Kalkaji Mandir also known as Kalkaji Temple, is a famous Hindu mandir or temple, dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kali. This temple is situated on Kalkaji Mandir (Delhi Metro) in the southern part of Delhi, India, in Kalkaji, a locality that has derived its name from this famous temple and is located opposite Nehru Place business centre. The temple is easily accessible by all forms of public transport on Kalkaji Mandir (Delhi Metro) and is near Bus Terminus-Nehru Place and Railway Station-Okhla. The general belief is that the image of the Goddess Kalka here is a self-manifested one, and that the shrine dates back to Satya Yuga when the Goddess Kalika had incarnated and killed the demon Raktabija along with other giant demons.
Kalka or Kalkaji Mandir is amongst the oldest and the most reverend ancient temples of India. The temple is dedicated to goddess Kalka or Kali, an incarnation of Durga. It is also called 'Jayanti Peetha' or 'Manokamna Siddha Peetha'. 'Manokamna' literally means desire, 'Siddha' means fulfillment, and 'Peetha' means shrine. So, it is believed to be the holy shrine where one gets the blessings of Maa Kalika Devi (Goddess or Mother Kalika) for the fulfillment of one's desires.
The temple complex is situated on Kalkaji Mandir (Delhi Metro), in between the Nehru Place bus terminus & business center and Okhla railway station & industrial area, and is right beside the famous Bahá'í Lotus Temple. Close by to the temple, on a hill in the East of Kailash neighbourhood and near the ISKCON Temple, lies an Edict of Ashoka, dating 3rd century BC. Devotees attend the Kalkaji temple throughout the year, but the culmination point of their prayers and celebration comes during the festival of Navratri twice a year. This is a nine-day Hindu festival, in Spring and Autumn during which a large fair is organized here. Devotees gather and sing various hymns and songs praising Goddess Durga.
Millions of years ago, the gods who dwelt in the neighbourhood of the present temple were troubled by two giants and were compelled to prefer their complaint to Lord Brahma, 'the god of all'. But Lord Brahma declined to interfere, and referred them to the Goddess Parvati. Out of the mouth of Maa Parvati sprung Kaushki Devi, who attacked the two giants and slaughtered them, but it so happened, that as their blood fell on the dry earth thousands of giants came into life, and the battle was maintained by Kaushki Devi against great odds. Maa Parvati took compassion on her offspring and out of the eyebrows of Kaushki Devi came maa Kali Devi, 'whose lower lip rested on the hills below and the upper lip touched the sky above.
She drank the blood of the slaughtered giants as it poured out of their wounds; and the goddess obtained a complete victory over their enemies. Maa Kali Devi then fixed her abode here, and she was worshipped as the chief divinity of the place. It is believed that the Goddess Kalkaji, pleased with the prayers offered and rituals performed by the Gods on the advice of Lord Brahma, appeared on this mount, known as Surya Koota Parvata, and blessed them. Ever since, the Goddess took this holy place as her abode and has been fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. During the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna and the Pandavas are said to have worshipped this Goddess during the reign of Yudhisthir.
The temple complex, as it stands today, is constructed of brick masonry, finished with plaster (now with marbles) and is surrounded by a pyramidal tower. The Central Chamber which is 12-sided in plan diam. (24' I.M.) with a doorway in each side is paved with marble and is surrounded by a verandah 8'9" wide and containing 36 arched openings (shown as the exterior doorways in the Parikrama). This verandah encloses the Central Chamber from all sides. About the middle of this arcade opposite the eastern doorway there are two red sandstone tigers sitting on a marble pedestal on which the inscription engraved on the marble railings is repeated.
The language of the inscriptions is Urdu and the characters on the railings as well as on the pedestals are nastaliq without any pretensions to antiq mvbm,cuity. Between the tigers there is stone image of Kali Devi with her name engraved on it in Hindi, and a trident of stone standing before it.
The major ritual consists of offering and bathing the idol (Mata Snanam) with milk followed by an Aarti every morning (6 AM) and evening (7:30 PM). This, in turn, is followed by hymn recitation. Offerings can be purchased just before the entrance of the temple. Visitors should be alert in the area as the place is very crowded and there can be Pickpockets. The Puja archana and other rituals are performed turn by turn (Monthly Basis) by Pujaris consisting of more than 1000 families who are the descendants of 4 main clans (Thulas) of Brahmin pujaris and one clan of Jogis/Mahants. The atmosphere around the temple is airy and bright with lights which stay during the whole night. Devotees also try to meditate there and a tantric aarti is held in the evening.