The Kalkaji Temple is a famous temple paying homage to Kalka Devi or Goddess Kali, situated in Delhi near the Okhla industrial area, just opposite the Bahai Lotus Temple. An incarnation of Goddess Durga, Kali represents feminine power and energy, making her a very popular deity.
It is believed that this temple was originally built in the eighteenth century, with the oldest section built in 1764. However, the temple was plundered by the Marathas in 1738 and rebuilt by under the rule of Akbar II in the nineteenth century. He made certain changes to the temple and certain additions to the structure. The antiquity of this temple is attested by the fact that even the Pandavas and Kauravas had offered their prayers here.
The Kalkaji Temple is situated on a hill in South Delhi. The twelve sided marble and pumice stone structure is very simple compared to other temples in India and is devoid of ornamentation. A stone formation represents the idol of Goddess Kali. Devotees often offer their prayers while bathing the Goddess in milk. Dharamshala’s and rest houses for the devotees are located near the temple.
During the festival of Navratri the temple faces a huge crowd of devotees. During this nine day festival, a fair is also organized here. The temple is festively decorated with red flags at this time. Hawkers throng this area selling their wares and devotees sing hymns to the Goddess. The temple lights are kept on for the whole night, inspiring the devotees with awe and reverence.
The idol is bathed in milk daily followed by morning and evening aarti. There is also an overwhelming tantric aarti conducted in the evening. Devotees often meditate here and derive spiritual strength and peace. Offerings to the Goddess can be bought just outside the temple. However, devotees should be careful of pickpockets.
This temple can be accessed from various parts of Delhi by buses, autos, taxis and from the nearest metro station, Central Secretariat. It is located behind the Nehru commercial complex. This area is known as Kalkaji, inspired by the name of the temple.
Last updated on 3 August 2012