Ambika Kalna or simply Kalna is a town, a municipality and head quarters of Kalna subdivision in Bardhaman District in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is situated on the western bank of the Bhāgirathi. The town is more popularly known as Ambika Kalna, named after a very popular Deity of Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika. It has numerous historical monuments such as the Rajbari (the palace) and the 108 Shiva temples. The town of Kalna, is 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Bardhaman, the district headquarter.
The town can be accessed by rail or road. By rail it is connected on the loop line route from Howrah towards Katwa. Ambika Kalna, 81 km from Howrah, is the main railway station. There are several local trains as well as express trains, on the route and almost all of them stop at the Ambika Kalna rail station. By road, the town can be accessed from primarily 4 places, Bandel, Pandua, Bainchi and Barddhaman.
Kalna - The Temple City
Popularised by the sage Bhaba Pagla, the temple of Debi Bhabani holds a special puja on the last Saturday of the Bengali month of Baisakh. Close to it is Sri Gauranga Mandir. The temple complex houses Sri Chaitanya's manuscripts and personal belongings. A major landmark is the Siddheshwari Temple. It is dedicated to Debi Ambika, and it is after her that Kalna is also known as Ambika Kalna.
A major attraction is the Nava Kailash or 108 Shiv Mandirs. Built in 1809, the temples are constructed in two circles. One consists of 74 temples while the other circle has 34. The former has white marble and black stone shivlingas, while the latter has only white marble ones. Due to its ingenious planning, all the shivlingas can be seen from the centre of the temple complex.
The Krishna Chandra Mandir (A.D. 1751-1752), with its 25 steeples, is another popular landmark. Scenes from the epics are depicted on its terracotta walls. Doors remain closed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.Worthwhile mentioning are also Lalji Mandir (A.D.1739) with 25 steeples and Pratapeshvara Mandir (A.D.1849)of the rekha style.
Maijir Bari was established in 1752 A.D and has the Shyamchand Radharani Mondir. It has preserved a tradition of nearly 300 years and even today festivals like Dol Purnima, Rath yatra, Jhulan Purnima, Annakot and Rash are celebrated every year involving the people of the region irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
Projapoti Bari is also quite well known. This landmark house has a huge butterfly emblem on top. Hemanta Banerjee who inherited the house from his father also owned Sur-O-Sathi. Apurba Banerjee, brother of Hemanta Banerjee, started Kali puja in 1947.
Gopalbari Mandir consisting with 25 monuments signifies a perfect sculpture. On the walls of this Temples many Terracotta are ornamented. There is an image of copulation engraved here. A hall adjacent to the Temple for devotional dancing and musical performances was erected. It is an indication of traditional sculpture, located in Bhaduri Para.
In the year 688 A.D, Siddheswari Kali Mandir was established by Rishi-Amburish. First time the Goddess was worshipped through the ritual of earthen-pot (ghatt). The ghatt sticks to a stone winnowing tray. This auspicious image is made of a single Neem log. This image represents the Bamakali Idol. The responsibility of this Goddess was shouldered on the part of -1.Sri Taraprassana Adhikari, 2. Kaliprassana Adhikari and now, the 7th generation persionality Sri Sonatan Adhikari and Gopal Adhikari are the priest of this Temple. Long ago scarifies of human to the altar of the Temple was in vogue. But at present he-goat, ram, sugarcane, gourd etc. take the place of human. The Goddess is worshipped during the new moon in the month of Kartik.
Anantabasudev Mandir is situated at Shyamrai Para. It is about 250 years old. His Honour, Maharaj Bahktipromode Puri Goswami had renovated this Temple about 60 years back. Now Moharaj’s nephews, nieces and their husband have got the responsibility of looking after it. About 250 years back, his Highness Maharaj of Burdwan founded this Temple.
In the past Pathuria Mahal Ghat was used for the purpose of Ferry-ghat. Now it has got its identity as an auspicious bathing-ghat in the name of Late Naresh Chandra Kumar, an extraordinary personality and donor of Kalna. It is located at Pathuriyamahal, Kalna.
Though main railway station is Ambika Kalna, the northern part of the city can also be accessed through Baghnapara station. Ambika Kalna is 42 km and Baghnapara is 46 km from Bandel on the Bandel-Katwa Branch Line.There are many local trains(EMU) and a few express and passenger trains from Howrah and Sealdah. Fom Howrah, it takes around 2 hours to reach Kalna by local trains.