Home > Bengal History, Bengal Terracotta Architecture, General, Travelogue > Amadpur, A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

Amadpur, A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

Amadpur, Memari, Bardhman

A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

Villages dotted with terracotta temples is nothing uncommon in the Gangatic Bengal region, but Amadpur, near Memari, in Bardhaman District, offers a unique combination of terracotta temples along with a heritage home stay in a renovated zamindar mansion.

Temple Complex with Dol Mancha, in front of Baithakkhana Amadpur, Amadpur, Memaari

Temple Complex with Dol Mancha, in front of Baithakkhana Amadpur, Amadpur, Memaari

At first glance Amadpur, located about 8 km north of Memari on Howrah – Bardhman main line, appears to be a typical Bengal village, but a closer inspection revels several mansions, most of which are in dilapidated conditions.

Entrance of Baithakkhana Amadpur (right) with terracotta Temples

Entrance of Baithakkhana Amadpur (right) with terracotta Temples

These mansions belongs to the Chaudhuris, Mukherjees, Naths, Nandis and many other families, most of whom have left Amadpur for greener pastures, leaving their ancestral mansions to crumble to dust.

Thankfully the Chaudhuris have been an exception. The Chaudhuris, who probably settled in Amadpur in the late 1600s have never abandoned their family home.

The Chaudhuri family traces its lineage to one Sribatsa Sen Sharma from late 11th or early 12th century.

According to records, it was Krishna Ram Sen Sharma who was given the title of Chaudhuri by the Mughals under whom Bengal was a Subah or district.

Although the Chaudhuri family is scattered all over the world but their property in Amadpur, consisting of a couple of Mansions, several temples and a Durga Dalan is well maintained.

Interiors of Baithakkhana Amadpur, the lobby and three Bed rooms

Interiors of Baithakkhana Amadpur, the lobby and three Bed rooms

The credit goes to Shiladitya Chaudhuri, who has recently taken the initiative of converting one of his mansions into a heritage homestay. The homestay consists of there double bed rooms and a four bed room and is christened Baithkkhana Amadpur.

Anandamayee Temple, Amadpur

Anandamayee Temple, Amadpur

The rooms contains four poster bed and contains mostly antique furniture, however some rooms contain a steel almirah, which looks a bit out of place, but there are no TVs in the room.

There are no ACs and attached toilets don’t have a geyser, however buckets of hot water are available, on request.

The Baithkkhana Amadpur is located next to the temple complex housing four shiva temples, along with a towering Dol Mancha.

Three of the four temples follow the typical aat chala plan, while the fourth one is octagonal. All these temples, along with the dol mancha, have terracotta facades with vegetal decoration.

Radha Madhav Temple, Amadpur

Radha Madhav Temple, Amadpur

On the occasion of Dol (Holi), the family deities of Radha-Madhav is brought from the nearby temple and placed on the elevated Dol Mancha for public display.

Apart from Dol, Rathyatra, Kali Puja and Durga Puja are also celebrated with pomp and show in Amaddpur.

Beyond the temple complex is a huge lake and the Baithkkhana Amadpur overlooks the lake and the mango orchard, which lies beyond it.

Amadpur is best explored on foot and Baithkkhana Amadpur provides local guides who takes visitors along the winding roads. They narrate an amazing tale with an interesting mix of history and folklore.

Village Scenes, Amadpur Heritage Walk, Amadpur, Memari, Bardhaman

Village Scenes, Amadpur Heritage Walk, Amadpur, Memari, Bardhaman

The first stop of the Amadpur Heritage Walk is the Anandamayee Temple. This is newly constructed temple belonging to the Chaudhuri family. Next stop is the Radha Madhav Temple also belonging to the Chaudhuri family and houses their family deity.

Ancient Banyan Tree, Narmadeshwar Ashram, Amadpur, Memari, Bardhaman

Ancient Banyan Tree, Narmadeshwar Ashram, Amadpur, Memari, Bardhaman

Built in 1739 this beautiful triple-arched aat-chala temple is today obscured by a modern mandapa and large portions of its rich intricate terracotta is no longer visible. However the panels in the pillar and base are still well preserved.

Narmadeshwar Shivalingam, Amadpur

Narmadeshwar Shivalingam, Amadpur

After a brief stop over at the temples it is time to take the village road. The road meanders through the mango orchard leading to the opposite side off the lake with a grand view of the Baithkkhana Amadpur. 

The road continues through agricultural fields and past several ponds towards the Narmadeshwar Ashram.

The Narmadeshwar Ashram is centered round a huge banyan tree, which the locals believe is over thousand years old. Although there are doubts about the authenticity of their claim but the tree with its innumerable hanging roots really look ancient.

Bagh Bari, Amadpur

Bagh Bari, Amadpur

At the base of the tree is the shiv lingam of Narmaadeshwaar. The lingam is special as it contains a ribbon like projection near its base. There are several shrines scattered round the tree. The locals tie brick pieces on the hanging roots on the belief that their wishes would come true.

Bidding farewell to Narmadeshwar Ashram head towards the settlement of Amadpur, which house several ruined mansions and among them the Bagh Bari definitely stands out.

The name has derived from the pair of lions of British styled coat of arms, which crowns the dilapidated mansions even to this day. According to the villagers, the Bagh Bari (Tiger Mansion) belonged to one Mukherjee family, but who they were nobody remembers. Today the huge mansion is largely encroached upon.

Ruined Mansions and Gateways of Amadpur

Ruined Mansions and Gateways of Amadpur

But the Bgah Bari is no exception to Amadpur, there are several ruined mansions, temples and gateways. It creates an amazing mix with the modern buildings and temples of Amadpur.

Terracotta Temples of Amadpur. L: Banerjee C: Nath R: Nandi Family Temples

Terracotta Temples of Amadpur. L: Banerjee C: Nath R: Nandi Family Temples

Next stop is the Shiva Temple of the Nath Family, it stands in an open ground next to the Nath family residence. This temple, built in the late 18th century, also has a triple-arched entrance porch and a rich terracotta facade.

 A collage of Terracotta Panels from Nandi Family Temple, Amadpur

A collage of Terracotta Panels from Nandi Family Temple, Amadpur

Approached by a triple arched entrance the temple contains elaborate terracotta ornamentation of its front surface. The arch panels mainly consists of floral motifs  but the base, wall and corner panels contains several figurative terracotta panels.

 Terracotta Panels from Nandi Family Temple, Amadpur

Terracotta Panels from Nandi Family Temple, Amadpur

The terracotta odyssey of Amadpur continues past the ruined Panchnantala Temple and on wards to the small Shiva temple of Nandi Family. This is a small aat – chla temple with a single arched entrance and is located next to the new temple of Boro Kali Bari.

 Boro Kali Bari, Amadpur

Boro Kali Bari, Amadpur

Although small but totally in ruins. but the base panels of this tiny  temple has meticulously survived. The panels contain some elaborate war scenes along with boats and ocean going scenes.

The last terracotta temple of the Amadpur Heritage Walk is the Temple of Banerjee Family.

Built in 1730 the aat – chala temple has a triple arched entrance porch and its terracotta facade has rich and very artistic vegetal and figural decoration.

Apart from ancient ruined terracotta temple Amadpur also houses several modern temples. These kali temples are flat roofed and are devoid of any ornamentation. Kali Puja is the largest festival in Amadpur and Baithkkhana Amadpur can well be your host during the Kali Puja of Amadpur.

Chaudhuri Family Nat Mandir, Amadpur

Chaudhuri Family Nat Mandir, Amadpur

The Chaudhuri family Nat Mandir was the last stop of the Amadpur Heritage Walk. The Nat Mandir is adjacent to the Baithkkhana Amadpur and this is where the Durga Puja of the Chaudhuris are held.

The Chaudhuris, who are now scattered all over the world, always try to visit their ancestral home during the festive time.

However, Durga Puja at the Chaudhuri home differs slightly from the norm, as it is held over 19 days and not the usual five

The Durga Puja is still performed in the traditional style, except for the animal sacrifice, which has long been stopped. The first ever Amadpur Heritage Walk ended with a grand traditional Bengali lunch at the Baithkkhana Amadpur.

Necessary Information:

Getting There: Memari on the Howrah – Bardhaman main line is the nearest railhead. Totos aare available from the Memari Station, takes about 10 mins. Also Amadpur can be reached by car via NH19 90km in 2 1/2 hours

Places to Stay: Although Amadpur can be covered in a day tour but one will miss out on the royal experience of Baithkkhana Amadpur. So a night stay in Amadpur is an absolute necessity. Room rent starts from Rs2500 and includes breakfast. Lunch and dinner are also served at an extra cost.

Getting Around: Local guides can be arranged for the Amadpur Heritage Walk

Excursions: Ambika Kalna (108 Shiva Temple & Rajbari Complex), Guptipara, Debipur and Sat Deul can be visited by car.

Booking: Roopkatha Tours & Travels 

134 B, S.P. Mukherjee Road (Beside Kalighat Metro Station)
Kolkata-700 026
Phone: 033 24635553/ 40605152
Mobile: 98302 58828/ 9432649912
E-mail: roopkathatours@gmail.com

Amadpur Heritage Walk. Clockwise from top left: Shiladitya Chaudhuri briefing the participants, along village trail, a brief rest and finally the much awaited lunch

Amadpur Heritage Walk. Clockwise from top left: Shiladitya Chaudhuri briefing the participants, along village trail, a brief rest and finally the much awaited lunch

Special Thanks:

  • Shiladitya Chaudhuri the brain behind Baithkkhana Amadpur  for his warm hospitality
  • Samrat Chaudhuri (not related to the Chaudhuris of Amadpur) for his initiative in developing Baithkkhana Amadpur
  • Mans Roy of Roopkatha Tours & Travels for all the necessary arrangements for the Amadpur Tour
  • All the participants of the first ever Amadpur Heritage Walk

References:

  • Aishee (Amadpur) a fantastic account on the Terracotta Temples of Amadpur
  • Amazing Amadpur by Uttara Gangopadhyay (fellow participant of Amadpur Heritage Walk) Outlook Travellers
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  1. May 19, 2017 at 4:22 AM

    Great article Rangan. Informative, interesting, and excellent photographs as usual. It is great to see that the Amadpur temples are still in a fairly good state of preservation, and it is good to know that there is now a heritage homestay for visitors to this beautiful village. Thanks to Mr Chaudhuri for his initiative in setting up the homestay and to Rangan for writing about it.

    • May 19, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      Thank you Amit, your contributions on documenting the temples of Amadpur wiil always be remembered. Next tie when you are in Kolkata, please do try to visit Amadpur for the amazing heritage homestay in a terracotta village.

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