Friday, August 12, 2011

Dakhineshwar ,an unforgettable experience..

We visited Dakhineshwar in April 2009,  but the experience is still alive within me. It is like a  tiny source  of softly glowing light, buried somewhere deep within me. Whenever i am with myself, i close my eyes and the light starts spreading slowly and i feel unburdened, free, floating. I am sure it's not only me. Many of us who visit this shrine of goddess Kali have similar experience. Divinity is alive there.You can feel it.
We were to go to kolkata for the first time but such were the compulsion of the time that we could not have spared more than three days. 4th april was the date of convocation of our elder son and on 12th of the same month the younger one had his IIT entrance exam.Obviously he was reluctant to leave but we would not have enjoyed the occasion if we left him alone at home. Hence we pursued him to come. We planned to leave on 3rd morning, attend the convocation on 4th and leave on 5th. In such a tight schedule we never thought or planned of going anywhere for sight seeing or shopping. We thought we will roam around in the campus of college .But few days before leaving suddenly i had this urge to visit Dakhsineswar. I did not think of it consciously but the wish as if sprang from somewhere within.while talking to Panchali, i told her about this sudden pull to the place and enquired about the distance between Joka and Dakhsineswar.She told me that both the places are quite far of from each other but in her placid reassuring way she added that when i was feeling that urge i shall definitely make to that place. Maa will see to it. Her words were like a stamp on agreement. I immediately felt at peace, and we got that one day extra in hand. Returning tickets on sunday that is 5th were not available and we had to make it on 6th.
Instead of just describing the place, the temple, why am i sharing all these things with you. because these seemingly small twists and turns strengthened my faith. If god wants something to happen, ways opens up. We can put it in other way, if we wish.............if we desire for something with sincerity and intensity we are  bound to get it. With that faith and composed heart we proceeded towards Dakhsineswar on the early morning of 5th of April.
This temple was built in 1857 by Rani Rasmati. It is said that Rani was to go to Varanasi on a pilgrimage, when Maa Kali appeared in her dream and asked her to built her temple on this particular place on the bank of river ganges, known as hoogly in that part of country. Maa told Rani that she will manifest herself in the form and accept worship on that place. Profoundly influenced by the dream Rani started making arrangements for building the temple.This shrine of goddess kali has a special significance with reference to  swami Ramkrishna paramhans and his disciple swami vivekanand. Ramkrishna Paramhans was  the younger brother of the first head priest of the temple.He was made the head priest after the early death of his brother however Ramkrishna was not able to continue as the priest of temple for a long time as he experienced the goddess on a different plane. His rare kind of love, the Maha Bhav for Maa was beyond the daily rituals and responbilities of a priest hence he detached himself from these activities and was merged in his sadhana. He had experienced many forms of god and goddesses here. His intense spiritual practices and ecstastic trances lent that totally different divine and sublime aura to the place.That divinity still can be felt there..the room where ram krishan used to meditate is still preserved in the temple complex.
  I consider myself to be blessed to be able to be there in Dakhsineswar. It was about 4.30A.M. when we reached there.The first aarati of the day was over and the doors of the shrine were closed to be reopened at 6.30 A.M. for the second aarati.
We strolled towards the ganges. Stepped down the stairs slowly and stood there mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of vastness.The holy water with a placid calmness stretched upto infinity.The twilight sky as if bowing low to embrace the divine stream appeared to be so close yet beyond the reach. We stood there with our feet dipped in water. We.........we means, i and Rajani, mother of another student. we have never known each other before but on that particular moment we stood there holding hands, feeling very close. With every passing moment our grip on each other hands tightened as if a bond is being established. We did not utter a single word but we knew what the other one is feeling. The devotees half dipped in water with folded hands, ladies performing certain puja at one corner, a floating deepak with flickering light moving forward with a rhythemic gait, the bridge at a distance stretching across the water, slowly moving boats and the shlokas, hymns circulating in the air, all wrapped up in misty cover of dawn, were taking us on a journey to beyond with the shackles of petty worries as if breaking slowly . Aah . How light and free i felt at that moment.
Behind us were the twelve temples of lord shiva in a row. Standing on a high platform, their spires going straight into the black clouds hovering over them, the temples looked so distant from the point where we stood. It was as if those are really located in the land of god, up there, somewhere high above in the neighbourhood of clouds.These temples stand on one side of the massive courtyard of temple. Six on one side and six on other side of ghat. Each temple houses one shivling naming Yogeswar, Jatneswar, Jatileswar, Nakuleswar, Nakeswar, Nirjareswar, Nareswar, Nandiswar, Nageswar, Jagdiswar, Jaleswar and Yajneswar. As if embodiment of twelve jyotirlingas of lord shiva, the temples are east facing.
In the enormous courtyard on a high platform with flight of stairs, stands the 100 ft high and almost 46 ft square building of main temple housing the shrine of Adyashakti Maa Kali. The roof of spires is beautifully ridged. It's breathtaking. Near it is a temple of radha krishan.
From ghat we went to the market selling the puja articles. In a long covered verandah, shops are built on both the sides. With bright red hibiscus and golden marigold flowers and garlands, the market looks vibrant .
We entered the courtyard and stood in the queue for darshan.The doors of shrine were still closed but devotees waited patiently. We were among the first few one standing on the platform .Queue behind us was slowly increasing. In front of south facing main temple is a long spacious nat mandir. many devotees sitting there were singing bhajans.Their voices steeped in devotion were 6.30 the doors of narrow covered verandah attached to sanctum were thrown open by pujari. We entered and witnessed the whole process of snan,shringar and aarati. With every step face of goddess appeared to change. It was so alive.The experience of looking into those eyes is unforgetable. Maa Bhavtarini,yes that is the form of goddess worshipped here as if takes you by hand to lead to that unknown journey of other world.
Goddess here stands with her feet on chest of lord shiva and both the images are placed on huge lotus flower made of silver.
After offering we sat on one side of the colossal temple complex.there were huge number of people in the courtyard still it was so peaceful .It was etheral.I sat silently as if coming to terms with myself.
i know,i have not been able to convey even miniscule of what i experienced , felt there.The experience was totally beyond words...............what they say like 'goonge ka gur'.
photography inside the courtyard is not allowed but i have some pics to share clicked from outside

Bally bridge,spanning Hoogly between Dakhsineswar and Uttarpara

ghat scenes ,early in the morning


God's abode..............the temple wrapped in clouds

these steps lead to the background is shiva temples side of temple .............

shiva temples in row

main entrace of the temple

side view of temple 

the colourful dalla arcade........the market where offerings to goddess are sold

the magnificent spiral of main temples built in navratna style of architecture
inside this is shrine of sri sri jagdishwari mahakali.

copyright of pics with sunder iyer and shubham sunder

© namitasachan., all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Arti said...

Unfortunately, I have never been there... I have visited the Kali temple of Kolkata twice though. The first pic of the temple is so imposing, almost like the entrance to a citadel...