February 13, 2016

Lalji Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Lalji Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: The first laterite stone temple in Bishnupur 
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 160 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 a beautiful Eka Ratna temple called Lalji Temple in Bishnupur in this article.


History:

The area 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. 

Bishnupur rose into prominence during the reign of the King Bir Hambir. He introduce the worship of Madan Mohan (Lord Krishna). During his period as well as during the period of another King named Bir Singha, many beautiful brick temples were built. 

Stone was in short supply in Bengal. Probably, this lead to an alternative in the name of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The Malla Kings built many such terracotta temples in the 17th and 18th centuries CE in Bishnupur. 

Lalji Temple, which is also called as Radha Laliju temple was built by the Malla King Bir Singha in 1658 CE.


Temple Architecture and Layout:

Lalji temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bishnupur. It is considered as the first laterite stone temple in Bishnupur. It is dedicated to Radha and Krishna, however it is not a living temple and currently has no deity.

The temple is square on plan and stands on a high plinth. It is a fine example for Eka Ratna temple architecture style. It has a char chala (sloping) roof and a single sikhara (single pinnacled tower) on top of that. Most of the terracotta panels on the exterior except for few on the upper part of arched openings are destroyed.

 Happy travelling.



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