Home > Bengal History, Bengal Terracotta Architecture, General > Terracotta Temples of Surul, Shantiniketan, Birbhum

Terracotta Temples of Surul, Shantiniketan, Birbhum

Terracotta Temples of Surul

Shantiniketan, Birbhum, West Bengal

Shantiniketan has always been in the top of the list for the travel loving Bengalis. But apart from the the Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore) related heritage, Shantinekatan also acts as a base for several short excursions showcasing some unknown and neglected heritage of Bengal.

Sarkarl Rajbari (Mansion), Surul, Shantiniketan, Birbhum

Sarkarl Rajbari (Mansion), Surul, Shantiniketan, Birbhum

Surul, located 5 km from the Bolpur Station in Shantiniketan, is probably the nearest heritage excursion spot from Shantinekatan.

Twin Shiva Temples, Surul

Twin Shiva Temples, Surul

West Bengal is known for its elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The districts of Bankura, Hooghly and Burdwan are well known for their terracotta temples, but a few villages in Birbhum does have fantastic terracotta temples.

Surual, in the vicinity of Shantinekatan, houses some of the best terracotta temples of Birbhum.

With lack of public transport Surul is best reached by car from Shantiniketa or Prantik or Bolpur Station.

After reaching Surul, head straight for the Sarkar Rajbari (Mansion). Sarkar Rajbari was built by Srinivas Sarkar, who made a fortune by selling ship sails for ships sailing from the neighboring river port of Illambazar.

Terracotta Panels Lakshmi - Janardhan Temple (L: Court of Rama, M: Rmama Ravana War, R: Court of Ravana)

Terracotta Panels Lakshmi – Janardhan Temple (L: Court of Rama, M: Rmama Ravana War, R: Court of Ravana)

Built in 1750s the Sarkar Rajbari of Surul is in excellent condition and still the venue for the 250 years old Durga Puja.

Temples at Paschimpara, Surul, Birbhum

Temples at Paschimpara, Surul, Birbhum

Just next to the huge Sarkar Rajbari is a small temple complex of the Sarkars. The complex houses a pancha – ratna (five pinnacled) Lakshmi – Janardhan Temple. Although dilapidated the temple houses some intricate as well as some unique terracotta panels.

The temple is approached by a triple arched entrance and the central arch panel depicts a war scene of Rama and Ravana from the the epic Ramayana. The two side arch panels depicts the court of Rama and Ravana.

The complex also a twin Shiva Temples of rekh deul style. The temples have recently been given a fresh coat of paints and are restored with the old terracotta panels still intact.

Surul Terracotta

Surul Terracotta

The nearby Pashimpara in Surul also houses two more temples. One follows the traditional aat – chala style of architecture while the other is in rekh – deul style. Both contains terracotta but the terracotta panels of the rekh – deul temple definitely stands apart.

Just above the arch panel is a elaborate and unique panel showing Lord Shiva playing the musical instrument of tanpura.

Necessary Information:

  • Shantiniketan (Bolpur) is well connected from Kolkata by road and rail.
  • Surul has no place to stay, so it is best visited from Shantinekatan (Bolpur).

  1. indrani
    April 10, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I saw these temples last year. Glad to see them again here.

    • September 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Thanks Indrani, I don’t know why the thousands of Bengali’s visiting Shantiniketan give these temples a miss!!!!

  2. April 11, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    Have visited this one… great..

    • September 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Nice to know that you have visited the beautiful temples of Surul

  3. April 20, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Always wished to visit the terracota temples of Bengal. Thanks for sharing.

    • September 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Thanks Ranjana for the comments, Bengal has innumerable number of temples most unknown and remotely located.

      It is a pity that beautiful temples are never promoted.

  4. Rajen Sood
    September 18, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Visited these temples after reading your blog. Beautiful place with no backing from department of tourism.
    Your blog gives wonderful information about the place.
    Thanks and best wishes,
    Rajen Sood

    • September 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Thanks Mr. Sood, yes the place is not at all promated. Only a small percentage of tourist visiting Shantiniketan, makes it to the terracotta temples of Surul.

      Do keep up the good work of promoting Bengal Heritage.

  5. Sukannya
    November 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Please inform me about terracotta temple of birbhum

    • November 2, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Sukanya I have not covered much of Birbhum District. But there are good terracotta temples in Ilambazar, Suri and Hetampur.

    • Amitabha Karmakar
      July 2, 2016 at 7:54 PM

      So many terracotta temple at Birbhum e.g. at Suri,Rajnagar, Ganpur, Hetampur, Surul, Illambazar, Uchkaran, Ghurisa, Joydev-Kenduli, Sirsha. if u want may contact on 9434187800

  6. Chandan Nandy
    November 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Hi Rangan, I am glad you have written about the Surul Rajbari which i visited last week. I was awestruck by the remains of the building complex. I am interested in researching the Surul Rajbari and would appreciate if you can provide me leads or people or even archives which might have some documents dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, that could shed light on the social, cultural and economic condition of the founders of the Rajbari. Thanks.

    • November 11, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      Dear Chandan nice to know about you research initiative of the Surul Rajbari. I personally don’t have any contact, but the Surul Rajbari has a FB page, you can contact them.

      Please keep me updated about your research progress.

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