February 15, 2016

Madan Mohan Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Madan Mohan Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: One of the most beautiful temples of Bishnupur; arguably the best terracotta panels are found in this temple
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 an outstandingly beautiful temple called Madan Mohan 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. 

Madan Mohan Temple was built by the Malla King Durjan Singh in 1694 CE.

Temple Architecture and Layout:

Madan Mohan Temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bishnupur. The terracotta panels that are found in this temple can be considered as the most beautiful among all temples in Bishnupur.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is called as Madan Mohan in this temple. It is a living temple enshrining the metal idols of Krishna and Radha. 

The temple is square on plan and stands on a high plinth made of laterite blocks. It has three arched entrances on three directions (east, west and south). The roof is sloping on four sides with a single sikhara (tower) in the centre, thus making this temple as Eka Ratna temple. 

The ceilings are carved with different designs. The outer walls and the pillars are all full of extremely beautiful intricately carved terracotta sculptures, depicting various scenes from the epics and Puranas. Most of them are related to Krishna and Krishna Lila. The most notable sculpture is Nabanarikunja, where nine females form an elephant.

The mandap called as Chandi Mandap, which is situated opposite to the temple also looks very attractive with a sloped chala type roof.

The entrance of the complex also has the beautiful chala type sloping roof and has three arched entrances.

To conclude, it is not easy to describe the beauty of this site in simple words. Neither any photograph would do the justice. 

 Happy travelling.








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