A Guide To Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

Dakshineswar Kali Temple
| 3 min read
Anupama Passary
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
Anupama Passary
Sreeparna Chaudhury
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
Sreeparna Chaudhury
Rituparna Pal
Endorsed by a Chennai Local Expert
Rituparna Pal

As its name suggests, Dakshineswar Kali Temple in West Bengal is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali, particularly Bhavatarini, one of her incarnations. According to legend, Rani Rashmoni had it constructed in the 19th century based on a dream. It is located on the banks of the Hooghly River, beside the Vivekananda Bridge. It is considered as one of the most sacred temples in Kolkata, as well as one of the largest, featuring 12 spires, a spacious courtyard, and has 12 smaller temples dedicated to Shiva. It is also the temple where the mystic and yogi Ramkrishna Paramhansa was said to have a vision that inspired him to preach about religious unity. Here’s our guide to Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata, to help you navigate your way through one of the most culturally significant places in the city.


Dakhineshwar Temple beside the Hoogly, West Bengal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Knath used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Temple of Kali

The Temple of Kali was built following the traditional style of Bengal architecture called Nava-Ratna, in reference to the nine spires positioned in the upper two storeys and which can be accessed via a flight of stairs. Not to be missed in the temple is the sanctum sanctorum, which houses an idol of Kali standing on the chest of Shiva, both of which, in turn, are on a silver lotus said to bear a thousand petals. While the temple is dedicated to Kali, Rani Rashmoni’s intent was to welcome anyone, regardless of religion or caste, there.

Trivia: all idols in the temple were installed on 31 May 1855, which was said to have been an auspicious day (“snana-yatra”).

Twelve shrines of Shiva

Lining the temple are twelve identical shrines that are dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva. The interiors are decorated with black and white stones.

Vishnu temple

There is also a small temple dedicated to Vishnu in the complex. Inside the sanctuary are idols of Krishna and Radha.

Nat Mandir

Located right in front of the temple of Kali, the Nat Mandir is a 16-pillared structure with an open hall that served as the venue for religious discourses and the singing of spiritual songs. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. According to legend, Ramkrishna Paramhansa used to pray here to Shiva before setting foot into the Kali Temple.

Other attractions

Some of the other places that you could find in the temple are the “Nahabat”, a chamber where the mystic Ramkrishna Paramhansa was said to have lived; a shrine in honor of Rani Rashmoni; and a bathing ghat. There is also a landscaped garden in the temple complex.

Traveler's tips

Don't miss visiting the iconic Belur Math when you are here. My maternal aunts and uncles are devotees of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and have been associated with the Ramakrishna Mission for several years now. Although I find almost all the spots in the Math very serene and peaceful, I love to spend time inside the Swami Vivekananda Temple and around the Samadhi enclosure. 

Visited this place?

Travelers tips

Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Source: Photo by user shankar s. used under CC BY 2.0


While there is strictly no imposed dress code here, those visiting the temple should dress conservatively. Be sure to take off your footwear before entering the temple. Backpacks and mobile phones also need to be deposited before entry. To be safe, don’t bring a large sum of money, since you may not be able to bring it with you inside.


There is no entrance fee here. However, you will need to pay a small amount to deposit your things before you enter the temple.


Photography is not allowed inside the temple.


If you wish, you can join the locals in taking a bath in the river. Do bring a change of clothes though.

Best time to visit

If you’re a tourist visiting to see the sights in the temple, try to go here early in the morning, so you can beat the heat. Allot at least two hours to explore this temple. On the other hand, if you’re a pilgrim, evening is the best time to go here, so you can witness the Sandhya aarti. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the best days for you to visit if you’re on a pilgrimage, as these are said to be the best days to pray to Kali. Do note, however, that the temple tends to be filled with people on those days.


If you want to give some offerings at the temple, there’s a flower shop right across from it where you can buy some.

Food and drinks

If you can be satisfied with a light snack, there are stalls outside the temple that sell refreshments. Otherwise, there are restaurants within the vicinity, where you can enjoy a full meal.


There are also stalls outside that sell Hindu religious items.

Traveler's tips

I try to schedule a visit to this holy place every year during wintertime. Visiting Dakshineswar Temple means getting up in the wee hours of the morning, taking a bath, wearing new clothes (especially if you are visiting on your birthday), buying flowers, incense, candles, and garlands for the offering, and trying to reach it in the first half of the day. After offering my prayers, I like to savor the blissful tranquility of the nat mandir before going down the staircase that leads to the banks of the Ganges - a surreal experience if you ask me!

Traveler's tips

Dakshineswar, being my dad's ancestral place, carries a lot of childhood memories for me. I remember the frenzied crowd at the temple on the night of Kali Puja and accompanying my mother to buy flowers, garlands, and sweets from small stalls outside the temple to offer to the idol. My eyes, of course, used to be on the sweets, LOL. I used to wait eagerly for them to be offered to the deity and come back as 'prasad'. One of my most favorite spots in the temple complex is the river bank.

Visited this place?

How to get there

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jonoikobangali used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

By plane

The closest airport to the temple is Kolkata Airport, which is about a 40-minute drive by car.

By train

Take the train that goes to Dankuni from Sealdah and get off at the Dakshineshwar station. The temple is already within walking distance from there.

By bus

There are buses that go directly to the temple from the Esplanade terminal.

By cab or car rental

Cabs are available in the area. Alternatively, you can also rent a car, if you want to have more control over your movements while you’re on your holiday here. There are parking spaces available near the temple.

Traveler's tips

I remember traveling for hours with my parents to reach the temple as a kid. But, the newly built Dakshineswar metro station has made the journey much easier and quicker, especially if you are in the city center or in the southern part of the city.

Visited this place?

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata information

Kali Temple Kolkata
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Priyoda used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata

Address: May Dibas Pally, Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal, 700076, India

Opening hours: Oct - Mar: 6am - 12:30 pm, 3pm - 8:30pm; Apr - Sep: 6am - 12:30pm, 3:30pm - 9pm

Price: Free entry

Official website: Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Department of tourism: West Bengal tourism board

News and updates: The legend of Dakshineswar kali temple in Kolkata | Dakshineswar temple to get a walkway

Traveler's tips

If you are traveling by car, try to reach the temple in the early hours of the day to avoid rush. Saturday being the day of Goddess Kali is one of the busiest days.

Visited this place?
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


This article has been endorsed by Dakshineswar Kali Temple local expert Anupama Passary and 2 other(s)

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling. She has gone sightseeing with family,...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.