Home > Bengal Terracotta Architecture, General, Weekend Tour from Kolkata (Calcutta) > Sribati ~ West Bengal’s Hidden Terracotta Gem

Sribati ~ West Bengal’s Hidden Terracotta Gem

Sribati, Katwa, Burdwan

West Bengal’s Hidden Terracotta Gem

Once upon a time a family from far of Gujrat migrated the entire length of the country to settle near the present day town of Katwa in Burdwan district. Belonging to the trader class they soon exhaled in trade & commerce.

Sribati Temple Complex (Left: Bishwashwar, Centre: Bholanath Right: Chandaneshwar)

Sribati Temple Complex (Left: Bishwashwar, Centre: Bholanath Right: Chandaneshwar)

Their huge barges sailed up and down the Hooghly and it’s tributaries and distributaries carrying merchandise from far off lands. In a very short span of time the Chandra family earned enough to build themselves a huge mansion, and several temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Sribati Terracotta

Sribati Terracotta

But the good old days of the Chandra family didn’t last long. With the river changing courses frequently, the river trade ceased to exist and the Chandra family’s fortunes fell faster than it grew. The mansion and the temples are still there reminding one of the glorious days of river trade of Bengal. Sadly the mansion is all in ruins and some of the temples have reconstructed and they neither resemble the beauty and grace of its original counterpart. Strangely three of the temples have survived the test of time and neglect. The temple with its richly curved terracotta panels reminds on of the glorious days of Bengal architecture and well be your next weekend gate way.

For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the Kamrup Express to Katwa. You will be in Katwa by late evening and check in one of the numerous hotels in station area. Next morning, after a heavy breakfast, head for the bus terminus. The bus terminus is located next to the railway station. Take a bus to Singhi More (Crossing) and from there swap buses to head for Sribati. The combined journey takes little less than an hour and do tell the conductor to drop you at the desired destination.

Ships on Sribati Terracotta

Ships on Sribati Terracotta

As you get down from the bus you will find yourself in the midst of agricultural fields with a narrow dirt road leading towards the village of Sribati. The road initially passes through the lush green paddy fields and then meanders into the village, going past mud houses, the reconstructed temples, the Chandra’s mansion and finally to the temple complex housing the terracotta wonders.

The complex consists of three Shiv temples. The center one is a pancha – ratna temple (five spires, with one each at the four corners and one at the center), it is flanked on both side by two Deul (with tall towering spire) temples. The right hand one stands on an octagonal base and the left consists of a square base. The central temple houses the white Shivalinga of Bholanath. The octagonal and the square temple respectively contain the black Shivalingas of Chandaneshwar and Bishwashwar respectively.

Sribati Terracotta

Sribati Terracotta

The star attraction lies on the outer walls of these two hundred year old temples. Every square inch of the walls of the temple are intricately curved with terracotta panels, depicting scenes of barges floating down the river, European soldiers, ladies with swords peeping out of windows, musicians playing musical instruments and many more scenes from day to day life.

Sadly there is no blue board declaring it as a “Monument of National Importance.” But the villagers are extremely friendly and you can well get some one from the Chandra family who will be glad enough to explain the history of the temples and their family.

Before you head home don’t forget to pay a visit to the Durga Dalan of the Chandras, where Durga Puja is still being held.

Durga, Sribati Terracotta

Durga, Sribati Terracotta

Necessary Information:

Getting There: Kamrup Express. Howrah (d17:35) Katwa (a20:53). Fare Rs60. Katwa – Kurchi More (Bus, Time 45 minutes, Fare Rs6). Kurchi More – Sribati (Bus, Time 15 minutes, Fare Rs3).

Places to stay & eat: The station and bus stand area in Katwa has several hotels with basic facilities.

Getting Back: There are no express trains from Katwa in the afternoon. So the only option is to take a local. Katwa. Howrah Local. Katwa (d15:00) Howrah(a19:30). Katwa Sealdah Local. Katwa (d15:55) Sealdah (a20:20). Fare Rs25.

Note: Rates discussed here are as on April 2010.

  1. April 10, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Thankyou for the article. So the Chandras are therefore of gujrati origin. You have written that they have come here once upon a time — any idea as to when that was?

    • April 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      Thanks Sukanya. I am not sure of their date of arrival. In fact the main source of Chandra family history is from oral sources collected from the present family members.

  2. April 10, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    good documentation…however small corrections are to be made ” As we get down from the bus you will “…

    • April 19, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Thanks Sourabh for pointing the typo, I have rectified it.

      Its really a pleasure to have readers like you.

  3. April 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Nice place . Enjoyed watching .

    Travel India

    • April 19, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      Thanks Vishal you too have a wonderful blog.

  4. Cheenangshuk
    July 10, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    well drafted…this is an ancestral village for me…i am also aware of the chandra family history( a lil bit) …it may be a good research subject …hope you would continue…

    • July 10, 2015 at 6:43 PM

      Dear Cheenangshu, thanks for the comment. West Bengal is full of such hidden gems like Sribati, we need to promote them. I hope enthusiastic locals like you could take the initiative.

  5. October 23, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    How absolutely stunning. Loved this post

    • October 23, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Dear Swetlana, Bengal is full of hidden surprises!!!

  6. Tupur Banerjee
    October 24, 2015 at 1:52 AM

    the Chandras came to Bengal and settled first in Hooghly in the 16th century, and later moved to sribati in around 17th century.

    • October 24, 2015 at 4:21 PM

      Thank you Tupur Banerjee for the info. Can you please mention the exact location in Hooghly and did they built any temples out there???

  7. Santanu dutta
    August 17, 2017 at 11:53 PM

    Mr. Rangan Dutta… Are you belong to this chandra family. Where from you have collected these informations. Its just a great urge for me to know.
    Actually I belong to this family.
    Plrse let me know who you are.

    • September 8, 2017 at 8:34 AM

      Dear Santanu, I don’t belong to the Chandra family. I have travelled to Sribati shoot the photos talked to locals for the info. I also refereed to several books to write the blog post.

      Nice to know that you are from the Chandra family, it would be nice if you can provide me with some more info.

      • Satyanarayan Das
        October 7, 2018 at 10:51 AM

        Research project of Chandra family and Sribati Temple complex along with physiographical settings at that time .

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