Bishnupur, a pretty town in eastern Indian state of West Bengal known for its unique Indian terracotta temples. Traveling to Bishnupur is like a rural picturesque – miles of miles filled with yellow paddy fields, smiling face of toddlers and waving hand of tribal children’s playing alongside the road. It was once a cultural capital of westbengal with its world famous arts, crafts, architecture, textile and music. Ruled by Prosperous Malla Kings can be seen once you pass by the mossy ruins of glorious kingdom kept well-preserved.
Many temples including Rasmancha temple, Temple of Shyam Ray, Temple of Madan Mohan, Temple of Jor-Bangla and Temple of Lalji, dating between 17th and 18th centuries, exhibit an exquisite art style, each more beautifully embellished than the other are still in great condition.
How To Reach
You will have two choices to visit here, either you take a day tour from kolkata which will take 8/9 hrs for a complete tour, or you could choose to stay and take a full day tour with bishnupur culture to mix up with.
Road and Rail link this spot well. Nearest airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, 160 km from Kolkata, which takes about 4 hours of scenic driving. Or you may take direct kolkata buses / trains.
What this small city offers to visitors
- Rich Heritage in form of Temple – Beautifully crafted terracotta temples.
- Baluchari Saree – A kind of saree on which mythological scene are printed.
- Bishnupur Gharana – A form of dhrupad Hindustani classical music.
What to See
The Rasmancha –
Built in 1600AD by Malla king, Veer Hambir. This place was used to house Lord Krishna idols during the annual Rash Festival around the town till 1935. Beautifully Surrounded by mossy walls, jackfruit and flower trees. inhabited by birds & squirrels. The main building stand on a high platform of laterite block of stone, shaped as a dark pyramidal sanctum surrounded by Low-arched corridors of hut shaped roof run across all sides.
Temple of Shyam Rai –
Built by King Raghunath Singh in 1643, this temple features a triple arched gateway on its four sides, is made of laterite and is a fascinating architectural mixture of style from Odisha & Persia and countless terracotta artworks on both exterior and interior walls. The artworks depicts the numerous scenes of wars, Battle of Ramayana, and the life of Lord Krishna.
Temple Of Madan Mohan –
One of the largest temples in Bishnupur, built in 1694 by King Durjana Singh Deva of the Malla Dynasty in Brick with terracotta tablets cladding the walls, portico and temple pillars. The walls of Madan Mohan depicts many scenes of Ramayan, birth of krishna, incarnation of krishna as king and many more. There is also a chandimandap opposite the structure inside the complex.
Temple of Jor-Bangla –
Built in the 17th Century by Raghunatha Singha.This Temple ‘s architecture is unique, and Bishnupur is one of its most prominent temples. The temple is designed with laterite bricks and ‘Bengal’ style ‘Dochala’ on an elevated square foundation. The temple is not very big in size but due to its admirable structure & finest ‘Terracotta’ art attracts the attention of numerous visitors.
Dalmadal Canon and Devi Chinnamasta Temple –
It is 3.8 meters long wrought Iron Canon situated next to Bishnupur’s Chinnamasta Temple, popularly known as dalmadal. This reflects the glory of the Bishnupur Malla Kings. It is acclaimed Madan Mohan himself had fired this canon to drive away Bhaskar Pandit and his Maratha Bargis when they tried to attack Bishnupur in 1742. Nearby is the temple of the headless goddess – Chinnamasta, the self-decapitated goddess. The temple has been modern-style restored.
Since i had limited time, so i missed many of the other places like, Pathar Darwaja (Main Gateway of Bishnupur), Garh Darwaja (Small Gateway of Bishnupur), Lalbandh, Acharya Jogeshchandra Museum, Gumgarh, Radhamadhab Temple, Stone Chariot, Temple of Keshta Rai, etc.
What To Buy
Not only Bishnupur is known for its terracotta temples but also renowned for its Baluchuri Sarees and its terracotta souvenirs and artworks particularly the Bankura horses. Bishnupur houses Thousands of craftsmen and artisans who have continued to carry the cultural heritage of the region.
Bankura Horses, ranging from a few inches to more than 5 feet in height, are not only famous within the country, but are also exported throughout the world. Most shops are located on the Chinnamasta Temple Lane, right outside the workshops and are reasonably priced.
Where To Stay
There are several staying options ranging from ₹300 to ₹1000 per night. There is also a state govt. Lodges which provide comfortable stays with basic amenities. You can book room through online.
Timing & Entry Fees
- Temples generally opens up all days from 6am to 5:30pm
- Entry fees for these temples are ₹25 per Indian/Saarc/Bimstec nationals, whereas ₹300 for foreign nationals and children up-to 15yrs of age are free.
To Get Detailed Itinerary, How i explore and what is my budget on this trip – Rediscovering the heritage of Bishnupur, An Era of Malla kingdom