The Kali that Bamakhyapa installed

A Kali temple in central Howrah is an attraction to locals because the deity was installed by Sadhak Bamakhyapa himself

The Kali idol at Khirertala Kali Bari that Sadhak Bamakhyapa had installed himself


Sadhak Bamakhyapa had visited this house to install the deity. Amulyadhan Mukhopadhyay was a very dear disciple of the guru and had expressed his wish to dedicate a temple to the goddess in his house. On Akshay Tritiya in the year 1413 of the Bengali calendar, the temple was consecrated at the Amulyadhan Mukhopadhyay’s house in Kali Prasad Banerjee  Lane or Khirertala Gali in central Howrah. To this day, the temple is referred to as Khirertala Gali Kali Bari. Locals believe that the goddess protects them and also answers their prayers. “My grandfather was very close to Sadhak Bamakhyapa and had donated vast land near his crematorium to the temple and goddess at Tarapith. His guru had himself handed over this black touchstone (kashthi pathar) idol of Kali to my grandfather and asked him to make a temple at home. You will find the name of my grandfather and this house even in books on the life of Sadhak Bamakhyapa,” said Bablu Mukhopadhyay, Amulyadhan’s grandson. The members of this family still maintain the traditions of puja that their grandfather had introduced.

Akshay Tritiya is the foundation day of the temple and is a grand occasion at the house. However, Kali Puja equally attracts a large gathering of devotees to the Mukhopadhyay residence. The Mukhopadhyay family now comprise 25 members who must be present for the puja on that day. It goes on through the night and finally ends in the wee hours of the morning. The goddess is decked up in gold and silver ornaments on two special occasions, Akshay Tritiya and Kali Puja. “With serious security issues all around, we cannot risk keeping the ornaments on the deity at all times. So they are kept in the bank locker,” said Bablu.

Tantrik rituals are followed at this temple, which means that the main ingredient of the puja is karon (alcohol). Fruits, bhog, and other offerings follow after that. Animal sacrifice is kept only for Akshay Tritiya. “We do not have animal sacrifice on Kali Puja. That is done only on Akshay Tritiya. Often devotees bring  goats that they had pledged to the goddess against some wish that has been fulfilled,” said Bablu.