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30 Jul, 2018

BISHNUPUR

Located about 180 km north-west of Kolkata, Bishnupur is famous for its terracotta temples. Built in during the 17th and 18 th century these terracotta temples are one of the finest examples of classic architecture style of Bengal. The stunning architecture and the handicraft reflect the town’s glorious past. Bishnupur was the capital of the Malla kingdom and it flourished during the 17th and 18th centuries. The unique form of architecture of Bishnupur that involves detailed terracotta work was developed during the reign of the Malla kings.

Bishnupur is known for its beautiful terracotta temples. The Vaishnavite kings of the Malla Kingdom built the terracotta temples due to the shortage of stone. Various styles from the nearby regions are incorporated in the unique architecture of the shrines. Multi-lobed arches and Muslim domes were blended with features such as the curved Bangla roof for the temples. The shrines are crafted from brick and laterite and then covered with terracotta tiles.

The twin shrine of the Rasmancha and Jor Bangla, the Shyam Ray temple and Radheshyam temple are some the temples you must visit.  Brishnupur is also famous for jewellery, artifacts, pottery and handloom saris. The Bishnupur Gharana, a school of Hindustani classical music, is taught in local music academies. Bishnupur school of painting is also well-known.

Things to do: Dedicated to Vishnu, Rasmancha temple is said to be the oldest brick monument in Bishnupur with a pyramidal tower. This unique temple was constructed to accommodate the idols of god that people brought during the festivals. The temple is illuminated at night and it is a sight to behold.

Visit the Bishnupur Acharjya Jogesh Chandra Purakriti Bhawan or Bishnupur museum to see the history of the region. It is the only art and archaeology museum in the district and it houses around 100 sculptures, 5000 manuscripts and British history. Folk arts and craft, various photographs and many specimens of textiles are also kept in the museum.

Jor Bangla temple in Bishnupur is a simple temple with exquisite terracotta relief art work on the walls. Jor means ‘pair’ in bngali language. The temple is a pair of cottages with a four-way sloped roof. Earlier, the temple was called Krishna Ray, but it is now known as Jor Bangla due to its design. The design of the temple is very rare in India.

Another interesting temple to visit in Bishnupur is the Madan Mohan temple. The temple has ektarana style in which the roof is flat square with carved cornices. You can also visit the memorial of Shreenibas Acharya or Nutan Mahal.

Best time to go: You can visit Bishnupur throughout the year.

Driving distance: 180.3 km (4 hours 2 minutes)

Where to stay: Some of the hotels in Bishnupur include Bishnupur Tourist Lodge, Udayan Lodge, Holiday Resort and Monalisa Lodge .

Tips: Do not forget to buy terracotta items and handloom saris from Bishnupur.

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