February 1, 2016

Nandalal Temple, Bishnupur

Site Name: Nandalal Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: One of the seven Ek Ratna temples of 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 but little known temple called Nandalal temple in Bishnupur in this article.


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. 

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 century CE in Bishnupur. 

Temple Architecture and Layout:

There are seven Ek Ratna (meaning single pinnacled) temples located in Bishnupur. Nandalal temple is the first Ek Ratna temple in that group. It is located very near to Dalmadal Canon. In earlier days, all these laterite temples were all covered with stucco images. However, with passing of time, most of the stucco works are lost. 

Nandalal temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The south facing temple has square ground with a single tower resting on a curved roof. It is one of the many temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in Bishnupur. However, currently there is no deity inside the temple. The exterior of the temple is plain without any decoration. It is not known who built this temple. However, based on the architectural style, it is believed that it should belong to the 17th century CE.

Happy travelling.

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