Hanseswari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple
The history of Bansberia dates back to the days of Shah Jahan. In 1656, the Mughal emperor appointed Raghab Dattaroy of Patuli as the zamindar of an area that includes the present-day Bansberia. Legend has it that Raghab’s son Rameshwar cleared a bamboo grove to build a fort, inspiring the name Bansberia.
Bansberia was also one of the important villages of the Saptagram (a unit of seven villages), an important port town in medieval Bengal. Its importance in pre-Muslim Bengal was religious, owing to its location at the Tribeni or confluence of three rivers.
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.
Kalna Rajbari Complex, Ambika Kalna
An amazing Temple Complex
Ambika Kalna (or simply Kalna) is located 82 km from Kolkata (Howrah) on the Bandel – Katwa line. Located on the west bank of the Bhagirathi, Ambika Kalna once flourished as a prosperous port town.
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.
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.
Surul, located 5 km from the Bolpur Station in Shantiniketan, is probably the nearest heritage excursion spot from Shantinekatan.
Sukharia, Somra Bazar, Hooghly
Restoration of Harsudari and Nistarini Kali Temple
See also: My blog post Mitra Mustafi Trilogy
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.
Amazing Terracotta Beyond Bishnupur
Bushnupur has always been considered as the Terracotta capital of West Bengal. But the terracotta temple art have spread far beyonds the limits of Bishnupur and several of the villages surrounding Bishnupur houses many spectacular terracotta temples.
Joypur, Dihar, Bahulara, Gokulnagar and Sonamukhi definitely deserves a mention but the village thats stands out is Hadal Narayanpur. This twin villages has the distinction of housing several terracotta temples with the most intricate and delicate carvings.
Halisahar and Kanchrapara
Temples and Pilgrimage
Halisahar is a non – descriptive town on the northern fringes of the North 24 Parganas district. Today it is a busy unplanned and overcrowded industrial town but the history of Halisahar dates back to the pre – Mughal days. The name Halisahar is probably of Islamic origin and is derived from “Haveli Sahar” meaning “City of Palaces.” (Haveli = Palace, Sahar = City)
Sadly the “Havelis” of Halisahar didn’t survive the test of time and have long crumbled into dust. Strangely a small terracotta temple complex have survived the centuries of human neglect and can still be seen today. Halisahar is also the birth place of legendary religious reformer Ramprasad Sen. His Kali Temple, although converted into a modern structure, is the prime attraction of Halisahar.