Nan­dalal Tem­ple, Bish­nupur

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This spec­tac­u­lar fes­ti­val hon­ors the birth of the beloved Hindu ele­phant-headed god, Lord Gane­sha, pop­u­larly wor­shiped for his abil­ity to re­move ob­sta­cles and bring good for­tune. 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.

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