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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kalighat Temple

The original KALIGHAT Temple,  painted by François Balthazar Solvyns in 1796 the temple was situated at the end of Bhowanipore Road near Tollys nalla. A  Military Burial Ground was set up near the Temple for `Soldiers dying in nearby Military Hospital by E.I.Co  . In 1807 devotees moved the Temple one mile south  to  the present site, bordering the land given to Ghulam Mohammad Shah  son of Tipoo Sultan by Cornwallis in 1806. The Mazar of PUGLA PEER remained there between Military Burial Ground  and Bhowanipur Road. On the corner of Peepulpatty Rd,(Elgin Rd) &  Russa Pugla  (Chowringhee) there was the Porah market. Next to it in was erected a raised mound  of  Suttee Peer (called Sahamaran shrine)
The original KALI TEMPLE was located at the place marked Lock Hospital. 

MAP OF CALCUTTA, from actual survey in years 1847-1849 by Frederick Walter Simms from Surveys  and executed by Major H.L. Thuillier, and Capt. R.Smyth. Engraved by J and C.Walker: from Library of Congress

François Balthazar Solvyns, Les Hindoûs, Vol. II, title page etching: Women before  Kalighat temple. 
 Women carrying  pot of Ganes water on head 
François Balthazar SolvynsLes Hindoûs, Vol. II,  Etching 1796:  Devotees at Calcutta's Kalighat temple  

The original KALI Temple. Engraving by  François Balthazar Solvyns 1796  
"Scene at Kali ghat, steps on stream known as Tolly's Nulla'. Calcutta, ."
 1944.Photo by U.S.Army photographer Frank Kagal 

Vendor selling Lotus and Jaba (Hibiscus) Flower to devotees at Kali Temple 
Red Jaba is the  prefered flower for worship of Godess Kali in Bengal.; 
1944 Photo by; U.S.Army photographer Glenn S.Hensley 

A three feet high rectangular altar bearing a Mansa plant with, three stones  representing Goddess "Sashti""Sitala", and "Mangal Chandi. This sacred spot  has  only women priests

Manasa Tree in Sastitala compound at Kali Temple 1944 photo  by; U.S.Army photographer Glenn S.Hensley  

The new KALI Temple was built at present location in 1807 two kms south of old Temple,  The  Temple was assigned 194 acres of land  for its maintenance.  1944 Photo by U.S.Army photographer Frank Kagal 

TOLLY's NALLAH -  ādi gangā 
It was silted up and was originally excavated in 1776 by Major Tolly as a private venture under a temporary grant of land by East India Company for navigation and canal Tolls, Opened for  in 1777; it was taken over by the Government in 1804.  28 kms long from River Hooghly near Kidderpore to Tardaha, connecting the Hooghly with Bidyadhari.
 When first excavated by desilting,  the canal was of insignificant dimension; but was later widened for  much frequented passage of Toll paying   boats .It formed part of inner Sunderbuns route and source of considerable revenue to E.I.Company. The original course of the river Hooghly. was identical with present Tollys Nalla as far as Garia, some miles south then joined Katta khal to Bidyadhari This part is still called ādi Gangā or the original Ganges. It is now being used for extension of Metro system. A part of adjoining land named Tollygunge was given to the family and sons of Tipu Sultan, Ghulam Mohammad Shah.
The new KALI Temple was built at present location in 1807 two kms south of old Temple,(opposite Belvedere,then called Bagaun Bāri).  The Kalighat Temple was assigned 194 acres of land  for its maintenance.

Acknowledgements;- .  
- U.S. Library of Congress, 
- British Museum,
- Columbia University,         ,                                  
- Chicago University, 
- University of Texas,
- Robert L. Hardgrave, Jr.,  
- Cornell University,  
- North American Review 1850   
   - Hadda majar Kalighat -  A description in verse of drunken orgies during the worship of Goddess Kali in Kalighat Temple Calcutta. 1868 ,  India Office Library, London 
   - Kalighat Shivabhakti pradayini Sabha  - (account of the proceedings of annual meeting of the Shivabhaktipradayini sabha for  Bengali year 1801) Pp 24 Bhowanipore Calcutta 1880AD

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