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Kali Puja dedicated to the goddess Kali is one of the most popular festivals not only in Kolkata but of West Bengal as well. It falls just after the auspicious Durga Puja and involves worship of Goddess Kali- the incarnation of Shakti. However unlike other incarnations of Durga and Saraswati, Goddess kali is a frightening form who wears a garland of skulls and has a sharp weapon in one hand and a severed head on another. The deity is usually depicted standing upon Lord Shiva’s chest and is regarded as the one who wards off evil power.
Unlike the dreaded appearance of the deity, the celebrations involved are full of joy and excitement. Although the Kali Puja is held at midnight, celebrations starts in the evening itself when beautiful diyas and candles illuminates almost every household in the city-giving it a bride-like look. Firecrackers and lightning multi colored crackers are burst throughout and children’s are especially seen reveling in the atmosphere.
The celebrations are worth witnessing at the two sacred Kali temples in Kolkata- Dakshineshwar and Kalighat Temples. Numerous devotees visit the shrine to seek the divine blessings and offer thanksgivings and prayers. Hindu culture also links tantrism or black magic to Goddess Kali who is the embodiment of Shakti, the eternal cosmic energy. The deity possesses eternal powers of destruction and the Kali Puja forms an essential part of not only Kolkata but Hindu culture as well.