Kolkatta: Apart from being the Capital of West Bengal, Kolkatta is the significant Tirtha Sthaana of AdiKaali, Kali Mandir, Dakshineshwar, Belur Math and Paarashwanath Jain Mandir. Adi Kaali is the most ancient sthaana with the dilapidated and reconstructed Shakti Peetha with Pradhana Mandir and on a raised platform five on one side and five others on the other including a Shiva Linga; in a way it is an Ekadasha Linga or Eleven Rudra Mandir. This is basically a Shakti Peetha. Kolkatta’s Kaali Mandir is indeed very popular and many consider this Kaali Ghat Mandir is ‘the’ Shakti Peetha. On the banks of Ganga is the most famed Dakshineshwar where Saint Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa himself performed worship to Maha Kaali at the Kali Mandir made by Queen Raasamani, besides twelve Shiva Mandiras on raised platform. Outside the Maha Kaali Mandir are the two Samadhis of Sharada Mata the wife of the Parama Hamsa as also that of Queen Raasa mani. Also, there is a Banyan Tree under which the Parama Hamsa performed meditation constantly. The set-up of Belurmath away from Dakshineshwar although elsewhere on the banks of Ganges was the handi-work of Swami Vivenanada himself as the Head Office of Ramakrishna Mission’s series all over. The Math has a modern and tastefully constructedTemple of the Parama Hamsa with an alluring mix of oriental and western styles. Also Vivakananda’s Samadhi too is there itself overlooking the serene and Sacred Ganga. The Shri Parshvyaya nath Jain Mandir is yet another attraction of the City.
Ganga saagar (Saagara Dwip) is reachable from Kolkatta to the Diamond Harbour Railway Station of about 25 km and from there by boat on Sea or Air, covering a total kilometerage of 50 km from the City. This is the confluence point of Bay of Bengal and Ganges and hence its significance, especially as a crowd puller at the Makara Sankranti and Uttarayana Kaala with a Mela Festival for five days. During the Festival days, Purohits set up a temporary Murti of Kapila Maha Muni is worshipped as it was he who was responsible to have washed off some sixty thousand Sagara Kumars due to the curse of the Sage and that was indeed the origin of Bhagirath’s mighty tapas to Ganges to flow from Vishnu’s feet and subsequently to Maha Deva to hold it on his head by his twisted hair or Jataajuta so that the redemption of the souls of Sagara putras was secured finally! Kartika Snaanas especially on Kartika Purnima too are considered highly esteemed by the crowds at Ganga saagara who make it a point to carry large cans of the Sacred Ganga Saagara Sangama.
Nava Dwipa Dhaam: Being the Principal Tirtha of Chaitanya Prabhu’s birth place, this popular most Gaudiya Vaishnav Maha Tirtha is at Nava Dwipa Dhaam Railway Station on Eastern Howda-Barahava line distanced by 66 miles off Howda, the township being nearly a mile withmany falicities of Dharma shalas to stay. The principal Dhaam of visit is Dhameshwar Mandir of Shri Gauranga Maha Prabhu and Vishnupriya Devi. The other Mandiras are of Advaitacharya, Gaura Govinda, Shachi Mataa-Vishnupriya, Jagaayi- Madhaayi Uddhar, Gadaadhara Angana, Nandanacharya, Gupta Brindavana-Pancha Tatwa, and some 40 such Mandirs. From Nava dwipa Dhaam to the Mayapura across the other banks of Ganges has several Mandirs of some twenty Mandirs of Mrittika Murtis of Mukti Vinod Thakur and other types of Chatanya Prabhu followers with varied disciplines
Kokamukha Varaha Kshetra: Maha Varaha Purana extols the value of Kokhamukha Yatra:Once a fisherman caught a massive fish in a big Lake called Kokamukha Tirtha and a kite lifted the prey but could not hold it properly and as the fish slipped on ground, a handsome prince emerged from the fish. Almost simultaneously the fisherman’s wife brought pieces of meat to catch fish and as a kite took away the plate of meat the fisherman killed the kite with his arrows and there emerged a charming Princess claiming that she was from Chandrapur.The Pri nce and the Princess were married and as both of them had memories of their previous births recalled the strange story, thanks to the sanctity of the Kokamukha Tirtha. [The strong belief is that Kikhamukha was the confluence of Rivers of Koka and Kosi (Kousiki) running from Nepal on the Western District of Purnea in Bihar. The river is known in Nepal as Sun-Kosi (Swarna Kausiki). The ancient Kokamukhi Tirtha or Varaha Kshetra is situated on the banks of Sun Kosi now called Baraha Chhatra or the corrupted form of Varaha Kshetra] Bhagavan Varaha depicted the prominence of Kokamukhi Tirtha to Bhu Devi: An overnight stay on the banks of a River ‘Jalabindu’ performing fast and worship to Vishnu would fetch the knowledge of previous births! An overnight stay and bath at the ‘Vishnudhara’ waterfall in the Khoka region would yield the ‘Punya’ of performing thousand Agnishthomas’. Worship of Vishnu for three days and nights by fasting and Tarpans at ‘Vishnupada Sthan’ or area reserved at Krouncha Dweep.Early morning baths in a ‘Sarovar’from where Bhu Devi was pulled up by the tusks of Varaha Deva would completely wash off the sins of persons of the current birth. A five night penance near the ‘Pancha Shilas’or Five Rocks dedicated to Vishnu would reveal the path to ‘Gomed Dwipa’.There was a Thunga-Kut named mountain with four ‘Shikars’in the Koka Region and a night long stay and bath would pave the way for Kusha Dwipa. Likewise, there were several Punya Kshetras in and around the holiest Kokamukhi Tirtha; penance, prayers, river bathing and homams etc. would confer various blessings. Termination of life in the Holy Region would bestow life in ‘Parama Lokas’. He who reads or hears about the Kokamukha Tirtha also confers effective means of attaining higher lokas. Besides significance of worshipping Varaha Bhagavan’s Chaturbhuja Murti in the Kokamukha Mandir on the Dhavalagiri Shikhara at the Varaha Kshetra, especially on Kartika Purnima for three days, there is Surya Kunda where Pitru Tarpanas are performed in the prescribed manner by invoking Adi Varaha.