Posts Tagged ‘Wood Carving’

Mitra Mustafi Family Trilogy

May 23, 2012 9 comments

Mita Mustafi Family Trilogy

Ula Birnagar, Sukharia and Sripur

In the early 18th century Rameshwar Mitra of Ula, worked as the Auditor General in the court of Murshid Kuli Khan in Murshidabad. In 1704 Rameswar Mitra received official Mustaufi title from Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.

Rameswar Mitra made a huge fortune and constructed several mansions and temples in ULa, which later came on to be known as Ula Birnagar.

Ula Birnagar

Birnagar, Nadia

Jora Bangla Temple, Ula Birnagar, Nadia

Jora Bangla Temple, Ula Birnagar, Nadia

Some of the early brick temples of Bengal was built in the form of thatched hut and came to be known as the Bangla Temple. The architects soon started making more elaborate temples by joining two Bangla temples side by side, which came to be known as the Jora – Bangla style.

Sadly only a few Bangla and Jora – Bangla temple have survived the test of time and can be still seen to this day. The Mitra – Mustafi family temple, at Ula Birnagar, can be considered as one of the finest example of Jora – Bangla Temple of West Bengal.

Built in 1694 the temple, is approached by a triple arched entrance, and  has elaborate terracotta decoration of the front side. Panels includes, scenes from Krishna Lila, Ramayan, Gods & Goddesses and scenes from social life.

Sadly the Mitra Mustafi Mansion have long crumbled to dust and the famed Chandi Mandap with elaborate wood carvings lies in utter neglect. A branch of the Mitra Mustafi family still stays in Ula Birnagar in a small newly constructed house. Read more…


Somrabazar, Hooghly

Rameswar Mitra’s son Anantaram Mitra left Ula and settled in Sukharia in 1712. Anatram also built a huge mansion in Sukharia along with several temples. The mansion is in ruins and many of the temples have been converted into modern structures and in the process loosing their beauty and grace.

Ananda Bhairabi Temple, Sukharia

Ananda Bhairabi Temple, Sukharia

The 25 pinnacled Anandabhirabi Temple is the star attraction of Sukharia.  The approach to the Ananda Bhairavi Temple, housing the idol of Anandamoyee Kali, is flanked by two parallel rows containing six temples each. Five of the temples on each row are of aat – chala (8 sloped roofs) type while one each are of pnacha – ratna (5 pinnacled) type. One of the panch – ratna temple is dedicated to Ganesh while the rest nine houses shiva – lingas. The temple has under gone several renovations and reconstruction and in the process lost much of its beauty and grace.

Hara Sundari Temple, built in 1813 is a naba – ratna (9 pinnacled) temple has a approach similar to Ananda Bhairabi Temple only in this case each row consist of a total of seven temples consisting of two pancha – ratna and five aat – chalas temples. This temple has recently been restored by the Mitra Mustafi Family. Also read Sukharia Travelogue and Restoration of Sukharia Temples


Balagarh, Hooghly

In 1708 Rameshwar Mitra’s eldest son Raghunandan also left Ula and settled in Sripur. Taking advantage of the river trade he soon made a fortune and established a fort complex complete with several temples and other religious structures decorated with elaborate and intricate wood curving. The fort has long crumbled into dust but a few of the temples have survived the test of time and can still be seen to this day.

Boat Making, Sripur, Balagarh

Boat Making, Sripur, Balagarh

The fort complex contains a Rash Mancha and several temples, but the star attraction of the complex is the Chandi Mandap, with its intricate wooden carvings.

The Chandi Mandap constructed in 1707 by the Mitra Mustafi family, has recently been declared a protected monument. The hay thatched roof has been replaced with corrugated sheet, thus robbing it of its former beauty and grace. But the real wonder lies inside the Mandap, where the Durga Pujo is held to this day. The three walls of the Chandi Mandap are decorated with the most intricate wood curved panels. The wooden panels are very similar to the terracotta panels that dot the walls of the numerous temples of Bengal. But the wood work is not restricted to the panels alone. The pillars and the roof beams are curved with the finest floral, geometric & figurative designs.

The century old boat industry still survives, but is only restricted to small boats. The banks all along the Hooghly in Sripur is lined with boat making workshops. Read more…

Special Thanks: Mr Shyamal Mitra of Mitra Mustafi family.


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