February 16, 2016

Malleswar Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Malleswar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: Temple of Lord Shiva in the land of Lord Krishna
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 about a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in this land of Lord Krishna.


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. 

Among all the temples that are dedicated to Lord Krishna in Bishnupur, the temple of Malleswar is unique as it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by the Malla King Bir Singha in 1622 CE. He became King only in the year 1656 CE. He built this temple much before he was enthroned. 

Temple Architecture and Layout:

Malleswar temple is one of the earliest temples of Bishnupur. It is located near Jor Bangla temple. It is square on plan with a rekha sikhara. The original sikhara is replaced with an octagonal sikhara now.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, but there is no deity found now. A beautiful idol of Nandi is found in front of the shrine. 

This temple looks unique in its style compared to the other temples of Bishnupur. 

Near this temple, an old Thakur Dalan is situated. Thakur Dalans have become more like an heritage symbol nowadays. In those days, the Durga deity used to be placed in this building during Navaratri celebrations. This particular Thakur Dalan of Bishnupur has heritage importance.

 Happy travelling.

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