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Shanagar Burning Ghat
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Kalighat Temple information
This ancient Kali temple is Kolkata’s holiest spot for Hindus and possibly the source of the city’s name. Today’s version is a 1809 rebuild with floral- and peacock-motif tiles that look more Victorian than Indian. More interesting than the architecture are the jostling pilgrim queues that snake into the main hall to fling hibiscus flowers at a crowned, three-eyed Kali image. There’s no need to join them to feel the atmosphere.
Behind the bell pavilion but still within the mandir complex, goats are ritually beheaded (generally mornings) to honour the ever-demanding goddess. To the direct east is a pea-green ‘holy pond’ and by the sanctuary's north perimeter, a ‘tree of fertility’.
Unless using their services to queue-jump into the central shrine hall, a token donation of ₹20 is sufficient for any impromptu temple guide. Donating ₹21 is even better – giving a sum ending in one is considered lucky and implies that you are familiar with local customs.