February 9, 2016

Radhe Shyam Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Radhe Shyam Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: Terracotta temple with Islam style doorway
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 temple called Radhe Shyam 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 centuries CE in Bishnupur. 

Radhe Shyam temple was built by the Malla King Chaitanya Singha in 1758 CE.

Temple Architecture and Layout:

Radhe Shyam is one of the most beautiful temples of Bishnupur. It is located near the famous Jor Bangla temple. It is a living temple enshrining the idols of Radha and Krishna (Shyam) in sanctum. The sanctum also has the big relief images of Chaitanya and Nityananda. There is another shrine in the temple which enshrines the idols of Puri Jagannath along with Chaitanya and Nityananda.

The south facing laterite temple is square on plan. It contains the lime stone stucco decoration on the exterior walls. It is built as per Eka Ratna style (single pinnacled). The pinnacle is unique in shape. 

Near the temple, there is a small artistically beautiful Tulsi mancha found. 

The artworks on the exterior temple walls are attractive. The image of Vishnu in the reclining posture is noteworthy. The scenes from the epics and floral designs are also found as the stucco images.

The temple is enclosed within a large courtyard enclosed by large boundary walls. The entrance of the courtyard consists of a triple arched Islamic style gateway. The gateway has two domes like structure with open windows on it.

Happy travelling.

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