January 25, 2016

Terracotta Temples of Supur

Site Name: Jora Mandir
Site Type: Terracotta temple
Location:  Supur village, 5 kms from Shanti Niketan, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: 300 years old Twin Terracotta temples
Nearest Railway Station: Bolpur
Nearest Airport: Kolkata 
How to reach: Easily reachable from Kolkata and Shantiniketan
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Kolkata; Shantiniketan too has many decent options for stay
Restaurants: Limited options in Shantiniketan

West Bengal tourism is not only to do with Kolkata or only with the famous Shanti Niketan. There are hundreds of beautiful and unexplored sites all over West Bengal state of India. Let us explore one such little known beautiful site in this article.

Shanti Niketan is a popular town in West Bengal related to education and academics. It is located at a distance of around 160 kms from Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. At a distance of just 5 kms from Shanti Niketan, a small village named Supur is located. A 300 year old beautiful terracotta temple called Jora Mandir is located in this village. 


There are two different versions of legend about this village. 

As per a legend, Suratha, the King of Kalinga was very desperate to win over the kingdom of Karnat, but he always failed in his task. As per the advice from a sage named Medhas, he prayed to Goddess Chandi and then he won his enemy. He sacrificed one hundred thousand enemies to the Goddess. It is believed that this village was named after him as Swapur and then it might have become Supur. 

As per another legend, there was zamindar named Surath. Once, he had a dream in which his enemies were chasing him for death. He prayed to Goddess Chandi to protect him and he sacrificed one hundred thousand humans to her. 

The above mentioned legends have nothing to do with the temple. They are just related to the village.

Temple Layout:

There is no record on who built Jora Mandir, the best example of Terracotta art in Supur village. The temple was built in the 18th century CE and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. 

There are two terracotta temples in the enclosure. One temple has Rekha type vimana and another one has octagonal Rekha type vimana. 

Both the temples look outstanding. The western side temple has terracotta work only on its southern side, whereas the other temple has terracotta work in all the sides. Both the temples enshrine Shiva Linga idols.

Some of the notable relief terracotta works that are found in the temples include Ram with Sita on throne along with Lakshman and Hanuman, Chaitanya dancing, infant being bathed by few women, Ram fighting with Luv and Kush, British (probably) soldiers holding guns sitting on elephants and horses, Mahisasura Mardhini, Ganesha with his two consorts, Kartikeya with his consort and his mount peacock, Krishna surrounded by Gopis, incarnations of Vishnu, Ram's coronation ceremony, two female deities seated on lion, few sages along with a five headed person and three women playing musical instruments. Some works are repeated in multiple panels.

Happy travelling.

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