Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Kalat Kalimata Temple in Balochistan

  • Chinmay Prasun Biswas
  • 24 December, 2021 12:00 AM
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Kalat Kalimata Temple in Balochistan

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Among all Hindu goddesses Kali is the fiercest looking but very dear to the people of Hindu community. Jajabar (Binoy Mukherjee) wrote in his famous book Dristipat – “When two Englishmen unite they form a club, when two Japanese unite they form a secret society, when two Scotches unite they form a bank but what two Bengalees do? They do grouping and in a larger extent. At the same time they do another thing. They establish a Kalibari.” Temple of Goddess Kali is normally known as Kalibari (house of Kali). Ramprasad and Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam have composed very beautiful songs on Goddess Kali which is normally known as Shyama (another name of Goddess Kali) Sangeet.

Apart from Bangladesh and India there are many Kali temples in the world but it is not much known that a unique temple of Goddess Kali exists in Pakistan, a country which is an officially declared Islamic Republic. For more than 1,500 years a Kali temple has been standing gloriously in front of which Pakistan itself has bowed its head. It is said that fundamentalism is rampant in Pakistan. Many Hindu, Buddhist and Christian monuments, temples and prayer houses have been demolished by the fundamentalists in that country. Under such adverse circumstances the Kalateshwari Kali temple in the Kalat region of Balochistan is still standing with its head high. Even the fundamentalists did not dare to touch the temple after seeing the idol of the goddess. Here she is worshiped as Kalat Kalimata or Kalateshwari Maa Kali who is always angry, termagant and hideous. 

One of the few surviving Hindu temples in Pakistan is the temple of Hinglaj or Bibi Naini, one of the 51 Sati Peeths. However, this Kalat Kalimata temple in Balochistan remained a bit hidden. It is known that the temple was originally established at the initiative of Hindu merchants in 74 Christian era. Till today it is shining on the Urdu plaque at the temple premises. The temple was renovated in the fifties. The Pakistan Archaeological Department claims that a man named Bhojmal Bhatia came to the town of Monora in the 16th century. He established the wooden temple. Worship of goddess Kali is being held regularly since then. Sindh and Balochistan are two important provinces of Pakistan. Karachi and Quetta are the capitals of the two provinces. Many influential Hindus live here. These two provinces have various temples and Sikh places of worship. One of those is the Kalat Kali temple.

Business of the Hindu traders who established the temple was extended upto Persia. Historians claim that there were many temples of Hindu deities during that time in this part of Asia. Later, many of those temples were demolished by foreign invaders. A large number of those temples have been forcibly occupied and houses and hotels have been built thereon but this Kalat Kalimata temple in Balochistan remained untouched.

According to the archeological department of Pakistan the Kali temple of Kalat was built during the pre-Islamic era. Structure of this temple has undergone some changes in recent times. The idol of Goddess Kali is specially maintained inside the temple. Many minorities in Pakistan, particularly from Sindh province, visit this temple. Radicals have not been able to touch this Kali temple in Pakistan for 1,500 years

Khanate of Kalat, a native state, is located at the frontier region, border area of Afghanistan. This native state was established in 18 AD. After partition of India in 1947 Balochistan became a part of Pakistan due to geographical location. Historical data shows that the people of Kalat were willing to join India, not Pakistan. The local Nawabs were very influencial. People of Balochistan province were always anti-British. Naturally they were not willing to accept the rule of Pakistan. As a result Balochistan has repeatedly revolted since the formation of Pakistan in 1947. Bloody situation has been created. Strict administrative rules are always in force in that Baloch province. Kalat's political leadership held talks with the then Congress leadership in Delhi but due to geographical reasons it was not possible. It is said that that they wrote letter to Jawaharlal Nehru to be included in India but due to real reasons their request could not be honoured.

Later the Nawab dynasty of Kalat ruled over the land of Pakistan for around a decade but they finally surrendered to the Pakistan government in 1955. Kalat of Balochistan is known for these historical incidents. The Kali Mandir is associated with it as the oldest monument in its history. The Nawabs of Kalat used to maintain the local Kali temple as a symbol of secularism. The Pakistan Department of Archeology and Museums is currently in charge of protecting the temple. An important city of Kalat is Manora. The Kali temple is located in this city. It is one of the religious places of the minority community there.

It is known that fundamentalists have made many attempts to destroy this temple but they never succeeded. In 2010 fundamentalists abducted Laxmichand Garji, the temple's chief priest and two servants of mother Kalateshwari but after a few days they were released alive. This incident created sensation overnight. The local Muslims have also guarded this temple with their own chests. The idol of mother Kalateshwari inside the temple is about 20 feet high. The idol is surrounded by glass to keep it separate from exaggerated devotion of the devotees.

This temple is different in another way. Like goddess Durga, goddess Kali is 10 armed here. In ten hands she holds a mace, sword, shield, conch, sword, trident, wheel, bow, human heads and dagger. Combat dressed Kalimata is blue here, a necklace of real male skulls is hanging around her neck. Mother Kalateshwari is standing on Mahadev's chest with her huge protruding red tongue. Bulletproof glass has been placed at the enclosure in front of the main idol. Historians claim that such Ranchandi (ready to fight) idol is not found in any other temple.


The writer is a former Commissioner of Taxes