February 4, 2016

Radha Madhav Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Radha Madhav Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: A fine example for Ek Ratna temple style 
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 very beautiful temple called Radha Madhav Temple in Bishnupur in this article.


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 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. Opposite to Nandalal temple, a cluster of three temples called as Jor Mandir are located. Adjacent to that, Radha Gobinda temple is located. Hardly five minutes walk from this temple would take us to another Ek Ratna temple, Radha Madhav temple. 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. 

Radha Madhav temple is a beautiful laterite temple built as per Ek Ratna temple architecture style. Like most of the other temples in Bishnupur, this is also dedicated to Lord Krishna (called as Radha Madhav in this temple). However, there is no deity found in this temple currently. The temple is square on plan. It has a sloping roof surmounted by a single sikhara, thus making them as Ek Ratna. It has few bas-relief carvings. 

Adjacent to the temple, there is small Do Chala mandap (double sloped roof). This structure enhances the beauty of the temple.

The temple has any bas-relief images depicting the scenes from Ramayan and Krishna Lila and also few deities such as Dasavatar, Ganesha and some animals.

The temple was built by Churamoni Devi, the wife of Krishna Singha, the Malla King, in 1737 CE.

Happy travelling.

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