Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-XII)


Bankura District, which forms a part of the eastern Chhota Nagpur Plateau, has been decorated by nature with her own hands. There are old brown hills, gleaming rivers, several ancient temples, and monuments here that are the repositories of the culture and tradition of Bankura. Bankura is located in the western part of the State of West Bengal. It is a part of Bardhaman Division of the State and included in the area known as "Rarh" in Bengal. It ranks 4th according to Population and literacy rate of 2001 Census in the State.

It is here that the unique ‘Vishnupur Gharana’ was developed. During the medieval period, several poets of the region came in the limelight, among which Chandidasa, the creator of Shi Krishnakirtan is the most prominent. In Mahabharata, Bankura is often referred as Suhmobhumi. 

Bankura is located some 185 kilometres from Kolkata, in the western side of Bankura district in the state of West Bengal in India. Bankura has Paschim Medinipure district lying towards the south, Bardhaman district in the north and Purulia district in the western side. River Damodar flows along the northern side of Bankura.

Terracotta horses

The town of Bankura is famous for its culture and tradition as well as local arts and crafts. Local architecture and terracotta art defines Bankura, especially the terracotta Bankura Horses which are terracotta figurines famous all over India. The place is synonymous with handicrafts. Apart from this, other forms of art like paintings and different genres of music have their roots in this region.

On the historical front, Bankura rose to prominence under the Malla kings who ruled over this area. Under the Mallas, Bishnupur, a town close to Bankura became an important centre for classical music and temple building.

Attractions of Bankura:


Terracotta work on the wall of temple

Bishnupur, 152 km from Kolkata and 34 km from Bankura, now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura District, is a seat of terracotta architecture, crafts and culture. For almost a thousand years, it was the capital of the Malla dynasty of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned when Mughal rule weakened under the last monarchs of that dynasty.
The patronage of the Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples, for which the town is justly famous, were built during this period. Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is also famous for its terracotta crafts and its Baluchari sarees woven in pure silk with motifs representing Indian mythology. Royal patronage also gave rise to the Bishnupuri gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music and the Bishnupur school of painting. Bishnupur is famous for temples with terracotta art and large water area and there are approximately 16 temples in the Bishnupur. Most of the temples made in the decade of Mallaraja namely Jore Banglow, Rsmanch, Madanmohan Mandir, Shyam Roy Mandir (Panchcura) & Chhinnmasta Mandir etc.Bishnupur is famous for it own musical gharana (Classical Music) and Dalmadal Kaman (canon).

 Famous Temples in Bishnupur:

 Malleshwar Temple :  

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is the oldest temple in Bishnupur.

Rasmancha :  

Built in the late 16th century by King Bir Hambir, the temple has an unusual elongated pyramidical tower, surrounded by hut-shaped turrets. Idols were kept here for public worship during Ras-utsav.

Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Raya :  

Built in 1643 AD by King Raghunath Singha. The walls are richly decorated with terracotta carvings featuring different aspects of Lord Krishna’ s life.

Jorebangla Temple of Keshta Raya :  

Built by King Raghunath Singha Dev II in 1655 AD, the ornate terracotta carvings are set off by the roof in the classic chala style of typical Bengal architecture.

Madanmohan Temple :  

King Durjana Singh Deva built the temple in 1694 AD in the ekaratna style. It is a square flat-roofed building with carved cornices, surmounted by a pinnacle. Impressive carvings on the walls depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.

Kalachand Temple  :  

It is of ekratna style and is on the bank of Lal-bandh.


The second biggest earther Dam of India, Mukutmonipur is 55Km away from Bankura (a 2 hours drive) District Head Quarters and is situated at the confluence of river Kangsabati and Kumari. Green forests and hillocks surround the vast bluish tract of water. The undulating terrain along the southern edge of the Kangsabati Water Reservoir spreads as a  three-dimensional necklace of green and Terracotta colour. The stand-till water of the reservoir look like a large blue tinted glass mirror reflecting the  vast expanse of sky over it. The vastness  of the lake stretches as far your eye can reach. The view of the sunset with the lake on the four ground is breath taking . You must also experience the moonlit night around the reservoir . The surface of the static water turns into a shiny silvery plate gifted by God. 


Jhilimili is situated 70 Km away from Bankura Town. It is a beautiful, undisturbed dense natural forest. The road from Ranibund to Jhilimili offers a wonderful view of spectacular forests on varying heights on both sides, finally reaching Jhilimili, which is mounted on the top of a hillock. The sparkle of micaceous soil adds to the beauty of the environment.

 Image Courtesy: https://www.google.co.in/search?q=bankura&tbm

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