Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur
Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur
A towering rekh deul temple
The nondescript village of Debipur, located on the Howrah – Bardhman main line has a distinction of housing a towering temple.
For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the Bardhman Local (Main) from Howrah. It takes about one and half hour to reach Debipur.
A short bus or trekker ride from Debipur station takes you to Shivtala, where the towering Lakshmi Janardhan Temple (Lakshmi Janardan Temple) is located.
Before reaching the Lakshmi Kanardhan Temple the visitors will be welcomed by a unique structure at the Shivtala bus stop.
This structure consists of three connected structures built on a single raised platform. The structures on the side are aat – chal (8 sloped roof) shiva temples.
The central structure is a dol mancha. The open dol mancha, stands on a elevated platform and towers above both the temples.
The structure contains beautiful terracotta ornamentation on its front surface, including a false door way, below the dol mancha. A marble plaque on the doorway indicates that the structure was constructed in 1283 of Bengali calendar which is equivalent to 1836.
A narrow road, left of the twin shiv mandir & dol manch, leads to the Lakshmi Janardhan Temple. The temple towers to a height of 60 feet and is surrounded by a high wall.
The boundary wall with arched opening is an sorry state and can collapse any day. The gigantic temple is approached through a spectacular arched gateway, whose roof has long collapsed.
At a first glance the Lakshmi Janardhan Temple looks spectacular and its sheer height creates a towering impression.
Although the boundary wall is crumbling down the temple itself remains intact and very well maintained.
The temple is built in rekh deul style, an inspiration from the architectural style of the neighboring state of Orissa. Deul is a temple with a towering spire and rekh are horizontal markings on the spire.
The front part of the temple consists of a Bangla style do chala mandap, thus creating an unique mix of Bangla and Odiya architecture. A triple arched entrance on the mandap leads to the interiors of the temple.
But the real attraction of the Lakshmi Janardhan Temple lies on its exterior and every inch of its front surface is covered with the most intricately curved terracotta.
The most prominent terracotta panels depicts the life of Lord Krishna, starting from his childhood to the love affair with the gopis.
There are numerous other terracotta panels depicting war scenes to scenes from day to day life.
Sadly the spectacular Lakshmi Janardhan Temple is not a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) nor thus it feature in the list of protected monuments under West Bengal State Archaeology. It is a private property property of the Singha family, who have created a trust for the maintenance of the temple.
According to family records of the Singhas, the land of the temple was purchased by Norattam Singha in 1833 from the Dewan of Burdwan Banbehari Kapoor, for the construction of a temple for their family deity Lakshmi Janardhan.
A marble plaque on the temple wall indicates construction started in 1247 of Bengali calendar which is equivalent to 1840 and ended in 1251 of Bengali calendar which is equivalent to 1844.
Getting there: Howrah – Burdwan (Main) Local, one and half hours to Debipur. Debipur station to Shivtala 15 mins bus or trekker.
Places to eat: There are a few small eateries near the Debipur station serving basic breakfast and lunch.