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Deulghata, Crumbling Temples of a village in Purulia

Deulghata

Crumbling Temples of a village in Purulia

See also: Wiki Explores Purulia

Early morning of 30 September 2002 the villagers of Deulghata, in Purulia District, were woken up by a thundering sound. They came out of their houses to found that the largest of the three towering brick temples of their village have collapsed.

Deulghata 2

First Brick Temple of Deulghata, Purulia District

But this was not the first time that a temple in Purulia have crumbled to dust. Historical records suggest that during the 10th – 13th century a flourishing Jain settlement flourished in the western part of West Bengal covering the present districts of Purulia, Bankura and the state of Jhargram. During this period they have built numerous brick and stone temples, following the Oriya Duel style architecture.

Deulghata 1

Second Brick Temple of Deulghata, Purulia

Purulia had the largest concentration of these Jain Temples although many of them have crumbled to dust but a hand full have survived the test of time and still towers above the rural landscape of Purulia district. These towering temples, built of both brick and stone, can still be seen in the villages of Para, Pakbira, Deulghata, Deuli and Banda.

Deulghata 4

Decorative Brick Works, Deulghata, Purulia

Deulghata located about 30 km from Purulia Town (see map) houses two of the finest surviving brick temples of Purulia District.

Delghata is located on the banks of the Kosai River and the entire area is littered with stone and bricks structural elements.

This indicates that the temple that collapsed on 30 September 2002 was not the only  temple to collapse in Deulghata.

Sadly the others, including stone temples, have collapsed long before and there are no recorded evidence of their existence.  Joseph David Beglar, an Armenian-Indian engineer, archaeologist and photographer, who explored Manbhum region in 1870s reported the existence of only three temples in Deulghata.

Deulghata 5

A Collage of Decorative Brick Works, Deulghata, Purulia

Today their are only two and both follow the Oriya Rekh Deul style of architecture, with elaborate brick work. The temples probably date back to the 11th century. Top portions of both the temples have long collapsed so the exact can no longer be determined.

Deulghata 6

A statue of four handed female deity, Deulghata, Purulia

The temple near  the Kosai River is in a better condition and has a present height of about 45 feet. The one away from the river is in a more rundown state and presently towers to about 30 feet.

Deulghata 7

A stone statue of Chandi, Deulghata

In between the two stood the third temple larger and more preserved of the two, but it has collapsed in recent times and the out line of the base and a shiva lingam (probably placed later) is all that remains of the towering structure.

The two surviving temples have similar structures and are built by thin bricks of less than 2 inches in thickness.

Like the other temples of Purulia the three walls apart from the gate have shallow depressions known as Kulingis, but the statues in the kulingis have long vanished. But the star attractions of the crumbling brick temples is the elaborate and intricate brick works. Sadly most of it is lost but the traces of what remains can give us an idea of the magnificent brick works the adorned the walls of the temples.

Deulghata 8

Stone statue of Durga in Mahisasuramardini style, Deulghata, Purulia

Apart from structural fragments Purulia has been littered with ancient stone statues consisting of Jain Tirthankaras and Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Deulghata is no exception and the local residences have removed the statues into a newly built flat roof structure.

Deulghata 3

Base of the collapsed temple with the first temple in background, Deulghata

The statues includes a several Shiva Lingams, a four handed statue of a four handed lady flanked by Ganesh and Saraswati, a statue of a fighting lady locally called Ronochandi. But the statue that stands out is that of Durga in Mahishasuramardini style (Also see: Compilation of Mahisasuramardini in Bengal Terracotta).

So don’t miss the amazing temples of Deulghata of Purulia, but don’t be late, what ever is left can soon crumble into dust.

Note:

  • This tour was part of Wiki Explores Purulia and was funded by Wikipedia West Bengal User Group

 

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