According to tradition, on June 22 every year, the Goddess is given Her annual bath. It is a highly private and sanctified event, privy to only a handful of people. The day coincides with the Snan Jatra [bathing ritual] at Jagannath Puri and Kamakhya, another important Shakti Peetha of Maa Kali. On this day the temple is closed to visitors.
There are five group of Haldars that have been traditionally taking care of the daily puja of Maa Kali. In all, there are about 840 members in the haldar families. Two-three senior members of these families get together to perform the rituals. The event begins at about 3.30 am - the time for the Brahma Muhurta and continues till 1.30 pm. The head priest Shanti Mohan recites the mantras and the haldars bathe the Goddess with the water from the Ganges, perfume, oil [Jabakusum] etc. They paint the body of the Mother with vermillion and dress Her in a Benarasi silk sari bought by members of the Kalighat Temple Committee [KTC]. Below the statue of the deity is a silver box in which the Goddess' toe is preserved. On that day it is opened and bathed. Nobody is allowed to see that.
Goat sacrifice is a common feature at the temple. "If devotees do not perform a sacrifice, the haldar has to offer a goat to the deity. The first sacrifice has to be given to Her. There's a legend that says that the Goddess visits the Dakhineshwar temple at night and returns to Kalighat in the morning.
The temple is open between 5 am and 10.30 pm on weekdays and till 11 pm on Tuesday and Sunday. It is extended till 11.30 pm on Saturday.