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Posts Tagged ‘Bengal Temple Style’

Ichai Ghosher Deul, a towering temple on the banks of River Ajay

February 10, 2021 Leave a comment

Ichai Ghosher Deul

A towering temple on the banks of River Ajay

Also see: Weekend family trip to Bhalki Machan

The Covid 19 outbreak have changed the way we live and after spending over 10 months confined at home we finally decided to hit the road. The visit to the Ichai Ghosher Deul was part of a weekend trip to Bhalki Machan, which was known for its crumbling tower like structure.

Ichai Ghosher Deul

Ichai Ghosher Deul

According to local folklore the tower like structure in Bhalki Machan served as hunting platform, which was used by the local landlords to hunt bear. But historians have a different story and historical records confirm the tower was actually a Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) Tower, used for surveying and mapping the country almost 200 years ago.

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Bardhaman 108 Shiva Temple, Nababhat

January 27, 2021 4 comments

108 Shiva Temple of Bardhaman

An unique temple complex at Bardhaman Town

Also see: Weekend family trip to Bhalki Machan

Aat Chala (four sloped roofs) Shiva Temples are an integral part of Bengal landscape. They often appear in clusters 2 to 108. West Bengal houses two such clusters of 108 Shiva Temples.

108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman

108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman

The temple town of Ambika Kalna, in Purba Bardhman houses a spectacular complex of 108 Shiva Temple Complex. The only other 108 Shiva Temple complex is also located in Purba Bardhaman district and is housed in Bardhaman Town.

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Amadpur, A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

May 18, 2017 7 comments

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.

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Jatar Deul and finally the Horse Race

May 3, 2017 6 comments

Horse Race at Jatar Deul

Kankandighi, Raidighi, 24 Parganas (South)

Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race

It was the second day of the Bengali new year 1420 (16 April 2011), my friend Amitabha Gupta and I headed for the Jatar Deul to witness the horse race. After a 4 + hour journey via train, auto and motor van we finally made it to Jatar Deul only to be informed that the horse race has been postponed to 25 Baikash (9 May) because of Elections.

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Amitabha and I decided to retrace out steps back to Jatar Deul for the illusive horse race. On 9thMay we repeated our 5 hours long journey only to be informed that the race was called off due to unofficial reasons. (Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race)

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Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

August 28, 2016 2 comments

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

A towering rekh deul temple

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

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 Janardhan 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.

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Terracotta Temples of Surul, Shantiniketan, Birbhum

April 10, 2014 19 comments

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.

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Sukharia ~ Restoration of Harsundari and Nistarini Temple

December 25, 2013 9 comments

Sukharia, Somra Bazar, Hooghly

Restoration of Harsudari and Nistarini Kali Temple

See also: My blog post Mitra Mustafi Trilogy

Harasundari Temple, Sukharia Old (L) and New (N)

Harasundari Temple, Sukharia Old (L) and New (N)

The quint little village of Sukharia, located next to the Somra Bazar station, on the Bandel – Katwa rail line houses an amazing collection of temples  and huge mansions.

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Bali Dewanganj ~ Terracotta at its best

November 16, 2011 6 comments

The Bengal temple architecture is classified under two broad heads namely ~ Chala (sloped roof) and Ratna (Pinnacle) style. Rarely the two styles combine in a single temple forming a mixed form of architecture. The Durga Temple of Bali – Dewanganj is probably the best example of such mixed temple architecture in the whole of West Bengal.

Left: Jora Bangla, Centre: Naba Ratna, Right: Jora Bangla + Naba Ratna

Left: Jora Bangla, Centre: Naba Ratna, Right: Jora Bangla + Naba Ratna

The lower part of Durga Temple follows the Chala style, in the form of Jora – Bangla style, consisting of two adjoining thatched roof structures. In the middle of the two thatched roof structures stand a Naba – Ratna (nine pinnacled) structure, thus combining the two forms of Bengal temple architecture.

Ruined Temples of Bali Dewanganj

Ruined Temples of Bali Dewanganj

Bali – Dewanganj is a non – descriptive village in the Arambagh sub – division of the Hooghly district. It is well connected by road from both Arambagh and Tarakeshwar. For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the morning Tarakeshwar Local followed by a bus to Bali – Dewangunj. Get down at Haldar Para, from where a winding dirt roads leads to Rout Para, housing the Durga Temple along with a host of other temples.

Durga Temple, Bali Dewangan

Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Rout Para houses five temples out of which three are in crumbling stage. Large portions of these temples have already collapsed and all that remains are on the verge of collapsing. Mangal Chandi Temple which lies on the left hand side of the road is said to contain thirteen pinnacles but none of them have survived the test of time. Only one of the stories of this three storied structure stands to this day. Nothing much is known about the structural details of the other two ruined temples, but somehow a pinnacle of each of the two temples stands to this day. The fourth temple in the complex is a small Shiv temple, probably constructed at a much later date and cannot be considered as a historical structure.

But the star attraction of the temple complex is the Durga Mandir, which has remained remarkably intact for over 200 years. Maintained by the West Bengal State Archeology Department, the temple is approached by a three arched entrance way and with elaborate terracotta carvings on its front face. Above the arches, in the centre, lies the huge terracotta panel of Durga. This is probably the largest terracotta panel in the whole of West Bengal. It is flanked on the left by slightly smaller panels of Laxshmi & Ganesh and on the right by Sarswati & Kartik. Stucco work, in the form of temple, surrounds each of the five panels giving them a unique look. There are several other smaller terracotta panels all over the front surface of the temple.

Durga Panel, Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Durga Panel, Durga Temple, Bali Dewanganj

Bidding good bye to the temples, retrace your steps back to the main road, where an octagonal Rashmancha greets you. Sadly the century old structure has been totally reconstructed into a modern structure resembling neither the beauty nor the grace of its former counterpart.

Shiv Kuthir, Bali Dewanganj

Shiv Kuthir, Bali Dewanganj

If you are still hungry for more you can walk along the main road towards Arambagh. You will soon come across the crumbling remains of a Rashmancha. Further 10 minutes down the road will bring you to the remains of a dilapidated temple on the right hand side of the road. Totally overgrown with trees the temple still contains a few intricately carved terracotta panels. A few minutes further down the road will bring you to a spectacular mansion with arched gateways and slender columns. Known as the Shiv Kuthir, the spectacular building has long been abandoned and roofs have caved in. The inside is overgrown with trees and totally inaccessible.

The crumbling temples and mansions of Bali – Dewanganj will definitely make you sad. But in spite of all odds the Durga Temple with its unique architecture and rich terracotta carvings are spectacular enough to turn Bali – Dewanganj into your next Sunday outing spot.

Reference:

  • Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharya

Links from my personal website:

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal