Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddessKali. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.
Kalighat was a Ghat (landing stage) sacred to Kali on the old course of the Hooghly river(Bhāgirathi) in the city of Calcutta. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. The river over a period of time has moved away from the temple. The temple is now on the banks of a small canal called Adi Ganga which connects to the Hoogly. The Adi Ganga was the original course of the river Hoogly. Hence the name Adi (original) Ganga
The Kalighat temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan composed in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century.The present structure of the temple was completed under the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family’s patronage in 1809. Mention of the Kali temple is also found in Lalmohon Bidyanidhis’s ‘Sambanda Nirnoy”. Only two types of coins of Chandragupta II, who incorporated Vanga in the Gupta Empire, are known from Bengal. His Archer type coins, which became the most popular type of coinage with the Gupta rulers after Kumaragupta I, have been found in Kalighat. This is evidence of the antiquity of the place.
The image of Kali in this temple is unique. It does not follow the pattern of other Kali images in Bengal. The present idol of touchstone was created by two saints – Atmaram Brahmachari and Brahmananda Giri. Presently, the three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold and four hands, which all are made of gold too. Two of these hands holding a scimitar and a severed head of the asura king ‘Shumbha’. The scimitar signifies Divine Knowledge and the asura (or, human) head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands are in the abhaya and varada mudras or blessings, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshiping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and hereafter.