Kalimath also known as Kaviltha is one of the 108 Shakti Peeths in India. It lies at an altitude of around 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above river Saraswati in the Himalayas, surrounded by the peaks of Kedarnath in Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand, India. It is situated close to Ukhimath and Guptakashi. The village is the birthplace of Kalidas, a Sanskrit poet. Large number of devotees visit the shrine especially during the "Navratris”. Kalimath is only the place where the Goddess Kali is worshipped along with her sisters Laxmi and Saraswati.
About The Temple
The temple is surrounded by ancient, antique and unique architecture temples of Goddess Maha Laxmi, Maha Saraswati, Gauri Shankar and many antique idols of Nandi, Ganesh etc. The structure and walls of these temples are self-explanatory regarding the age of the temple. An eternal holy flame always burns in the temple of goddess Maha Laxmi.
About The Deity
Spiritual custom is that Kalimath is where Kali killed the demon Raktavija and had gone under the world. There is a forehead of the Goddess Kali, which is frequented by a lot of lovers throughout the season, and especially during the Navratras. An unusual factor about the forehead is that there is no idol that is worshipped here, instead, the Sri Yantra, is the item of commitment. On a day in each season the Goddess is taken out and Puja is conducted at night-time, with only the primary clergyman. .
Legend and Stories
There are two stories on the origin Goddess Kali, and the one from the Durga Saptashati (a poem in praise of Durga), which is part of the Markandeya Puran is more popular.
Long ago there existed two powerful demons called Shumbh and Nishumbh. As they grew in strength, they usurped the vast empire of the King of Gods, Indra and dispossessed all the gods like Surya, Chandra, Yam, Varuna, Pawan and Agni. Both of them also managed to throw the God-host away from heaven. Sorely distressed the Gods went to the mortal realm (Earth) and began to brood on how to get rid of these demons permanently. The solution was to pray to Goddess Durga in her form of Parvathi, the wife of Shiva. They reached the Himalayas and prayed to please the kind hearted Goddess Parvathi. Agreeing to help, the body of Mother Parvathi emerged a bright light in the form of a divine lady called Ambika. Her exit from Devi Parvathi's body caused the latter to turn dark and black. She was then known as Kaushiki who began to dwell over the mountain ranges. When the sycophants of the demons, Chand and Munda saw the dazzling light in the beautiful form of Ambika, they were enchanted by her superb beauty. They went to the demons Shumbh and Nishumbh and said, "Your Lordship! This woman is the most beautiful female in the entire Universe." They described her beauty in such superlative terms that Shumbh and Nishumbh could not resist sending their messenger Sugreeva to bring her to them.
Sugreeva reached Ambika and extolled the virtues of his masters Shumbh and Nishumbh to influence the Goddess. But she smiled indulgently and replied: "You may be right in the assessment of your masters but I cannot break my oath. I might have done it rather unconsciously but the fact is that now I stand committed to my oath, which is that whosoever can defeat me in battle and brow-beat me; whosoever can match my power, shall only be my master. So go and tell your masters to show their strength and win me in the battle. The messenger replied: "Listen, O Lady! You are very arrogant and adamant. Don't challenge my masters, against whose might the universe shudders in fright. They, who have browbeaten the Gods and have thrown them out of Heaven, are very powerful. You are a mere woman, and you cannot match their might. Follow my advice and come with me to accept their proposal. Or else you shall be pulled by your hair and taken to their feet."
The Goddess replied: "Whatever you say may be true. Maybe your Shumbh is so powerful and your Nishumbh is so virile but I am committed to my pledge. But go now and explain the whole situation to the Demon-lords. Let them come and defeat me!"
Sugreeva then went to his masters Shumbh and Nishumbh and explained the whole situation at length. Shumbh and Nishumbh became angry and they sent another demon Dhoomralochan to fetch her. But a mere loud cry and wrathful gaze of the Goddess was enough to incinerate the demon Dhoomralochan. The lion of the Goddess slayed the accompanying demons. Then the Demon kings sent Chanda and Munda with a large army to capture the Great Goddess. They encircled the Himalayas to nab the Goddess. The Goddess then produced a black figure of frightening form, called Kaali-Devi or Kaalika Devi. She destroyed the demons easily, hacked off the heads of Chanda and Munda and brought them to the Goddess Ambika. Since she had hacked off the heads of Chanda Munda, she became famous as Chamunda Devi.
Fairs and Festivals
Kalimath is the most powerful divine place in kedar valley. Although the temple is less popular due to low awareness of the place, it is popular for meditation because of the peaceful area. A fair festival is also celebrated on the occasion of Navratra in Kalimath temple. Navratra is a nine day long festival in which most of women keep fast in dedication to Goddess Nav Durga. The 8Th day of Navratra called Ashtami in Hindu calendar is dedicated to Goddess Kal-Ratri and is celebrated at mid night as Kal Ratri festival. The festival is also important because on that day the silver plate where Goddess Kali is supposed to be present is opened by temple priest and it is strongly believed that if one sees the darshan (view) of Kali that day his/her wish will be fulfilled by Kalimath Mata. This day the Poojas are performed outside the temple by the temple priest.
It is strongly believed in Kedarnath valley that if one purchased any vehicle (either two or four wheeler), it is necessary to be worshiped in Kalimath. After worship, the owner of vehicle puts a photo of Kalimath temple in the vehicle or bind a string with name of Goddess Kali Mata.
Nearby Places to Visit
Goddess Laxmi Mata temple is situated near Kalimath temple complex (15 foot distance from temple) where wooded fire continues burning since three Hindu era period. A Great conventional Sanskrit language writer Kalidas meditated at that place.
Nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (204 Kms)
Nearest railway station is at Dehradun (228 Kms) or Rishikesh railway station (187 Kms).
Kalimath is located near the route of Kedarnath Dam. Kalimath is at 20 Kms from Ukhimath and one can reach Kalimath by hire taxi or take sharing jeep from Rudraprayag.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Protection from evil
- Destruction of ego
Jayantii Manggalaa Kaalii Bhadrakaalii Kapaalinii Durgaa Shivaa Kssamaa Dhaatrii Svaahaa Svadhaa Namostu Te
Meaning -We salute the Devi Kali, who is always victorious and always auspicious, we offer salutations to Bhadrakali Devi who wears a skull garland, we salute Shiva's consort and the embodiment of self-control and supports all beings, Devi Durga, who is Swaha as well as Swadha. We offer our salutations to you.
Om Maha Kalyai Ca Vidmahe Smasana Vasinyai Ca Dhimahi Tanno Kali Prachodayat
Meaning -Om the great Goddess Kali who stays in the ocean of life and burial grounds, we focus our energies on you, may you grant us our wishes and bless us
Kaalika Kalahey Gorey Paathuthvaam Parameshwari Mandapey Thathra Mathangi Thatha Sowmya Swayamwarey
Meaning -Let the ever charming, mother of the universe, protect us and stay in this mandap and bestow her blessing on us as mother Mathangi.
Katyayani Mahamaye Mahayoginyadheeshwari Nandgopsutam Devipatim Me Kuru Te Namah
Meaning -Oh Goddess Katyayani, the great vigour of the Lord, the owner of great magical power and the mighty one who controls all, please make the son of Nanda Maharaj my husband. I offer my salutations to you.