Kalkaji Temple in Delhi
Kalkaji temple is arguably the most visited temple in the Delhi city. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalka or Kali who is reincarnation of Goddess Durga. The Temple is situated near the Okhla industrial estate just in front of the famous Lotus temple. Devotees throng the temple throughout the year but the culmination point of the celebration comes during the festival of Navratri. This is a nine-day festival, during which a large fair is organized here. These fairs are the Indian version of carnivals that is full with the vibrant commotion of hawkers and children. Small groups singing various hymns and songs praising Goddess Durga, accompany them.
Very less has left of the original temple, built in mid 18th century. However, a very small portion of the original structure built in the year 1734 can be seen on the topmost point of the hill. According to the historical accounts, Marathas are said to have plundered the then temple after they lost to the Mughals in the battle of Talkatora in the year 1738. Later in the mid 19th century, Raja Kedarnath, the treasurer of Emperor Akbar II made certain changes and additions to the temple.
The modern temple is a 12-sided structure completely made out of marble and black pumice stones. This structure houses the black stone that denotes goddess kali. The temple building is very simple and has no ornamentation as such. There is an inn in the backyards of the main structure known as Kali Dharamshala.
The major ritual consists of offering and bathing the idol with milk followed by an Aarti in the evening. This, in turn, is followed by hymn recitation. Offerings can be purchased just before the entrance of the temple. Visitors should be alert in the area as the place is very crowded and there can be few anti-social elements (pickpockets) after your wallet or precious possessions.
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