Foundation of Dakhineshwar Temple
The famous Dakshineswar temple was founded by Rani Rashmoni. She established it following a dream she saw when she was about to start on her pilgrimage to Varanasi. After the death of her husband Rani Rashmoni took over the administration of the enormous estate. The benevolent administrator, Rani Rashmoni always remained in conflict with the stringent British laws and policies. However the common masses honored her and loved her. Dakshineswar temple, bathing ghats, a way from Subarnarekha River to Puri, Imperial Library and Hindu College(present Presidency College) are the testimonials to her benevolent nature.
The dream had moved the Rani intensely and she instructed her trusted people specially her youngest son-in law to look for plots to construct the Kali Temple. After a massive hunt for suitable plots, a 20-acred plot in the village of Dakshineswar was selected. The land resembled a hump of a tortoise. One part of this land belonged to a European Christian while the other part was a Muslim burial ground. The Rani began to construct this Hindu temple in 1847 on this very ground thus integrating different faiths. The Deed of endowment states "In order to fulfill his wish, on 6th September 1847 I purchased 54.4 bighas of land at the cost of Rs. 42 thousand and 500 from James Hasty. I made to build a puca Navaratna temple, twelve Lord Shiva temples (twelve jyotirlingam), Lord Vishnu temple and a Natmandir on the land. On 31st May 1855 I placed Lakshmi-Narayan Shila in the Navaratna temple as per the wish of my late husband and also for the welfare of his soul." The deed was executed on 31st May 1855.
Installation of Goddess Kali
The idols of the Gods and the Goddess were decided to be installed in the Dakshineshwar Temple on the auspicious day of the 'snana-yatra day.' Thus on 31st May 1855, more than 1 lakh Brahmins were invited from different parts of the occasion. However a conflicting situation cropped regarding the possession of the temple as the Rani belonged to a low caste.
Rani Rashmoni being aware of the problem asked for solutions from the Brahmins but none could solve her problem. Only Ramkumar Chattopadhayay, Sri Ramakrishna's elder brother suggested that dedicating the temple to a Brahmin could overcome the existing problem. The temple was thus dedicated in the name of Rani's Guru. Ramkumar was appointed as the head priest. He installed the idol of Kali in the new temple with a grand splendor on Thursday, 31st May, 1855. Many Intellectuals of shastras (scriptures), Brahmin pundits, and celebrated scholars arrived from distant places like Kashi, Orissa, and Navadvip.
Within a year Ramkumar passed away and left the responsibility to his younger brother, Ramakrishna who during the subsequent thirty years became the seeker of the Goddess Kali and an ardent devotee who imbedded the seed of change in the socio-religious condition of Bengal and earned immense reputation for the Dakshineswar temple.
Rani Rashmoni lived only for five years and nine months after the inauguration of the temple. She seriously fell ill in 1861. Realizing that death was approaching she decided to handover the property she purchased in Dinajput (now in Bangladesh) as a legacy for the maintenance of the temple to the temple trust. She accomplished her task on 18th February, 1861 and passed away on the subsequent day.
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