Bishnupur, the temple town in the Bankura district of West Bengal is welcoming you with its lavish heritage, proud culture, brilliant architecture and tales of terracotta. Adi Malla established the Malla dynasty. Jagat Malla, the 10th Malla king shifted his kingdom to Bishnupur. Due to short supply of stone in Bengal, burnt clay bricks came as a substitute and architects of Bengal found the new way of a beautiful craft known as ‘Terracotta’. During the seventeenth century, the art of terracotta reached its highest peak. Raja Jagat Malla and his descendants built numerous temples made of terracotta and stone art.
Plan your holiday destination in this serene place that is world-famous for its ‘Baluchari’ saree and various forms of artifacts. Explore a town that speaks the language of terracotta. Live in the rich essence of Hindu mythology amidst innumerable architectural structures with majestic footprints of terracotta artwork. The variety of temples, whispering history and enchanting art-forms will surely give you goosebumps. .
Mrinmoyee temple, the oldest temple of Bishnupur was established by King Jagat Malla in 997 AD. According to local history, Maa Mrinmoyee ordered the king in his dreams to build the temple. Goddess Durga is worshipped here as Maa Mrinmoyee. Although the temple had to be reconstructed, the idol made of Ganga clay remained same.
Experience the oldest Durga Puja of Bengal (1021 years) and rich heritage immersing into a different flavor of religious warmth during the Puja. The festival starts with the worship of “Baro thakurani”, “Mejo thakurani” and “Choto thakurani” respectively, after setting up of a clay pot or “Ghat”. On the sacred moment of “Mahastami- Sandhipuja”, a cannon is fired and then vegetables are sacrificed.
Shyam Rai temple
When you are in Bishnupur, this one pinnacled ‘Bishnu’ temple is a must-see. Certainly, the temple is one of the main structural forms carrying the message of the finest terracotta art in its body. Malla Raja Durjan Singh Dev established the temple in the name of Lord Madan Mohan in 1694. This is an active temple, till date.
Jore Shreni Temple / Poramatir Haat Area
Though known as Jor Mandir (meaning pair of temples), it is actually a complex of three Eka-Ratna temples: Two big temples of same size and a small one. These temples were built by Malla King Krishna Singh (pronunciation: sing-ho) in 1726. These ‘Eka-Ratna’ or ‘single towered’ temples are made of rust-coloured laterite. The big temple has a square base of 11.8m X 11.8m and a height of 12.8m above a low platform. The roofs of all three temples are typical Bengali ‘chala’ type surmounted by a ‘sikhara’ or tower. Around the innermost sanctuary where the idol is kept, there are covered porches on three sides. Except the rear wall, on each of these three sides there are three arched openings.
Recently a weekly cultural festival named ‘Poramatir Haat’ started here making Jor Shreni temples as backdrop.
Lalbandh - History remains in water
Bishnupur Archeological Museum
Acharya Yogesh Chandra Purakirti Bhawan is the local Museum in Bishnupur and is a must-see for people who love archeology, art, and history. You will get to see around 100 sculptures from the 10th-12th century, near about 5000 manuscripts, different types of folk arts, photographs, irreplaceable specimens of textiles and many more ancient items.
The Cannon of 112 quintals, is built with pure iron material by Raja Gopal Singh in 1742. Dalmadal measures 3.8 meters in length along with a barrel of 28.5 cm. The cannon is blessed with 63 iron rings and is rust proof. According to the legend, Lord Madan Mohan himself fired the Dalmadal Cannon to protect Bishnupur from the Maratha-attack and drove them out.
The name 'Pora Matir Haat' actually means- a weekly marketplace where the burned clay products are being sold. You can enjoy this 'haat' every Saturday afternoon at the 'Jor Mandir' premises. Apart from buying terracotta and other crafts, tusu, bhadu, baul, kirtan, chau, ran-pa etc. can be enjoyed here. The vivid colours of the 'Rarh-Bengal' culture gather here to soothe the eyes and comfort the mind in the 'Pora Matir Haat'.
In Bishnupur, there are two proud gateways to the fort. Local people addressed them as ‘Gar Darja’. After crossing the small gate, there comes a gigantic gate that was the entrance of the Bishnupur Royal Kingdom. ‘Gar Darja’ was made to protect the royals from enemies. It has a huge terrace and secret chambers. Soldiers used to keep track of trespassers from the ‘Gar’ and made surprise attacks to smash them.
These twin temples are dedicated to Mahadev and located in the village of Dihar which is 8 km distant from Bishnupur. You will see a Nandi Bull seated at the entrance of the Sareswar Temple as if it is protecting it. These temples, made of laterite stone, are majestic examples of Oriya Deul style architecture. This place becomes a pilgrimage during ‘Mahashivratri’ festival and ‘Gajan’.
Another place with great historical values is the airport in Joypur jungle. British Govt. made the airport in Joypur during the era of World War II. You can witness the airport or runway while exploring the jungle. Besides heritage importance, this place is famous for resident and migratory birds. It is famous for Paradise Flycature and Jacobin Cuckoo.
Baluchari Waving Center
The Baluchari sarees are known for their intricate designs and handwork on them. No other saree uses as many mythological designs as the Baluchari sarees. They are dominated by stories and characters from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. These characters give a royal look to the Baluchari sari. Saris depicting the story of Lord Krishna explaining the Bhagavad Gita to Arjun is one of the most popular design of Baluchari Saree.
The majestic temple was built by Malla-king Raghunath Singha in 1643. The temple, made of laterite stone is the largest stone made temple. By centuries of rain and wind, the architecture of this 64 feet height five pinnacled temple has been eroded heavily, but you will still find the structure attractive and mysterious.During Dolyatra, the main idol comes into the temple for seven days to be worshipped.
Apart from heritage at Lalgarh there is a eco park where you can spend some quality times with you near and dear ones. You will hear many beautiful butterflies within the park area. There is a watch tower within the park from where you can see an overview of Lalbandh and Part of bishnupur town. This place opens from 8 am and closes 6 pm.
Have you ever seen an island that is wrapped with the love of striking green and the touch of blue waterbody? Come and feel the unspoiled serenity of 'Sabujdip'.You will be mesmerized to see a hillock, 'Bardi' is sitting calmly beside Sabujdip. Find the peace of your inner mind, be free from anxiety and adore the lively nature.
Bishnupur is famous for Baluchari sarees and terracotta artifacts. The world famous Baluchari-design was inspired by the terracotta tiles of the temples. Take a tour to nearby Panchmura village which is the home to famous terracotta industry. Get a live demonstration on terracotta crafts and take beautiful souvenirs or jewellery to gift your near and dear ones. Enhance the aristocracy of your drawing room with the long necked terracotta horse which is the logo of All India Handicrafts as well. The famous indoor game played by Malla kings was ‘Dashabatar Tash’ and it is internationally famous as a collector’s item.The Lantern and handloom industries are also very much popular here. Be a part of ‘Bishnupur Mela’ held 23-27 dec each year to create memories for a lifetime. Not only these, the temple town has its own musical origin popularly known as ‘Bishnupur Gharana of Singing’. Bishnupur Music Festival occurs on the first week of February.