Home > Bengal History, Bengal Terracotta Architecture, Day Trips from Calcutta (Kolkata), General > Ambika Kalna, Terracotta Temple Town of West Bengal

Ambika Kalna, Terracotta Temple Town of West Bengal

Ambika Kalna

Terracotta Temple Town of West Bengal

Located on the west bank of the Bhagirathi River, Ambika Kalna (popularly known as Kalna) once flourished as a prosperous port town.

108 Pano 1c

Nava Kailash (108 Shiva Temple), Ambika Kalna

It reached it’s pinnacle of glory during the late 18th century under the patronage of the Maharajas of Bardhaman, who built several magnificent temples with intricate terracotta ornamentation.

Tourist Map of Ambika Kalna

Tourist Map of Ambika Kalna (Source: Google Map) (Click to enlarge)

The maritime trade has long stopped and Kalna has lost the status of a flourishing port city, but many of the temples have survived the test of time and stands to this day. The temples still reminds one of Kalna’s glorious past.

Siddheshwari Temple 1

Siddheshwari Kali Temple, Ambika Kalna

Apart from the temples Kalna has several religious structures dedicated to Sree Chaitanya one of the greatest social reformers of Bengal. Located just 82km from Calcutta, Kalna can be an ideal pilgrimage on any Sunday and double up as a trip back in time and back into the pages of history.

Ananta Basudeb

Ananta Basudev Temple

Siddheshwari Temple (Google map location): The jora bangla styled Siddheshwari Temple is housed inside a small temple complex along with 3 other aat chala shiva temples.

The kali idol of the temple is known as Ambika Siddheswari Kali and is said to have been built from a single branch of a neem tree.

An inscription on Siddheshwari Kali Temple mention that the temple was constructed by Chitrasen Rai, the then King of Bardhaman in 1740.

But historian opine that the temple was originally constructed in 1663 and it was renovated by the Bardhman King in 1740.

In spite of the debate Siddheshwari Kali Temple is the oldest and the holiest temple of Ambika Kalna.

Ananta Basudev Temple (Google map location): Ananta Basudev Temple lies just north of the Siddheshwari Kali Temple and on the other side of the road. It is a huge aat chala temple, which was once covered with intricate terracotta. Sadly that has been lost due to unscientific restoration work.

Gopalbari 2

Gopalbari Temple

The temple was constructed by Trilokchand Rai, nephew of Chitrasen Rai, and was originally known as Baikunthanath’s Temple.

The temple houses a four feet black stone idol of Basudev and hence the name Ananta Basudev.

Gopalbari Temple (Google map location): Little bit south – east of the Siddeshwari Temple lies the 25 pinnacled Goplabari Temple.

It is worth mentioning that there are only five 25 pinnacled temples in West Bengal and Ambika Kalna houses three of them. Built in 1766 and has intricate terracotta panels and most of it have survived to this day.

Jagannath Pano 1

Panoramic view of the Jagannath Bari Temple, Ambika Kalna

Jagannath Bari Temple (Google map location): The twin temples of Jagannath Bari in Ambika Kalna are located on the banks of the Hooghly River. Built in 1753 by two queens of King Chitrasen –Chandakumari Devi and Indukumari Devi , these two temples are in a dilapidated condition.

Although in crumbling conditions the terraoctta works in both the aat chala temple have survived and can be seen to this day. Three is also a smaller aat chala structure near the temple.

Rajbari 1

Panoramic view of Ambika Kalna Rajbari Complex

Rajbari Complex (Google map location): Located Just opposite the Naba Kailash Complex (108 Shiva Temple) is the Rajbari Complex (or Palace Complex) consisting of a series of temples and other structures built over a period of more than a hundred years.

108 (2)

Portion of 108 Shiva Temple

It contains the deul styled Pratapeswar Temple, the two 25 pinnacled temples Lalji Temple and Krishna Chandraji Temple and several other structures including a Ras Mancha.

Both Lalji Temple and Krishna Chandraji Temple have some terracotta along with traces of stucco ornamentation. But the terracotta ornamentation of the Pratapeswar temple stands out of the rest. (more on Ambika Kalna Rajbari Complex)

Naba Kailash Complex (108 Shiva Temple) (Google map location): Built in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja Tej Chandra Bahadur the complex contains 108 aat – chala temples arranged in two concentric circles separated by a well-maintained lawn with beautiful flowerbeds. The outer circle consists of 74 temples consisting of alternate black & white lingas while the 34 temples of the inner circle have only white lingas. (more on 108 Shiva Temples of Ambika Kalna)

108 Pano 1a

Panoramic view of the inner circle of 108 Siva Temple of Ambika Kalna

There are two Pancharatna Temple just outside the entrance of Kalna Rajbari premises. The one located on the eastern side of Kalna Rajbari is known as Ratneshwar and the other located on the western side of 108 temple premises is known as Jaleshwar.

Travel Tips:
Getting there: Ambika Kalna is a railway station on Bandel – Katwa line and is well connected with Howrah and Sealdah.
Getting around: Totos are available. It takes 2 ½ to 3 hours for the entire trip. Charges are about Rs250 – 300 per toto, but it is subject to heavy bargain.
Places to eat: The temples & pilgrimages of Kalna can be covered in a day. There are several places to eat. Hotel Priyadarshini, near the bus stand offers good food at reasonable prices.

  1. January 2, 2020 at 7:26 PM

    Another wonderfully informative post with really good photos!!

  2. January 31, 2020 at 6:07 PM

    a good way of telling about this place, liked the article, thanks for posting.

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