Kolkata, May 10 : The over 200-year-old Kalighat Kali temple, one of the city's landmarks visited by tens of thousands of devotees and tourists every day, is set for a makeover, thanks to the intervention of the judiciary.
The high court here has directed the West Bengal government, in an order passed earlier this week, to clean up the temple and its surroundings in response to two public interest litigations.
In the clean-up plan is the removal of 200 squatter shops selling flowers, sweets and other items offered to the deity. Also ordered to be cleaned up is the sanctum sanctorum that houses the deity of Kali in the present form, dating back to 1809.
The division bench of Chief Justice Arun K. Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi asked the temple authorities to bar devotees and priests from entering the sanctum sanctorum with flowers and leaves. Only two priests are allowed to carry these items into the sanctum sanctorum.
The judges also directed that devotees should not be allowed into the sanctum sanctorum without the nod of the authorities.
Kalighat is one of the most revered Hindu religious sites in India. It is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (seats of Hindu goddess Shakti or Sati), one of the sites where parts of the goddess' body are believed to have fallen as Lord Shiva danced the Tandava dance, the celestial dance of destruction.
There are references to the temple is scriptural material from the 15th and 16th centuries, but the present structure was built by the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family in 1809.