January 30, 2016

Dalmadal Canon of Bishnupur

Site Name: Dalmadal Canon
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: Interesting legend associated with the monument
Nearest Railway Station: Bishnupur
Nearest Airport: Kolkata 
How to reach: Easily reachable from Kolkata, which is around 160 kms away
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Kolkata; Bishnupur too has many decent options for stay
Restaurants: Limited mid-range options in Bishnupur

Bishnupur is a town located in Bankura district in West Bengal state of India. It is located at a distance of around 150 kms from Kolkata, the capital city of Bengal. It is famous for the 17th and 18th century Terracotta temples and balucheri sarees. Let us explore about a historically important monument in Bishnupur, which also has an interesting legend, in this article.

Dalmadal Canon is a large canon located in the central place of Bishnupur town. It is an important landmark of the town. It was manufactured by the Malla Kings.

Let us begin with a brief historical background. The areas around Bishnupur was called as Mallabhum region in the olden days. The region, which can also be called as Bishnupur Kingdom was ruled by Malla dynasty for many centuries. The Muslim or Mughal invasion did not affect this region much. Adi Malla was the founder of the dynasty.

Bir Hambir, the 49th King of Malla dynasty, was very popular. He was a contemporary of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. He converted to Vaishnavism. This canon was manufactured by him in order to protect his kingdom from the Marathas. It is said he spent huge amount of money to manufacture this. In Bengali language, the word 'Dala' means group (enemies in this context) and 'Mardan' means destroy. The canon was probably named as Dalmardan meaning the destroyer of enemies, which later became Dalmadal.

As per another theory, the Malla kings used to have a lot of hailstone. One such hailstone of their deity was called as Dalmadal. The canon was probably named after that hailstone.

Gopal Singh (1730-45 CE) was a successor of Bir Hambir. He was very religious but was not very successful in handling problems. During his reign, the Marathas invaded Bishnupur. As per the legend, Lord Madan Mohan (Krishna) fired this weapon with his own hands to protect the town from the Marathas and their leader, Bhaskara Rao.

Today, this gigantic canon stands proudly as a part of historical and cultural background of Bishnupur.

Happy travelling.

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