diwali celebrations as well. Most non-Bengali families somehow procure noisy crackers and burst them with impunity. The police have issued stern warning to those violating the orders of the authorities.
Famous Kali Temple in Kolkata
Dakshineshwar and Kalighat Temple in Kolkata are very popular for Goddess Kali.