Perhaps, one of the busiest Hindu temples in Delhi, Shri Kalkaji Mandir is dedicated to Goddess Kali, another form of Maa Aadi Shakti. This temple is also touted as Jayanti Peetha or Manokamna Siddha Peetha; the term manokamna means desire, siddha means accomplishment and peetha refers to a shrine. Therefore, it is said that Goddess Kali fulfils the desires and wishes of the devotees who come here to offer their prayers with the pure heart and true soul. Not just this, the temple traces its history from Satya Yuga (an ancient Hindu era) and is believed to be one of the oldest Maa Kali temples in India. This fact also makes it one of the major tourist attraction in Delhi. Throughout the year, you can witness a large gathering of devotees, especially on Saturdays. The festival of Navratri also marks a significant footfall of devotees who come here to perform pilgrimage from far and wide. During this time, a large fair is also organized at the temple which thronged with devotees. Moreover, on the way towards the temple, you can find a number of vendors selling prashad (holy offering), religious items, and even sweets. The bustling view outside the temple is so surreal that it will automatically give you a feeling of spirituality, right from the lane of the temple. Another belief states that the image of Goddess Kali at Kalkaji Mandir is a self-manifested one, and thus, the temple is considered as one of the highly revered shrines in Delhi. Furthermore, various religious activities like marriages and offering of hair are performed at the temple.
As per the folklore, the temple dates back to the time of Satya Yuga. In the 19th century, the changes were made in the temple’s construction by Raja Kedarnath. However, in the 20th century, the present structure of Sri Kalkaji Mandir was built by the contributions of devotees. The modern temple is a 12-sided construction that boasts a simple design carved out of black pumice stones and marble. Besides, the temple also has a number of Dharamshalas around its construction. With a brick and plaster masonry, the temple is surrounded by a pyramidal tower. The 12-sided central chamber is carved with marble and has a doorway in each of its sides. Moreover, it is also surrounded by verandah that encloses the chamber from all sides.
Legend and History
As per the beliefs, the temple is more than 3000-year old. It is also said that at this very same place where the temple is presently located, Pandavas and Kauravas came to offer their prayers to the almighty. Just to let you know, the first construction of this temple was held in 1734. With time, the shrine got modifications in its structure.
The legend has it that there were two demons who troubled the gods who resided in the neighbourhood of the current temple. As a result of this, they approached Lord Brahma for the help but he declined to interfere and asked to visit Goddess Parvati. From the mouth of Goddess Parvati sprung Kaushki Devi who conquered the two demons. But while battling with them, the blood of the demons fell on the dry land and as a result of this, thousands of more demons came into life. Kaushki Devi, on the other hand, battled with all the demons. Seeing all this, Goddess Parvati concerned about her progeny and from the eyebrows of Kaushki Devi came Goddess Kali. She slaughtered the demons and drank the blood as it was pouring out of their wounds; finally, the goddess conquered a victory on demons. It is also said that Maa Kali manifested herself her and was commemorated as the chief divinity of the place.
Shri Kalkaji Mandir remains open all days from 4:00 AM to 11:30 PM. Moreover, a number of aartis and activities are also performed at the temple at the different time. A detailed timing of aartis are as follows:
- Ganesh Vandana: 5:00 AM
- Holy Bath of Deity: 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM (the temple remains closed during this time)
- Morning Aarti: 6:30 AM to 7:00 AM
- Ganesh Vandana: 7:00 PM
- Holy Bath of Deity: 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
- Evening Aarti: 8:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Ma Anandmayee Marg, NSIC Estate, Block 9, Kalkaji, New Delhi - 110019
Best Time to Visit
The temple can be visited at any time during the year. However, the festive seasons of Navratras are considered as the best time to visit Shri Kalkaji Mandir as during this time the temple receives oodles of devotees and organizes a fair. Similarly, every Saturday, the temple marks a heavy footfall of pilgrims.
How to Reach?
Shri Kalkaji Mandir is located near Nehru Place, and hence, reaching here is not at all a difficult task. The temple has a metro station with its own name, Kalkaji Mandir Metro Station which also serves its nearest station. From the station, it is just 180 m walking distance to the temple. The Kalkaji Mandir station lies on both Violet line and Magenta line metro.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Shri Kalkaji Mandir is located near Nehru Place and has a number of tourist attractions in its near proximity where you head to after performing pilgrimage at the temple. These attractions are:
- Lotus Temple
- ISKCON Temple
- Nehru Place Market
- Zakir Hussain Museum
- Prachin Bhairon Mandir
- Kalkaji District Park