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Jan 31,2024

It is difficult to imagine that Bishnupur now mostly reduced to a cluster of mordern constructions was the capital of the great Malla kings in the 17th century . They were great patrons of art , music and literature , with the most importaint  of their temples built during the reign of Bir Hambir and Raghunath Singh . The workmanship on the terracotta structures the terracotta structures tucked away behind the cityscape will take your breath away . This is an area famous for its burnt red terracotta brick temple Baluchari saris and the endearing Bankura clay horses . An inextricable tangle of narrow alleyways from the centre of Bishnupur town . Cycle rickshaws are the best way to get around and guides are available . Bishnupur is 27 kms  away from Imphal City on Tiddim Road . Here stands the conical temple of Lord Vishnu built in 1467 during the reign of King Kyamba .  It is intresting because of its antiquity and architectural design which was influenced by Chinese style . Bishnupur is also known for its stoneware production . The district head quarted is popular for hill grown oranges yongchak (tree bean ) and vegetables . Shoibum (fermented bamboo shoot ) scents the air around . the town market . Bishnupur , the temple town in the Bankura district of West Bengal is welcoming u with its lavish heritage , proud culture , brilliant architecture and tales of terracotta . Adi Malla established the Malla dynasty . jagat Malla, the 10th Malla king shifted his kingdom to bishnupur . Due to short supply of stone in Bengal , buirnt clay bricks came as a substitute and architects of Bengal found the new way of a beautiful craft known as Terracotta . During the seventeenth century , the art of terracotta reached its highest peak . Raja Jagat Malla and his descendants built numerous temples made of terracotta and stone art . Bishnu[pur is famous for Baluchari sarees . The world famous Baluchari design was inspired by the terracotta tiles of the temples . Mythological stories , tribal life style and social lifestyle have been reflected in Baluchari designs . Bishnupur was the capital of the hindu Mallabhum kingdom , which was founded in the 8th Century ce and was onece the most importaint Hindu dynasty in Bengal . It was constituted a municipal in 1863 . The town is surrounded by old fortifications and has more than a dozen temples . 

Things to See and Do : Raas Mancha : The majestic Raas Mancha , the earliest terracotta structure here , is the focal point around which many hotels , shops and offices have come up . 

Temples : It is recognised by their curved hut like roofs , most temples have relief work on terracotta panls on their walls , a delightful documentation of Bengals 17th century society . Bricks were used in building these temples because no stone was available in the vicinity . Most of the temples are found in three clusters . The Shyam Rai , Jore Bangla and Radha Shyam temples are located next to Shyam Bandh Lake , in the fort area .  The Shyam Rai Temple has five Odisha style shikharas on a tapering Bengal chala roof and rasamandala motifs on the  concentric circles depicting scenes from Krishna life and the Ram Ravana combat . Jore bangla (1655) has Ravana held upside down by Hanuman in a battle scene .  kalachand , Radha Madhav , Radha Govinda , Jore Mandir and the Dal Madal cannon are lined up on the southern fringe of Lal Bandh Lake , in the front area The Shyam Bandh Lake , in the fort area . 

Bishnupur Museum : The Jogesh Chandra Pura Kirti Bhavan Museum exhibits manuscripts , metals jewellery , a music gallery , terracotta art , baluchari saris and and pattachitra . 

Bishnupur Crafts : The dingy alleys of Bishnupur town hold what may be the largest variety of craft traditions in Bengal . In the weavers colonies around Tantipara and Bagan Baluchari saris , known for the mythological tales woven into their borders and end are sold . Bankura horses of the pointy ears , long necks and intricately designed saddle and much decorated elephants and tigers can be purchased at Panchmura a potters village . 

Rasmancha : This is the oldest brick temple which was established by the King Hambir in 1600 AD . The majestic temple is architecturally so unique and unparalled that it is one of its kind in the whole Bengal as well as the country . It proudly stands on a laterite plinth and owns a single chamber neighbouring hut shaped turrets along with an elongated tower . In the presence of daylight , when u will be walking through the galleries , u will feel history in your ears by the language of light and shade . 

Mrinmoyee Temple : It is the oldest temple of Bishnupur was established by King Jaagt Malla in 997 AD . Goddess Durga is worshipped here as Maa Mrinmoyee . Although the temple had to be reconstructed , the idol made of Ganga clay remained same . The most oldest Durga Pujo of Bengal is (1021 yrs ) and rich heritage immersing into a different flavour of religious warmth during the puja . The festival starts with the worship of Baro thakurani , Mejo thakurani , Choto thakurani respectively , after setting up a clay pot or Ghat . 

Jorbangla Temple : This temple was established by Malla king Raghunath Singh in 1655 . The temple is one of the exceptional examples of the terracotta art of West Bengal and owns a unique architectural structure . The temple  is named as "Jorbangla " because of its speciality . Marriage of Ram - Sita , Maa Parbati with her two sons , Balgopa's activities , Story of Laxman and Surpanakha and many more .

Shyam Rai temple : The temple was built by King Raghunath Singh in 1643 , is popularly known as Panch Chura temple as it owns five pinnacles . The temple looks beautiful with triple arched passage on its four sides . It is one of the star attractions of Bishnupur because of its breathtaking terracotta art forms on both interior and exterior panels . Various scenes based on religious stories like " Indra fighting , Sage of Ram and Raban , Glimpses of Krishna Lila , love of Radha -Krishna Hunting scenarios from old society etc are true  . 

Gar Darja : In Bishnupur there are two proud gateways to the fort . Local people addressed them as Gar Darja was made to protect the royals from enemies . It has a huge terrace and secrects chambers . Soldiers over here would used to keep a track on them and would surprisingly attack on them to finish them . 

Madanmohan Temple : When u are visiting Bishnupur this one pinnacled Bishnu temple is a must  see . Certainly , the temple is one of the main structural forms carrying the message of finest terracotta art in its body Malla Raja Durjan Singh established the temple in the name of Lord Madan Mohan in 1694 . Till date its an active temple . 

Jore Shreni Temple / Poramatir Haat Area : Althoug it is known as Jor Mandir (meaning pair of temples ) it is actually a complex of three Eka Ratna temples  Two big temples has a square base of 11.8 m X 11.8m and a height of 12.8 m above a low platform . The roofs of all all three temples are typical Bengali is surrounded by a Sikhara . Around the inerrmost sanctuary where the idols is kept , there are covered porches on three sides . 

Where to stay : Hotel Laxmi park : It is in Baliapara . The government runs the Bishnupur Tourists Lodge which is on the Collage Road . Book in advance at the time of Bishnupur fair .  (December 23-27)  Enjoy Bengali meals at resturant in Baliapara area . The Tourists lodge and Laxmi park are good . 

How to reach Bishnupur : By Rail : Trains from Kolkata are available for Bishnupur on regular basis . from Bankura also , you can take cab , bus or train to Bishnupur .

By Air : The nearest airport to Bankura is Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose International Airport , Kolkata which is about 212kms to Bankura . From Bankura you can take bus cab or train to Bishnupur .

By Road : Bankura is well connected by road with Kolkata and surrounding town like Asansol , Durgapur , Burdwan Panagarh and other parts of the state . From Bankura u can take cab , bus or train to Bishnupur .