Dedicated to Goddess Siddheswari, one of the several forms of Goddess Kali, the Thanthania Kalibari, located on Bidhan Sarani, is considered one of the sacred sites and one of the most popular holy sites in the City of Calcutta. However, like many other old temples of the country, no recorded history of Thanthania Kalibari is available, and the date of its foundation is debated.
The plaque on the top of the temple indicates 1110 Bengali year, which comes to 1893 when converted to the Gregorian calendar, and a marble tablet installed inside the temple also confirms the date but credits Babu Shankar Gosh for the construction of the temple. However, according to Calcutta Old and New, a historical and descriptive handbook to the city compiled by Sir Harry Evan Auguste Cotton CIE, the Siddheshwari Kali idol at Thanthania was established by a holy man called Udaynarayan, and during his lifetime Babu Shankar Chandra Ghosh constructed the temple at Thanthaia in 1210 Bengali year or 1803 AD. It is interesting to note that Subodh Chandra Ghosh, a descendant of Shankar Chandra Ghosh, was a direct disciple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and later, he came to be known as Swami Subodhananda.
During those early days, the area was almost a forest and was frequented by robbers.
To warn the nearby settlers against any possible attack by the raiders, a bell was installed that was rung when one of the settlements was attacked. It is estimated that the area earned its name from imitating the typical sound created by the bell that sounds like than, than, than.
Despite its fame and popularity, the structure of the Thanthania Kalibari is rather small, modest, unimpressive, and devoid of any architectural significance, standing on the main road, just across over the pavement. The outer walls of the temple were covered with tiles in 2008, and the plaque on the top of the temple indicates the Bengali tear 1425 as the year of renovation, along with the year of foundation in Bengali year 1110. The Sanctorum is accessible by a short flight of stairs and three gates, decorated with solid silver plates engraved with images of different gods and goddesses.
Apart from the idol of the presiding deity Siddheswari Kali standing over Lord Shiva, who is believed to fulfill all the wishes, and grant success or Siddhi to the devotees, the Sanctum Sanctorum also houses a small Shivalinga, an abstract or aniconic representation of Lord Shiva, and a cut out of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Interestingly, the idol of the goddess Siddheswari Kali in the temple is made of clay, and instead of replacing it every year, it is cleaned, touched with a new coating of clay for repairing, if necessary, and repainted. However, her ornaments are made of gold.