Why Temples Offer Fish, Meat To Goddess Kali In Bengal

As popular currency says – “Jai Kali Kalkatta Wali” – Kali and Kolkata are synonymous for the most part. The legend of Kali occupies a good part of the cultural existence of Bengal. For some she is a fierce goddess, the slayer of demons, and for some she is a mother, just another member of his own family.

There are hundreds of Kali temples across Bengal and countless legends associated with each of them. But there are consistent rituals that form the core of Kali worship in the Eastern State.

Such common practices bind the most revered Kali temples in the state – like Kalighat, Tarapith or Dakshineswar.

Kalighat, Calcutta: At the 200-year-old temple, believed to be one of 51 Shaktipeeth in the country, animal sacrifices take place every day, say temple priests. The same is usually brought by devotees who promise it to the Goddess. Later, the meat is cooked and offered to devotees in the form of prasad. However, the Devi here is offered a vegetarian spread while her accomplices – Dakini and Yogini – receive the non-vegetables from the sacrifice.

Kalighat, Kolkata (Photo: wbtourism.gov.in)

Tarapith, Birbhum: Another Shaktipith in Bengal, at Tarapith, the priests say that according to Tantra, fish and meat sacrifices are offered to the Goddess as bhog. In fact, “Karan Sudha”, or alcohol, is necessary. But aside from that, there is also a separate vegetarian and fruit spread.

Temple of Tarapit. (Photo: wbtourism.gov.in)

Dakshineswar, Kolkata: At the Dakshineswar temple of Sri Ramakrishna, the Goddess is offered fish every day in the form of bhog. However, no animals are sacrificed here.

Dakshineswar Kali Temple (Photo:dakshineswarkalitemple.org)

Thanthania Kalibari, Kolkata: At the 300-year-old Thanthania Kali temple in north Kolkata, no bhog of the Goddess is complete without fish. Every full moon, animals are sacrificed and offered to the goddess by the temple or whenever a devotee promises one here. However, the sacrificial meat is not cooked here in this temple but given to the devotee who promises it.

Thanthania Kalibari, Calcutta. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“At Tarapith, while on the one hand vegetarian food is offered to the Goddess, fish and alcohol are also necessary according to Tantra. The animal sacrificed by devotees once their wishes have been granted is offered to the Goddess The Goddess has been worshiped with these since ancient times. Whatever the devotees offer to the Goddess with devotion is served as bhog,” Taramoy Mukhopadhyay, a sevayat of Tarapith told India Today TV.

“In tantra sadhana, there is a practice of giving alcohol and meat. Only those who engage in such practices of tantric philosophy can explain why such practices occur,” said the scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri at India Today TV.

Read also: | BJP takes on Mahua Moitra for ‘insulting’ Goddess Kali, TMC MP reacts

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