Well known for its terracotta temples, this quaint city in West Bengal magnetises its tourists with its traditional music, exceptional architecture and gorgeous handicrafts. If classical music is your idea of attaining peace and going into a trance, then Bishnupur is the place to be!
The impeccable terracotta temples were built by Malla kings in the 17th and 18th centuries. These Malla rulers were ardent believers of Lord Vishnu and that's how Bishnupur (Vishnupur) got its name.
The distinct architecture of Bishnupur temples depicts the culture and style incorporated from neighbouring regions. The terracotta tiles, along with the craftsmanship of talented artisans in laterite and bricks, illustrate several scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana on the temple walls.
Shopaholics can pamper themselves with Baluchari sarees and traditional jewellery. You can also visit gorgeous terracotta shrines to behold the love that the inhabitants and rulers of Bishnupur have for Lord Krishna.
Plan a break to Bishunpur during the last week of December if you have an eye to admire artisan's talent teamed up with the colourful festival taking place in this temple city. Here are few of the temples that an architecture lover and some old-aged religious people should visit.
The temple houses the the idols of Radha and Krishna. Rasmancha is the oldest of the brick monuments in Bishnupur. It comprises of a pyramidal structure, which is placed on a raised square laterite plinth.
The reason why the enormous structure was built was to celebrate the Ras festival. The images and deities were brought from neighbouring temples and displayed in galleries for the public. The images represented every individual that was a part of this event.
Built by the Malla ruler, Bir Hamber, in 1600 AD, the temple is now converted into a protected monument by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The lights illuminate the entire monument in the evenings, enhancing the charm of the place.
Built in 1655 AD by Malla ruler, Raghunath Singh, the temple depicts typical Bengali architecture. The flimsy wall carvings are a sight to die for. These carvings depict stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and various other religious scripts.
This terracotta temple is strikingly similar to rural huts. They adopt the Chala style of architecture. "Chala" in Bengali means "roof". Earlier the temple was called Krishna Ray, but due to the design people started naming it Jor Bangla. "Jor" means "pair" in Bengali. The temple is made of laterite bricks and has an appearance of two thatched huts joined together and surmounted by a single tower.
Pancha Ratna Temple
Built by Malla ruler, Raghunath Singh, in 1643 AD, the central shikhara in the temple is octagonal, while the rest of the four are squares. The terracotta carvings portray some notable aspects of Lord Krishna's life.
Visit this unique, beautifully carved temple for a detailed understanding of the Bengali culture!
Madan Mohan Temple
PC: AsisKumar Sanyal
One of the most-renowned temples in Bishnupur, the spotlessly appealing edifice stands out wonderfully depicting the Ek-ratna (single tower) style. Impressive wall carvings on the walls depict scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.
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PC: Sumit Surai
Lalji Temple is dedicated to Radha and Krishna. Built in 1658 AD, the temple is rested on a square plane, consisting of a dome-shaped shikhara and stucco motifs depicting floral and geometric designs and life from the Puranas.
Photographers can rely on this spectacular construction in order to capture the intricate carvings on the walls.
PC: Ajit Kumar Majhi
Built in 1656 AD, the marvellous Kalachand Temple was built by King Raghunatha Singha in Ek-ratna style. The temple comprises of a laterite stone structure. Lord Krishna resides in the name of Kalachand in this temple. Sadly, the temple does not house any deity currently. Step into this temple to learn different stories of Krishna Leela and Ramayana depicted on the walls.
Jor Mandir (Twin Temples)
Jor Mandir is a complex of three temples. It was built by Malla King Krishna Singh in 1726 AD. The temple is adorned with a unique style of terracotta architecture. The walls and temple buildings are what people specifically come to Bishnupur for!
Radha Madhab Temple
Radha Madhab Temple is housed with Rekha-styled dome and hexagonal spire. The beauty of the temple is its three-arched entrance. Both the front and the service side of the temple have three arches. It will be a little disappointing to see few of the wall reliefs damaged. The pillars and arches of the temple are beautifully carved, illustrating some life-learning lessons from the epic - Ramayana and Krishna Leela.
The Archaeological Survey of India is putting all its efforts to retain the beauty of this monument.
One of the seven Ek-ratnas in Bishnupur, Nandlal Temple is surrounded by a lush-green garden. The fact about the creator of this temple is unknown. However, it is believed that the temple was built in the 17th century. The south-facing temple has a square ground with single tower resting on a curved roof.
This is one of the few temples in Bishnupur where the exterior is without any decoration. Currently, there is no deity inside the temple.
Radha Gobinda Temple
PC: Vikas Singh
The Ek-ratna-style temple was built by Krishna Singh, son of Gopal Singha, in 1729 AD. The decorative motifs in Radha Gobinda Temple include floral patterns, puranic scenes and many geometrical depictions.
The small chariot in front of the temple and a man-made ancient pond with stone walls and steps beside it will catch your eye. Visit this abode of Radha and Krishna to comprehend their love story.