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Posts Tagged ‘Bishnupur’

Hadal Narayanpur ~ Amazing Terracotta Beyond Bishnupur

November 20, 2013 4 comments

Hadal Narayanpur

Amazing Terracotta Beyond Bishnupur

See also: Bishnupur Temple Town and 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.

Mandal Mansion, Hadal Narayanpur

Mandal Mansion, Hadal Narayanpur

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.

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Semaphore Towers ~ A Pre – Telegram Communication System

July 17, 2013 42 comments

Semaphore Towers

A Pre – Telegram Communication System

Its a typical rural Bengal landscape, a villager makes is way through agricultural fields, but the chimney like structure is definitely unique. Its not a chimney of the brick kilns that dot the Bengal rural landscape nor is it a wtach tower used to keep eye on invading Bargi (Maratha).

Semaphore Tower, Parbatichak, Arambagh, Hooghly, West Bengal
Semaphore Tower, Parbatichak, Arambagh, Hooghly, West Bengal

Its a semaphore tower, quiet a few of which still dot the rural as well as urban landscapes of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

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Bishnupur, Temple Town

July 10, 2013 35 comments

Bishnupur

Temple Town

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone. This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples.

Scattered Temples of Bishnupur, Bankura, West Bengal

Scattered Temples of Bishnupur, Bankura, West Bengal

Terracotta literally means baked earth in Italian but West Bengal has the distinction of housing some of the finest terracotta art in the world. The terracotta art reached its pinnacle under the patronage of the Malla Kings of Bishnupur during the seventeenth century.

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Dihar ~ Ruined Twin Temples

June 19, 2013 1 comment

Dihar ~ Ruined Twin Temples

Near Bishnupur, Bankura, West Bengal

Also see: Beyond Bishnupur ~ Brick and Stone Temples

Saileswar and Sareswar Temples, Dihar (near Bishnupur), Bankura

Saileswar and Sareswar Temples, Dihar (near Bishnupur), Bankura

Located 8 km from Bishnupur, on the Bishnupur – Sonamukhi highway, the village of Dihar houses two ruined but majestic temples. Both the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and are known as Sareswar and Saileswar. A Nandi Bull guards the entrance of Sareswar Temple.

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Mahabharata on Bengal Terracotta

February 13, 2013 4 comments

Mahabharata on Bengal Terracotta

~ A compilation of Mahabharata panel in Bengal Terracotta ~

See also: Mahaisasuramardini on Bengal Terracotta

The two great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata represents the real perspective of the Indian philosophy of life and is considered as the phenomenal history of men, gods, spirits, demons, social and political space, time, truth, law, austerity, usage, purities, sins, evils and finally wisdom of the people of the great sub continent. Both the epics have shown astounding vitality not only in the years of political dominance of the Hindus, but also in the days of invasion, and assimilation of alien people and their cultures.

For over two thousand years the Ramayana and Mahabharata has been influencing deeply the religious and moral thoughts as well as literacy and artistic production in India. The exotic terracotta Temple of Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) are no exceptions.

The walls of the Bengal terracotta temple are dotted with stories from the two great epics but strangely Ramayana panels far out number the panels from Mahabharata.

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Gokulchand ~ Stone temple

September 26, 2012 8 comments

Gokulchand Temple, Gokulnagar

~ Fortified Stone Temple ~

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone. This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples giving Bengal a place in the world tourist map.

Gokuleswar Temple, Gokulnagar

Gokulchand Temple and natmandir, Gokulnagar

Although numerous brick terracotta temples dot the entire Gangatic West Bengal but they are not the only form of temple architecture. Stone temples do exists in West Bengal and are mainly concentrated in the western region of the state and adds a new dimension to Bengal Temple Architecture.

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Beyond Bishnupur ~ Brick and Stone Temples

August 22, 2012 11 comments

Beyond Bishnupur

Brick and Stone Temples

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone. This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The terracotta art reached its pinnacle under the patronage of the Malla Kings of Bishnupur during the seventeenth century. The temples are still there turning Bishnupur into one of the most favored tourist spot in West Bengal.

But the tourist attraction of Bishnupur are not restricted to Bishnupur alone. Several non – descriptive towns and villages, located within 50 km radius of Bishnupur, have the distinction of housing some of the spectacular terracotta and stone temples of the state.

So next time in Bishnupur don’t give this places a miss.

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JOYPUR ~ Terracotta beyond Bishnupur

February 29, 2012 2 comments

Stone has always been in short supply in the vast flood plains of Bengal. Hence the architects had to restore to other substitute. As clay was easily available the burnt clay bricks soon became a good substitute of stone. This gave rise to a new form of temple architecture and lead to the construction of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The terracotta art reached its pinnacle under the patronage of the Malla Kings of Bishnupur during the seventeenth century. The temples are still there turning Bishnupur into one of the most favored tourist spot in West Bengal.

Located just 15 km east of Bishnupur the non – descriptive village of Joypur houses some of the finest specimen of terracotta art. It was during the 18 – 19th century few families of the village took advantage of the cloth trade with the British and made a fortune. They acquired land and became zamindars and built fantastic temples. De and Dutta family were two such families and they still have a temple standing in the courtyard of their decapitated family mansion.

Both the temples are built in naba ratna (nine pinnacles) style and are approached by a triple arched entrance from the Northern and Eastern side. Sadly the temples are in bad shape and are in desperate need of professional restoration.

Triple Arch Panel, Damodar Temple, Duttapara, Joypur

Triple Arch Panel, Damodar Temple, Duttapara, Joypur

The Damodar Temple of Dutta family has elaborate terracotta on the Eastern arch panel. The central arch panels have scenes from Krishnalila while those on the left and right contain battle scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana. The uniqueness of the Joypur terracotta is its deep relief giving an almost three dimensional effect to most of the figure. The set of musicians on the cornice are in full three dimension. The temple also contains panels of das avatar, Vishnu in anantasaya and Bishma in sarasaya (bed of arrows).

Terracotta Panels from Vishnu Temple, Depara, Joypur

Terracotta Panels from Vishnu Temple, Depara, Joypur

Located a short distance away is the Vishnu Temple belonging to the De family and follows the same pattern of Naba Ratna architecture. The arch panel shows a series of boats some with armed guards and other with noble men and ladies, including a scene where a noble man smokes a hookah carried by an attendant in different boat.

Another arch panel shows two fantastic jumping lions embedded on a floral motif complete with birds and flowers. Just above the lions is a fantastic panel showing Ram and Sita enthroned attended my monkeys and musicians. A little away from the De family temple is a spectacular octagonal Rash Manch crowned with nine onion shaped pinnacles.

So next time when you are in Bishnupur to enjoy do take a couple of hours break to visit the spectacular temples of Joypur, but don’t be late because centuries of neglect can soon turn the temples to dust.

Reference:

Related links from my Personal Website:

  • Travel article on Joypur (Link not yet ready)

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal