Cover Story/Cultural Tourism : Terracotta Temples
About the Temple
For a person who loves to travel, there is a place in West Bengal, Bishnupur which is famous for Terracotta Temples. Every year millions of tourist visits the place to see the temples. This beautiful temple town of West Bengal takes you back to the era of an ancient time when art and culture was the dominant theme of that age.
What to See
A Terracotta Temple is famous for its unique style and displaying some of the finest craftsmanship ever. It draws people from world over for its architecture, music and handicrafts. It is also popular for classical music dalmadal and paintings. There are around 16 Terracota Temples in Bengal all from the Malla times but the temples situated at Bishnupur are special in many ways. The materials of construction too were not stones transported from elsewhere, but bricks made from the locally available clay. The temples were built by various Mallya kings who ruled this part of the country around the 17th century and made Bishnupur their capital.
On the walls of almost all the temples, one can find depictions of scenes from the Krishna Leela. The most important yet common composition is the rasachakra—a medallion-like shape with multiple emanations showing Sri Krishna dancing with Radha as well as Gopis in a circular formation. The temples also feature beautiful carvings of celestial figurines and symbols of Hindu Dharma. These temples are maintained under the supervision of the archaeological departments and are treated as heritage sites. The temples can be visited every morning, but the best time to have a magnificent view of the temples is at night when these temples are illuminated with bright lights making them appear celestial.
Bishnupur is also famous for its Baluchari sarees made of Tussar silk especially among Bengali women. It is around 150 kms away from Kolkata, well connected by rail and road. Every year, in the month of December, the Bishnupur mela (fair) is held followed by the Bishnupur utsav, a classical music and dance festival.