Kankalitala is just about half an hour’s drive from Mitali’s Bugalow, where we stayed in Shantiniketan. Being a staunch non-believer, Jayant wasn’t very keen to visit Kankalitala though. But I insisted since a friend in Kolkata had earnestly suggested that we go there to offer prayers. And reasoned that the drive should be good. He gave in since it was a matter of just an hour.
Kankalitala in Bolpur is one of the 51 Shakti-Peeths. However, to my utter surprise and disappointment, it was devoid of any architectural wonder. Furthermore, the Goddess worshipped here is in the form of a photo-frame and not the usual marble sculptures as seen in Hindu temples. Adjoining the temple is the sacred pond, which is as venerated as the temple Goddess.
Kankalitala is regarded as one of the important Shakti Peeth’s in Hindu mythology. Now what are Shakti Peeths you may ask? Folklore has it that upon her immolation, Sati’s corpse was carried by her husband Lord Shiva who wandered Aryavartha in sorrow. During His wanderings, Sati’s dead and burnt body parts fell in 51 different places (called Shakti Peeths), which then went on to become devout pilgrimages for believers of the Hindu religion. Kankalitala is one such Peeth. People believe that at Kankalitala, the waist of Sati had fallen. And hence, the reverence.
Offering Puja/Prayers at Kankalitala in Bolpur. As is usual with all Hindu temples in India, there are rows of shops selling flowers, incense and offerings adjacent the Kankalitala temple. There is ample parking space too. Thankfully we went on a day when the temple saw a normal flow of devotees. Hence, no serpentine queues. I offered my prayers in peace, and soon we were ready to go and explore the villages of Bolepur some more.
A few information that I unearthed for the benefit of fellow travellers:
Which are the important days of worship at Kankalitala Shakti-Peeth in Bolpur? All the big days of the Goddess Puja in the Hindu calendar such as Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Santoshi Puja. Besides, Friday is an important day of worship, it being the day of the Goddess of Shakti.
Is it crowded at Kankalitala Shakti-Peeth in Bolpur? Yes. Can get very very crowded on the important days of worship.
Can you go to Kankalitala Shakti-Peeth in Bolpur in a rickshaw? Yes. But negotiate hard on the rates. And make sure you book it for the entire trip, up and down. Else, you may be left at the mercy of the rickshaw-wallas stationed near the temple.