Jai MAA KALI

Make your visit to the temple a worthwhile and pleasant experience.

Please note the following carefully.

GENERAL

1. The temple is crowded on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is less crowded early in the morning before 8.A.M. If you can, plan your trip for a Wednesday early morning.

2. Avoid taking cell phones and digital cameras to the temple. If you do have to take them, keep them inside your handbag while entering the temple.

3. Do not carry a heavy wallet/purse openly. Take out a particular amount of money and keep it separately where you can reach it easily. I have seen people pulling out their wallets inside the Garbagraha and the front varandah. This is risky and is tempting pick pockets. Keep your wallet/purse inside your bag safely.

Carry enough change in the form of 10 rupee notes, 50 rupee notes and 100 rupee notes. People end up by shelling out 100 rupees where 10 rupees would have been sufficient.

TOUTS/BROKERS/MIDDLE-MEN

Now when you enter the Kali Temple road, you will be approached by persons who will promise you a quick Dharshan.

Now most of these people are touts/dalals/middle-men who have very little to do with the temple.

There two categories in these.

a. Operators who act on behalf of some of the sweet shops. You will know them when they want you to go to the shop first. Here you are asked to buy some Peda or other sweets to be offered as Prasad. Then they take you to the temple.

Some of these shops do have a lot of influence in the temple and they may be able to arrange for a quick Dharshan. But it would cost you a lot of money. Of course there is no guarantee.

You will find a number of local people who make use of these shops which are scattered around the temple. My wife and family do. They provide a place to rest, keep your slippers.

But on busy days they may not be able to help.

You can approach these people if you are in a hurry and would not mind spending money to have a quick Dharshan. But please enquire whether they can take you inside the Garbagraha. No Dharshan from the front varandah or the Nat Mandir.

b. Dalals who hand you over to another Panda for taking you inside the temple. There are some who might take you to the temple. Most of these do not have any influence in the temple. They depend on muscle power. They would take you to the Jor Bangla (the Varandah in the front), muscle their way through the crowd and ask you to have a quick Dharshan. Some of them do not even do that. They take you to the Nat Mandir and ask you to have Dharshan from there. Please avoid these touts. Your experience will not be pleasant.

Inside the Garbagraha:

1. The persons standing in front of the Deity are not Priests of the temple. They are not qualified to conduct Pujas. A Bhattacharya priest comes during the Puja time for conducting the Puja. The persons standing in front of the Deity are the employees of the Phaledar.

Phaledar is the person who holds the right to collect the offering for the day. He is also responsible for conducting the Pujas. All the amount collected during the day goes to him. A portion of the collection goes to the temple. Phala is the right of the Haldar family members (Sevaits) who have managed the temple for centuries. But now this Phala right is reportedly sometimes auctioned to the highest bidder.

The employees of the Phaledar have to ensure maximum collection. So no amount of money is sufficient. Sometimes even 500 rupees is treated with contempt. 100 rupees is a good amount.

There are Phaledars who ensure that the true spirit of the Puja is maintained. They also ensure that the devotees are not pressed for money. On these days the Dalals and the Pandas are not active. If you are lucky, you may land on one of these days.

2. There is always a lot of hustle and bustle inside the Garbagraha. It is there even when there are only two people inside the Garbagraha. Even then, you are not allowed to stand in front of the Deity in peace, unless you have paid money. Even then they do not allow you to pray.

The hustle and bustle is created by the persons there so that you will lose your cool. The idea is to disturb you so that you can not think clearly. Under this stress people do cough up more money that what they intended.

Decide what you are going to give the so called priests and keep the amount ready. Do not be taken in by their shout of 100 rupees or 500 rupees.

3. Please do understand that if he hands you a Karpura Aarti to show MAA, you have to pay for that also. Do not accept it unless you are prepared to pay. But then you do get to stand in front of MAA for a few minutes. But if you show the Aarti and leave without paying, they may block your way. It is easy as there is hardly any space there. Please do not give your name. Your name acts as an incentive for these people to do a Sankalpa. MAA is omniscient and Omnipotent. SHE knows you, her child. No introduction is necessary.

Now there is another man in the middle who also asks for money. He is The Brahmin who takes care of the Deity. It is a hereditary right.

Then you find a number of persons who ask for money just inside and outside the Garbagraha. These are again employees of the Phaledar.

You are not bound to give money to any of these. But giving 10 rupees to these people will not hurt your pocket.

I have given the above suggestions based on my experience of visiting the temple daily for years. This is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of the present practices. This web site is no place for that. This is only to ensure that you have a good Dharshan of MAA and have a pleasant experience in the temple.