Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is dotted with mysteries of the gods. The famous Kalimath temple in Rudraprayag district, situated on the banks of Saraswati river in the Himalayas and surrounded by the peaks of Kedarnath, is one among them. This temple is located at an altitude of 1,463 m above sea level.
Considered as one of the major Siddha Shakti Peethas of India, Kalimath Temple is one of the major tourist places of Rudraprayag district. Dedicated to Hindu ‘Goddess Kali’, this place is considered as important as Kamakhya temple in Assam and Jwalamukhi in Himachal Pradesh from the spiritual point of view.
Described in chapter 62 of Skanda Purana, the divine rock, located at a steep height of 8 km from Kalimath temple, is known as ‘Kali Shila’, where the footprints of Goddess Kali are believed to be present which is the birthplace of Maa Durga where she had appeared in the form of a 12-year-old girl to kill demons Sumbha, Nishumbha and Raktabeej.
There are 64 yantras of the gods and goddesses in Kalishila, Maa Durga got power from these yantras. It is said that 64 yoginis keep roaming at this place. It is believed that at this place the deities, troubled by Sumbha-Nishumbha demons, worshipped ‘Maa Bhagwati’. Then she appeared and after hearing about the terror of the demons, the body of ‘Maa Bhagwati’ turned black with anger. She took a formidable form and killed both the demons.
The most interesting thing about Kalimath temple is that there is no idol in it. Devotees worship ‘kund’ inside the temple. Only during Navratri, on the day of Ashtami-Navami, this ‘kund’ is opened and the divine goddess is taken out and the puja is also performed only at midnight, when only the chief priest is present.
According to the belief, Kalimath temple is one of the most powerful temples, which has the power of goddesses. This is the only place where Goddess Mata Kali is situated along with her sisters Mata Lakshmi and Maa Saraswati. Kalimath has three grand temples of Mahakali, Shri Mahalakshmi and Shri Mahasaraswati.
The construction of these temples is according to the same law as mentioned in the Vaikritik Rahasya of Durga Saptashati, that is, Mahalakshmi should be worshiped in the middle, Mahakali in the south and Mahasaraswati in the left part. According to the local residents, it is also said that ‘Mata Sati’ took the second birth in the form of Parvati in this rock. At the same time, Raktabeej was killed by her near the Kalimath temple. His blood did not fall on the ground, so Mahakali spread her mouth and started licking his blood. Raktabeej Shila is still situated on the banks of the river.
It is said that the wishes made with a sincere heart are definitely fulfilled. In this temple, an unbroken flame is continuously lit. After killing the demons in the Kalimath temple, ‘Maa Kali’ disappeared there, after which she is worshiped in Kalimath. The Kalimath temple was restored by Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya in the 10th century AD.
Village Kalimath originally is still known as village ‘Kavaltha’. It is said that this is also the place of worship of Kalidas, the unique writer of Indian history. It is at this divine place that Kalidas attained scholarship by pleasing Mother Kali. After this, he wrote many books only with the blessings of ‘Maa Kali’, out of which the only poetic book written in Sanskrit ‘Meghdoot’ is world famous.
It is believed about Kalisheela that every year on the day of Dussehra, blood comes out of that on which ‘Maa Kali’ killed the demon Raktabeej in Kalimath.
It is also believed that Maa Kali did not calm down even after killing Sumbha, Nishumbha and Raktabeej, so Lord Shiva lied down under her feet. As soon as Maa Kali put her foot on his chest, her anger got pacified and she disappeared in this ‘kund’. It is believed that ‘Maa Kali’ is contained in this ‘kund’ and Shivshakti is also established in Kalimath temple.
Every year during Navratri, Kalimath temple is thronged by devotees from far and wide who come here to seek the blessings of ‘Maa Kali’. For worship in this Siddhapeeth, devotees offer raw coconut and material related to the goddess’s makeup, including bangles, bindi, small mirror, comb, ribbon, chunaria, etc.