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9 Famous Temples of Hindu Goddess Kali in West Bengal for Devotees

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A person dressed as Goddess Kali (representational Image), VOA

Kolkata, April 16, 2017: Many believe that the name Kalikata (ancient name of Kolkata) was derived from Goddess Kali herself. Bengal is the sthal (place) of Mother Goddesses, different incarnations of Parvati—Maa Kali being the foremost of them all.

Here is the list of the most famous Kali Temples in Bengal-

9. Kiriteswari Temple, Murshidabad

Kiriteswari Temple is one of the oldest temples in the district of Murshidabad and one among the 51 Peetha sthaanas, as the “crown” or the kirit of Sati had fallen here, it is also known by the name Mukuteshwari temple. The present temple, was erected only in the 19thcentury by Darpanarayan, after the real temple was almost on the verge of destruction. It is one among the handful of temples in Bengal where no deities but an auspicious black stone is worshipped.

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8. Kankalitala Temple, Bolpur

One of the 51 Shakti peethas where, the Kankal or the waist of Goddess Sati had fallen, this temple is 9 kilometers away from Shantiniketan.

7. Kanak Durga Temple, Paschim Medinipur

The temple of Kanak Durga, one of the oldest in the area, is situated in the district of West Midnapore, near Chikligarh, amidst dense forests and according to legends it’s a place where humans were sacrificed instead of animals or vegetables.

6. Sarva Mangala Temple, Garbeta

Built by Vikramaditya after the Goddess was pleased with him for his Tantric Sadhana over a dead body, the Sarva Mangala temple is situated in the picturesque town of Garbeta. According to legends, the Devi bestowed upon him the services of Tal and Betal. The most peculiar thing with this temple is its north-facing “dwaar” or door.

5. Hangsheshwari Temple, Bansberia

Maa Kali, in the incarnation of Devi Hangsheshwari is prayed to in this 19th century temple situated at a distance of 1.5 hours from Kolkata. The crowns of the temples resemble one of the Walt Disney castles straight out of Disney Land while the adjoining Vasudeva Mandir is an exemplification of the glorious terracotta artworks.

4. Tripura Sundari Temple, Boral

Not much is known about the Tripura Sundari Temple which is located well within Kolkata, Here, at the feet of this deity Ma Kali, in the form of Tripura Sundari positioned upon a Lotus that has come out of the navel of Shiva, there are the famous and much worshiped Pancha devatas or the Five Lords of Hinduism—Rudra, Ishwar, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar.

3. Dakshineshwar Temple, Kolkata

The Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, one of the majorly worshiped temples in Kolkata is where Sri Ramakrishna used to worship his aradhya Devi Kali in the form of Jagadishwari Kalimata Thakurani, is located right on the banks of the enormous Hooghly and is adorned by 12 identical Shiva temples.

2. Tarapith Temple, Rampurhat 

One of the 51 Shakti Peethas, where an eye ball of Sati fell, Tarapith Temple which has Maa Tara as the deity, is located in Rampurhat, Birbhum district, just before a crematory ground and is around 4.5 hours from Howrah by train. However, every day, the “actual” deity, Goddess Kali breast-feeding Lord Shiva, is offered prayers to at 4 am sharp, and it is the only time when it is unveiled for the public.

1. Kalighat Temple, Kolkata

The Kalighat Temple, where Sati’s right toe fell here, is the world’s oldest continuously worshiped Maa Kali Temple and is located in the heart of the city in Kalighat. Although the temple was built before the 15th century, its present magnanimous structure was formed only in the earlier part of the 19th century by King Manasingha. The deity of the temple is huge and doesn’t follow the same pattern of Kali images which is prayed to at other parts of Bengal.

– by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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