O Mother, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates upon thee raimented with space, three-eyed, creatrix of the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful with a girdle made of numbers of dead men’s arms, and who on the breast of a corpse, as thy couch in the cremation ground, enjoyest Mahakala – Karpuradistotra, VII (Woodroffe tr) This temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India. It is believed that the right ankle of Bhadrakali (Sati) fell into a well located here. A legendary temple that has close association with Pandavas, Bhadrakali temple at north Thaneswar holds much religious significance. Legend has it that the pandavas had performed austerities and rituals before their final battle against the Kauravas.
Kali’s paramount place of worship is in the cremation ground, preferably at the dead of night, on a suitable day of the waning Moon. Here, her nature becomes clear and apparent. For an adept in the worship, the whole world is a cremation ground, and She, the true form of time, who by herself creates and destroys all, is personified as the pyre. There, after life, all mortals and their wishes, dreams and reflections come to their fruition, a pile of worthless ashes.
Alone amongst all the tantrik deities, it is Kali who has captured the imagination of the West. But rather than reviled, she is revered by countless millions of people. Ramakrishna, the famous Indian sage and saint, was one of her devotees; Rabindranath Tagore another. It’s no coincidence that both these great men came from Bengal, for it is there that she continues to receive oblations and offerings of flesh. Nevertheless, traces of her worship are found throughout India and former territories of India. Her bad reputation in the West probably sprang from her association with the cult of the Thuggees, forcefully suppressed by the British during the days of empire. The Thuggees – the word gave rise to our word thug – were actually Muslims who took the goddess Kali as their tutelary deity. They specialised in ensnaring and then robbing and murdering travellers. Originally, they were only supposed to attack male travellers and in their latter days attributed their downfall to the fact they had started to kill woman travellers too. But Kali pre-dates the Thuggees, quite possibly by several thousands of years. No one truly knows her origin. She does, however, have an uncanny and an ambiguous image. Modern pictures of her show her standing on the dead body of her consort Shiva, with four arms, a necklace of fifty human skulls, a girdle of human arms, holding an axe, a trident, a severed human head and a bowl of blood. Around her rages a battle – she herself is the colour of a thundercloud. Her protruding tongue drips with the fresh blood of her enemies. This shrine houses various incarnations of Goddess Kali and it is considered as one among the Sakthi Peeths where the lower limb of Goddess Sati fell. Sakthi Peeths are those holy places where all the wishes are believed to be fulfilled. The devotees offer terracotta horse as a mark of respect to the deity. The temple has got a awe inspiring look after its renovation with beautiful red stone. Huge crowd gather in the holy premises of the temple on the eve of Navarathri celebrations and also on every Saturda