In the heart of Kolkata’s Tangra area — India’s own Chinatown — stands this unique symbol of cross-cultural assimilation. The `Chinese Kali Temple’ (so the marble plaque says) is not only a bridge between Chinese and Indian cultures, but also strengthens bonds within the Chinese community.

For most of the year, the ethnic Chinese and their Hindu neighbours rarely mingle. But on Kali Puja, most Chinese residents of Tangra take the day off and get together in front of the temple. On the average weekday, you would catch the Chinese residents pause, take off their shoes, and pray for a moment in front of the idol.

There is nothing different about the Kali idol. But one look at the `bhog’ – noodles, chopsuey, rice-and-vegetables dishes – and you realize this isn’t just any Kali temple.