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A famous district of Bankura in West Bengal is known as Bishnupur. The origin of its name was derived from God Vishnu, King Malla was ruled the Bishnupur region and during his Kingdom, most of the Temple were constructed. The tradition and history of Bishnupur is well defined on unique architecture and handmade artifacts found in Bishnupur, out of which pottery and other craft works are internationally acclaimed.

The History Bishnupur

Featured Photo by Amartya Bag

  • The town of Bishnupur was built by Malla Kingdom in 17 and 18th century
  • The terracotta style of handcraft work was introduced by Malla King,
  • The beautiful crafted temples of terracotta work are most famous in Bishnupur.
  • The Gupta period was ruled by the Hindu Kings.
  • Being under the Malla rule for a period of time, this place was also called as the Mallabhum.
  • As the Malla emperors were Vaishnavites and follower of Lord Vishnu.They had built temples dedicated to Lord in the 17th and 18th century.
  • This temples were all in the terracotta style of construction.
  • The style of he terracotta crafting on the temples are one of its own kind. The architecture are a classic styles to the Bishnupuriya architecture.
  • Bipodtarini Devi and the Malla Kings of Bishnupur are closely linked. As its said that Bipodtarini Devi had act as a savior to one of the Queen of Malla.
  • Only after the Mughal Empire came into this region, the kingdom of Malla came to  and end.The Malla had ruled over thousand of  years.

Why were the Terracotta style of  Temple build.

When the temple of Bishnupur were constructed, there was a shortage of stone. And in order to complete the construction of the temples Malla king made a shrine for Lord Krishna with terracotta.

  • The architecture of the Temple are a combination of neighboring regions style of architecture Like the roof work of the temple was similar to the Bangal curved roof work . Then the arches having multiple lobes along with the domes following the pattern of the Muslim architecture. And finally the terracotta style of Bricks.
  • The red clay soil-the laterite and bricks were used for the crafting of the temple,covered with the Terracotta tiles and stones sculpted with the picture narrating the Ramayana and Mahabharat, it also has the preaching of Lord Krishna decipted on the stones.
  • Some of the famous temples are the Shyam Mandir and the well known Rasmancha are the most popular places for visit. Few other famous places are Lalji temple, Radha Madha, Malleshwar temple, Radhagobinda Mandir Kalachand, Jorbangla, Madan Mohan temple, Shyam Rai temple, Radhashyam temple and Rasmancha.
  • In present time there are few Terracotta temple left and one of them is located in Ambika Kalna in the Burdwan district and the temple of Bishnupur.
  • In 1997, the temples of Bishnupur was recognised as World Heritage by the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s Tentative list.
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In and Around Bishnupur

  • Bishnupur is well known for the traditional local saris, Baluchari saaris made of Tussar silk which are handmade.
  • The town is also very famous for the potteries made of terracotta, various artifacts along with several jewelries and the painting school of Bishnupur.
  • Bishnupur is also very renowned for it traditional form of music, craft and art of different forms.
  • Various food joint and restaurants are surrounded near the temples, they serve foods from different parts of bengal and dessert made from purified oil.
  • The Mela called Bishnupur mela is again a very famous mela. this is held in Decembers last week every year, followed by the Bishnupur utsav, a classical music and dance festival.
  • Malleshwar Mandir is an old temple built by Bir Singh in 1622. The temple has a forte  the base moldings and stone elephants.
  • The Jor-bangla temple is one of the finest monuments in the city. The terracotta work on the temple both from the side of the temple and outside,classifies the creative beauty and the makes these terracotta temple unique in itself.
  • The Rashmancha is a temple situated in Bishnupur. It was built by Malla king.
  • The Radha Krishna idols of Bishnupur are brought for worshiping by people around the world. Special during the Vaishnava Ras festival.
  • Dalmadal Cannon -This famous cannon was created by Maharaja Bir Hambir in order to protect his kingdom.The capabilty of the Malla king to protect them self from the enemies is well understood by the creation of the cannon. The cannon is also the proof of the knowledge and skill of the empire to use iron for the self defence.  This also shows that the army of the Malla King were well trained and equipped for all battle.
  • Chhinnmasta temple,- the Deity in this temple is the most worshiped in Bishnupr. The Chhinnmasta Mata is very famous  and her temple is believed to be more than 100 years old. She is symbolised as the Goddess of power. The idol of the Goddess is seen with her head on one of her twelve arms. Her head is separated from her body.
  • Madanmohan Temple- A temple built by King Durjana Singh Deva in 1694. The styles of building this temple is called ekaratna, in which the roof is a square flat with carved cornices and a pinnacle placed on the top.
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Bishnupur is around 132 KMs from Kolkata & 38 KMs from Bankura town.  Bishnupur is well connected with Kolkata making it easier to travel. Althoug there are few terracotta temple left , thus the famous temples of Terracotta in Bishnupur are major attraction for the tourist.However there are many more places to visit in Bishnupur. The famous craft,music, art, saree and the mela and the terracotta idol of Lord Krishna are also a reason to add this place in the travel list. The town of  Bishnupur is rich in culture tradition and art, art of all forms are a rich heritage of the Bishnupur town.

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FeaturedPhoto by kg.abhi

Interesting Fact Behind The Terraccota Temples Of Bishnupur

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