In South Delhi, Kalka Ji Mandir is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is also called Kalka Mandir, Kalka Devi Temple, or Maa Shri Kalka Ji Mandir.
Even though the present-day temple bears the marks of modern construction, legends suggest it was built during the mystical period known as Treta Yug (Hindi for Silver Age) of Hinduism. Kalka Ji Mandir's oldest sections were also built in 1764, according to religious pundits.
It is believed that the Marathas constructed this Kali temple between 1764 and 1764 AD, according to historians. Mirza Raja Kidar Nath, the Peshkar (treasurer) of Mughal King Akbar Shah II, added his touches to the shrine almost a century later, in 1816. It took about another hundred years for the present-day temple to emerge. Most of the funding was provided by devotees.
According to folklore, the Pandavas and Kauravas performed worship rituals here during the Mahabharata (Bronze Age). Kalka Ji was also believed to have been born here.
The land on which this temple is built legally belongs to Thok Jogians and Shamlat Thok Brahmins, who are also the pundits who perform the puja Sewa (worship rituals) inside.
According to folklore, the deity of Kalka Ji was born at the present location of this temple in the Aravalli Hills of Delhi in the East of Kailash. It is believed that many mythical gods used to live nearby the Maa Shri Kalka Ji Mandir millions of years ago, perhaps during the Golden Era (Satyug).
A few giants would persecute these gods, eventually forcing them to complain to Lord Brahma, who had the title god of gods. The task of killing the giants was delegated by him to goddess Parvati. This goddess brought out another goddess named Kaushki Devi.
When the spilled blood of these two giants came into contact with the dry earth, thousands of other giants were born. It was a herculean task for Kaushki Devi to battle so many giants at once. Her compassionate mother (Maa Parvati) thus reincarnated herself in Kali as another incarnation of herself.
Kali was capable of changing her size according to the situation. As a result of her gigantic mouth, Kali Devi was able to drink all the blood that fell off the giants killed by Kaushki Devi. Her upper lip reached the sky, while her lower lip touched the foothills.
Both goddesses were credited with eliminating the giant threat. Kali was worshipped as the area's chief divine being as a result of her special contribution.
Each day of the week, Maa Shri Kalka Ji Mandir opens at 4 AM and closes at 11:30 PM. There are donation boxes set up at various locations inside the temple to facilitate the collection of funds.
There are distinct morning and evening schedules followed by the temple, except when the muhurat (auspicious time, as determined by the Hindu pundits) changes.
The morning schedule is as follows:
Ganesh Vandana: Chanting verses and singing songs to the Hindu deity Ganesha at 5 AM.
The temple remains closed to the public from 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM during Shringaar Time, when the idol of Maa Shri KalkaJi is dressed in fresh clothes and decorated with ornaments, flower garlands, and honorary tilaks.
As the priests chant verses and ring a traditional handheld bell during the morning Aarti, Kalka Ji is worshipped. In addition to lighting incense sticks, some priests collect offerings from visitors and place them at the base of the idol. Many devotees can be seen praying during this time or holding plates with auspicious leaves, pastes, fruits, money, and diyas (clay lamps).
Between 11:45 AM and 12:15 PM, the temple stays closed for the distribution of bhog (a portion of food offered to the idol as an example of charity) to the deity of Maa Shri Kalka Ji. At noon, the bhog is served to the idol.
From 3 to 4 PM, the temple will be closed for maintenance, repairs, and cleaning.
The tentative evening schedule is as follows:
After sunset, Ganesh Vandana's chantings are repeated.
From 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Shringaar Time: The temple is closed to the public so the priests can dress up Maa Shri Kalka Ji's idol.
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Evening Aarti: The aarti is performed again in the evening. It is a spectacle, and most visitors come to the temple only during aarti times because there is a lot of frenzied activity, such as singing songs, throwing flowers, and playing classical Indian instruments.
The final ritual of the day is the Sajja Offering when baskets of flowers are offered to the deity of Maa Shri KalkaJi. Thereafter, the temple closes for the night until it reopens at 4 AM.
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