The handmade artifacts of Bishnupur in Bankura are quite famous all over the world. Terracotta is the raw material with which the highly skilled craftsmen of Bishnupur create various artifacts which are magnificent in design and flawless in their shape.

Terracotta Potteries


Terracotta potteries and artifacts are Bengal’s wealth and have a long and glorious history. The theme of the artifact is usually a folk one and quite explicit in its execution. The clay used to make all the handcrafted items is gathered from the river beds, ditches and pits. Usually 2-3 types of clays are mixed to form an alloy to make the world class artifacts appreciated by people. The craftsmen still use the traditional form of kilns to bake the clay pots using firewood, dry leaves and twigs. The pots are baked at a temperature of 700-800 degree Celsius. Not only men but the women also help in creating these beautiful objects. The women potters generally work on the wheels to give the pots their round neck on the upper halves. These round necks are perfect in shape. The potters also make clay dolls and other toys for children. Most of these toys and dolls are cast in burnt clay moulds which are typical of Bishnupur.  Not only toys and pots, they also make animal figures, wind chimes and jewelry items from burnt clay or terracotta which is quite famous. The terracotta horse structures are treasured by tourists.

Dokra Metal Casting


Dokra metal casting is another interesting form of craft practiced by the tribes of Bishnupur who are known as the Dokra Damar. This eponymous crafting technique is basically done with wax and the items created have a lovely hue and texture. The process of Dokra casting is also referred to as ‘cire perdue’ technique or lost wax casting process. Dokra items have clay as their core material over which wax is coated. After the wax coating, a clay paste coating is applied on the model and dried for some time. The traditional hollow casting method is followed by which wax is replaced by another molten metal; in this case it is usually brass. A number of objects are made from dokra which include cutlery, jewelry items, lamp, chains, religious symbols, bells and many more. People who love tribal designs buy dokra objects to beautify their homes. Dokra jewelries are also popular among women. The art of okra is a surviving legacy of the region.

Handcrafted Silverware


Handcrafted silverware is also hallmark of Bishnupur, Bankura tradition of handicrafts. The art of making silver items is quite old in the region with many skilled craftsmen practicing it. Silver enameling is done on various figures of home décor to enhance the appearance and add to their charm. Filigree designs on silverware can be found in abundance in the region. The objects comprising of these designs look outstanding and delicate. Then there are items made from silver. Various figures, jewelry items, utensils are made from silver which are embellished with beautiful designs making them appear unparallel in their beauty. These can be the perfect gifts for special occasions.

Tussar Silk


Tussar Silk is produced from silkworms. It is also known as Tusser, Tushar and Tussah and the sarees made from this particular silk is very popular in India. Its popularity is due to the gold sheen and has shorter fibres. It is the chosen material for saris and also punjabis for Indian men. The gold sheen makes it appear rich textured and also shimmering. Bulk production is Tussar silk is done in India out of which around 40% is from West Bengal. The tussar silk sarees produced in Bankura are famous for their kantha stitch which is a particular type of stitching process done by hand instead of machines. Kantha stitched silk sarees are quite expensive and exquisite. Tussar silk sarees are available in various beautiful colors. Tussar silk is also used to make punjabis for men and salwar suits for ladies. These traditional apparels also appear beautiful made from this silk. Producing Tussar silk is considered to be a cottage industry in Bankura where a large number of handlooms are found. This is a tradition of Bankura and thus the weavers still maintain the conventional handloom process to produce the silk sarees. Tussar Silk is also known by another name which is Kosa Silk. Tussar Silk clothes are exported to Gulf countries, to the USA and also various European countries. Know More →

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Sonamukhi gets its name from the local deity Swarnamukhi Devi and is a busy municipality in Bankura district in West Bengal. It is situated at a distance of 34 kilometers from Bishnupur and falls enroute to Hadal Narayanpur from Bishnupur. Apart from the temples located in Sonamukhi, it is also famous as the birthplace of KusumKumari Devi and Haranath who are deemed to be the reincarnations of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Vaishnav sect. Sonamukhi is therefore a place of religious and well as historical significance. It also holds lots of interest for the lovers of art and architecture.

Sonamukhi has a glorious history of being one of the leading producers of cotton, silk and indigo during the British rule in India. Therefore, it has been referred to as a weavers’ village in many documents and literary books of the time. However, now the village is popular because of its terracotta temples and witnesses visitors almost throughout the year. The most famous and unique one is the Sridhar temple which has 25 pinnacles. This feature of the temple renders it a unique quality. There are only 5 such temples in Bengal and Sridhar in Sonamukhi constructed by Kanai Rudra, a weaver is one of them. The Archaeology department of the state has shown lot of interest in this temple and it has been preserved beautifully by them.

Attractions


There are 5 Rasmanchas in Sonamukhi scattered in different parts of the town. You can spot them while exploring the town through its lanes, by lanes and markets. The Sridhar Temple is located in the interior and you will have to walk through a by lane to arrive at the destination. However, you will be astounded by the terracotta plaques on the temple walls. Scenes like Lord Shiva’s marriage, exchange of Lord Krishna as a child and Brahma originating from Lord Vishu’s naval are depicted on the walls. The wooden door of the temple has the typical style of temple gates in Bengal.

Around Sonamukhi


Some of the houses nearby are centuries old and you can see the remains of residential architectural specimens on them. At a short distance lies another temple. This is the temple of Sitala Devi. The temple is a flat roofed one with 5 pinnacled structure. Just behind the temple is the Siddeshwar Rasmancha painted in blue making a pretty picture. Nest to the Sitala temple is a Laxminarayan Jiu Temple which has been constructed following the typical duel style architecture. This temple was built in the year 1364 according to Bengali calendar.

The Swarnamukhi Temple is located in Shyambazaar area. Gaja Lakshmi is the shrine here with two elephants. The typical horse and elephant figures of Bankura can be spotted on the interiors especially on the walls. The Gopalbed area of Sonamukhi has the ruins of an ancient temple of which he pillars and the spire remain. The structures on the temple walls are quite impressive. The Giri Gobardhan and the renovated Radha Gobinda temples of Babuapara are beautiful to look at accompanied with Rasmanchas among which one is 17 pinnacled.

How to Reach


Visitors can reach Sonamukhi by road on bus and also by train.

Where to stay at Sonamukhi


In order to book the bungalow you can contact or get in touch with the DFO of the northern Division. Or you could back to Burdwan city which is 60 km form Sonamukhi.

Here are the details:

DFO- North Division,Bankura
PC- 722101

Back to Bankura

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Bankura, a quaint sleepy district in western part of the West Bengal, is best known for its terracotta temples standing since ancient times. Apart from that, it also seems to be Mother Nature’s special child which has been handpicked and is blessed with mountains, dense forests, streams and what not. Unfortunately, it had failed to attract tourists from far flung areas though it always seemed to be thronged with local and nearby tourists. But thanks to expansion of tourism sector, from the past two decades Bankura has rose to prominence.

Attractions


Here are some of the major attractions that have successfully catered its guests.

Bankura is the headquarters of Bankura district. Tourism wise, the district is divided in four zones- Eastern zone where Bishnupur, Jayrambati and Kamarpukur is located, in southern zone has Mukutmanipur and Jhilimili, western zone where Shusunia Hills and Biharinath Hill are located and in northern zone has Durgapur barrage and Koro Hills. Major local attractions of Bankura include Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram, Amarkanan, Botanical Garden, Chechuria Eco Park and Bankura Beliator. Don’t miss the tussar silk and handmade artefacts of this region which is a treat to the eyes.

Bankura Town

Bishnupur
When discussing the district of Bankura, Bishnupur deserves the first mention. It has made a prominent place in world map of tourism for its exquisite terracotta temples and world class saree called baluchari, well known for its sophistication. The temples scattered in Bishnupur and its nearby villages loudly speak of the place’s history of last three to four centuries. Main temples are Madanmohan Temple built in 1694. Continue Reading →

Jairambati and Kamarpukur
Jairambati is located in the Bishnupur subdivision of Bankura district. While Jairambati is the birthplace of Holy Mother Sarada Devi, wife and spiritual consort of the Great Swan Sri Ramkrishna, Kamarpukur, located three miles east of Jairambati is the birthplace of the great sage Ramkrishna Deva himself. Geographically it is in Arambagh subdivision of Hooghly district. Continue Reading →

Mukutmanipur
When you want a peaceful getaway from maddening crowd and urban life, Come to Mukutmanipur. Standing close to neighboring state Jharkhand, it is located on the confluence of two rivers Kumari and Kangshabati. Together with Jhilimili, Mukutmanipur attracts and caters more than a lakh of tourists every year. There is a dam made of earth in Mukutmanipur which is the second largest in the country. Continue Reading →

Ranibandh
Ranibandh remains a “natural” spectacle spreading 
across a good 7100 hectares, covered by around a dozen of hills and trees or vegetation like Palash, Arjun, Amlaki, Bahera, Piyashal and others. It is also home to several tribal groups including “Mundaa”, “Orao”, “Bhumij”, and “Shantaals”. You can view the God of these tribal groups perched on the peak of the hill/mountain. Continue Reading →

Sutan a tribal village
Do check out the Sutan Lake and enjoy a boating trip here. The steps to this lake descend directly from the bungalow. You can secure the expansive view of the moonlit forest from the tower, placed on the banks of the lake. Continue Reading →

Jhilimili
Jhilimili is a noted tourist destination, located in the Khatra subdivision of the district of Bankura. It is precisely located at the border of Purulia, Bankura and Midnapur. Situated just 70 kilometers away from the Bankura town, the Jhilmili district is an area of dense and imperturbable natural beauty. Continue Reading →

Shusunia Hills
If you are rock climber and at the same time, love historical sites, Shusunia Hills is the right place for you to explore. Archeological Department of West Bengal had found many stone-age tools like scrapers, hand axes, ovates etc from the foothills. These tools belonged to early, middle and the late stone-ages. It is a popular site among the anthropologists. Shusinia Hills are only 20 kms from Bankura and nearest railway station is thus same. Continue Reading →

Biharinath Hill
Biharinath Hill is a famous attraction in Bankura district of West Bengal. It is located in the northwestern side of the district and stands tall at a height of 448 meters being the highest in Bankura. It is a part of the Chotanagpur Plateau and was deemed to be the center of Jainism in ancient times. The area is known for its natural beauty and diversity. The lush green and dense forests are covered by blossoms of shimul, palash and kaash flowers spreading the beautiful fragrance to the surrounding. Biharinath Hill is flanked by River Damodar on one side and by Purulia district on the other.  Continue Reading →

Durgapur Barrage
Durgapur Barrage is situated across the Damodar River in Durgapur. It is located in the Burdwan district of West Bengal. It is a major part of the Damodar Valley Project creating hydroelectricity from Damodar and its tributary Barakar River. Durgapur Barrage constructed downstream is controlled by the government of West Bengal. The dam’s control along with the canal network was handed over to the West Bengal Government in the year 1964. Continue Reading →

Koro Hills
Koro Hill is quite a popular tourist attraction in Bankura. The hill is 400 feet high with a hamlet called Amarkanan at its foothills. This scenic location is only 19 kilometers away from Bankura and is a favored picnic and trekking spot for tourists and locals alike. Do avoid the months of May, June and July if you wish to trek the mountain due to heavy rainfall. Visit during the other 9 months and enjoy the surroundings and the village. Continue Reading →

Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram
The Ramkrishna Sebadal Asram is located in the vicinity of Amarkanan and is one of the various tourist destinations that you will see in the wonderful district of Bankura in West Bengal. The Asram was built in order to commemorate Amar Chattapadhyay, who happened to be a freedom fighter. Continue Reading →

Amarkanan
Amarkanan is a tourist destination located at a certain distance from Bankura. It is basically a small village that is now growing to become a town of sorts with the introduction of centers of education such as a school and a college. It is located right at the foothills of Koro Hill. Koro Hill is a 400 feet tall hill and is fairly popular among the people who keep visiting Bankura every now and then. It is situated 19 km from Bankura. Continue Reading →

Botanical Garden
The Bankura Botanical Garden is situated 21 kilometers away from Beliator, the census town of Bankura. There is an amazing feeling of opting for a night stay at the Bon Bungalow, nearby, situated at Churamanipur which can be reached by turning right from the Makra Road. Continue Reading →

Chechuria Eco Park
The Chechuria Eco Park is located at a distance of 170 km from Kolkata and 26 kilometers away from Bishnupur, which is the prime tourist location in Bankura. It has a large water body and has lots of area where small children can play to their hearts’ content. Continue Reading →

Bankura Beliator
Beliator is the census town of Bankura, in West Bengal. It remains well-known for being the birthplace of Jamini Roy. Situated by the river Shali, this place has an average elevation of 259 feet or 79 metres. For those visiting Beliatore, Channder Graam remains a must-visit as it’s the birthplace of Jamini Roy, the famous India painter awarded with Padma Bhushan in the year 1955. Continue Reading →

Chhander Gram
The court poets and artists of the Malla kings used to live here. It is believed that the village “Chhanda” derives its name from these “Chhandakars” (meaning poets or artists in Bengali). However, there are conflicting views regarding the origin of the name as well. Some opine that the name is taken from “Chandrahaar”. Continue Reading →

Sonamukhi
Sonamukhi gets its name from the local deity Swarnamukhi Devi and is a busy municipality in Bankura district in West Bengal. It is situated at a distance of 34 kilometers from Bishnupur and falls enroute to Hadal Narayanpur from Bishnupur. Visitors can reach Sonamukhi by road on bus and also by train. Apart from the temples located in Sonamukhi, it is also famous as the birthplace of KusumKumari Devi and Haranath who are deemed to be the reincarnations of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Vaishnav sect. Continue Reading →

Handmade Artefacts
The handmade artifacts of Bishnupur in Bankura are quite famous all over the world. Terracotta is the raw material with which the highly skilled craftsmen of Bishnupur create various artifacts which are magnificent in design and flawless in their shape.  Continue Reading →

Best time to visit Bankura


The ideal time to visit Bankura and its nearby places is from October to March. Winter is very pleasant in this region. Scorching summer or downpours of monsoon can ruin your travel plans. Visit Bankura at the onset of cold season and enjoy your tour to the fullest.

 

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Located in the Bankura district in West Bengal, Bishnupur is also known as Vishnupur. This town is situated in what was previously known as Rarh and is well known for its terracotta temples and a culinary delight named postor bora.

Tourist Locations at Bishnupur


Jorbangla Temple: Jorebangla Temple of Keshto Rai was erected during the 17th century by Raghunath Singha Dev II, who happened to be a local monarch. The roof of this temple is built in the chala style, which is a classical and eminently identifiable tradition of Bengali architecture. The temple also features terracotta carvings that can be described as elaborate.

Shyamrai Temple: Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai was also built by King Raghunath Singha during 1643. The walls in this temple also have the usual terracotta carvings and depict various incidents from the life of Krishna. This is also one of the bigger temples in Bishnupur.

Dalmadal Caman is historically important as well. It was said to have been used to protect the city when the Bargis or Maratha raiders attacked it.

Madanmohan Temple: The Madanmohan Temple was built by King Durjana Singh Deva during 1694 AD and it has been constructed in the Ekaratna style. It has a flat roof and is square in shape. It also features carved cornices that are topped by a pinnacle. The carvings on the temple walls are also lovely to look at and show scenes from mythological texts like Ramayana, Puranas and Mahabharat.

Rasmancha: The Rasmancha is the most age old structure in Bishnupur constructed using bricks. Bir Hambir built this pyramid like structure in 1587 and it is located right in the midst of the town. When the Rasa Festival is organized deities from all the other temples are brought to this place. Some canons, which were used during the reign of the Malla monarchs, can be seen here as well.

Lalbandh: Bir Singh built the seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh in 1658. Lakes were made for drinking water and to protect the town from enemy.

Bishnupur Fair: Newest attraction of Bishnupur is ‘Bishnupur Mela’ or ‘Bishnupur Fair’. It starts at 23rd December and ending date is 27th December near the Madanmohan Temple. Now it has become a national fair.

Bishnupur Utsav: A recent addition is the Bishnupur Utsav just after the fair. It is a classical music and dance festival in recognition of the ‘Bishnupur Gharana‘ in music.

Jogesh Chandra Museum or Acharya Jogesh Chandra Purakriti Bhawan opening time 11 am-7 pm, Entry fee Rs. 5, Telephone: (03244) 252697

Following are the other leading spots for tourists at Bishnupur:

  • Nandalal Temple
  • Chhinnamasta Temple
  • Radhamadhab Temple
  • Jugol Kishore Temple
  • Kalachand Temple
  • Mahapravu Temple
  • Radhagovinda Temple
  • Radhalaljiu
  • Sarbamangala
  • Krishna-Balaram Temple
  • Mrinmoyee Temple
  • Gumgarh
  • Radhashyam Temple
  • Pathar Durja
  • Garh Durja
  • Malleswar
  • Stone Chariot
  • Sanreswar
  • Nutan Mahal
  • Radhalaljiu Temple
  • Shreenibas Acharya’s memorial

Bishnupur is a small town and all the major tourist attractions are located in close proximity. So, one can travel these by foot or by an auto-rickshaw. However, there is also the added option of a car or an auto rickshaw.

Bishnupur History


Bishnupur presents an opportunity of heritage tourism to the tourists all over the world. Belonging to the Bankura district of West Bengal it has a glorious history and some of the best preserved terracotta temples of historical significance can be found in Bishnupur. Only 130 kilometers from the capital city of Kolkata, it is a lovely getaway from the din and bustle of busy metro life and be lost in the charm of the historical marvels.

Bishnupur was ruled by the Hindu rajas during the Gupta period and paid tribute to Emperor Samudra Gupta after which the kingdom fell into obscurity. It oscillated between being a vassal state and an insignificant independent principality. It again regained power and prestige with the Malla rulers due to which it is often known as the Mallabhum. The Malla rulers were the most illustrious ones of the kingdom with a penchant for building Vishnu temples which is the claim to fame of Bishnupur till date.  The Mallas were Vaishnavas and several terracotta Vishnu temples were built under their supervision in Bankura district during 17th and 18th centuries. These temples are the most marvelous specimens of classical architectural style of Bengal.

Bishunupur flourished under the patronage of the Malla kings of Bankura district and they made it their capital. The founder of the dynasty was Raghunath I (Adi Malla) in 694 AD whose name when translated means the ‘supreme or unique wrestler. He was also known as the Bagdi king of Bishnupur and was a Vaishnav. Adi Malla was succeeded by his son, Jay Malla followed by 40 other kings among whom Kalu Malla, Kau Malla, Jhau Malla and Sur Malla are quite well known for extending their territory and ruling the land with able hands.

During 1589 AD Bir Hambir, another famous name in history ruled the kingdom during which the worship of Madan Gopal was commenced. He is known to be the contemporary of Emperor Akbar and built the Rasmancha. Bir Hambir was converted to Vaishnavism by Srinivasa, the great devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After Bir Hambhir, Raghunath Singh rose to power and was the first king of Bishnupur to use Singh- the Kshatriya title. The golden period in art and religion began during his rule with several temples being constructed. The Jor Bangla, Shyam Rai and Kalachand Temples and the Rasmancha were by Raghunath Singh between 1643 and 1656.

Bir Singh took the reins of the kingdom after Raghunath Singh and equally capable a ruler. He built the Lalji temple in 1658 and seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh. His queen was also a devotee of Lord Vishnu and built temples of Murali Mohan and Madan Mohan during 1655. Durjan Singh was the last ruler of the Hindu Kings in Bishnupur after which the power fell into the hands of the Muslim monarchs. Apart from the terracotta architecture, Bishnupur also gained importance for its Tussar silk and Baluchari sari along with the Bishnupur Gharana of classical music.

How to get to Bishnupur


Kolkata is the location that is most convenient if one wants to visit Bishnupur from outside West Bengal. From Kolkata one can avail buses run by Calcutta State Transport Corporation or South Bengal State Transport Corporation. These buses are available from Esplanade and the journey lasts from 4-5 hours. The distance by road is shorter than by train at 150 km.

In case one wants to take the train they can avail any of the following options:

Rupashi Bangla Express, Santragachi 6.25 am
Purulia Express, Howrah 4.50 pm
Siromoni Fast Passenger, Howrah 5.45 pm
Santragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express, Santragachi 9.25 pm ( Sunday only)
Rajjyarani Triweekly Express, Shalimar 6.40 am
Aranyak Express, Shalimar 7.45 am
Howrah-Chakradharpur Passenger, Howrah 11.05 pm

The journey by train covers 201 km and lasts for 3 and half hours to a shade more than 4 hours. One can also get to Kharagpur, Bardhaman, Midnapur and Durgapur from Howrah by train and then take a bus from there. One could also get to Arambag or Midnapore by bus and then take a local bus from these places to Bishnupur. These local buses are available after every 45 minutes. It takes about 3 hours to get to Bishnupur from Arambagh and from Midnapore the time is half an hour more. One might also take a bus to Bishnupur from Tarakeshwar or Asansol.

What is the ideal time to visit Bishnupur


Bishnupur experiences rather high temperatures during the summer season. So, it is better to visit it during the winters when the temperatures come down and the conditions are better.

Where to stay at Bishnupur


Bishnupur Tourist Lodge, Bishnupur
(Run by West Bengal Tourism)
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone: 03244-252013, 253561
Kolkata booking: 033-22437260, 22485168, 22488271.
Standard double-rooms, 4-bedded rooms and dorms are available here.

Meghmallar Hotel, Opp. Bus Stand, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500
Telephone: 03244-252258

Hotel Bishnupur, Bishnupur Town
Telephone: 03244-252243

Pourasabha Parytakabas

Bishnupur Lodge

Monalisa Lodge, Bishnupur Town, Bankura
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone.: 09831031895
Monalisa Loge is a budget option to stay in Bishnupur. It offers budget accommodation in its standard double rooms.

Bishnupur Hotel, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500

Laxmi Park Hotel, Near State Bank Of India, Gailapara, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 2,000

Udayan Lodge, College Road, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 900

Dev & Dev Lodge

Mallabhum Lodge

Nearby Places


Mukutmanipur
Forest Lodge: 22437260, 22370060-61
Hotel Aparajita: 033- 22437260

Jhilimili
03243-240217/240300, 033-22485829

Jairambati and Kamarpukur
Ramkrishna Mission- 03244-244214, 03211-244222

Koro Hills
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Botanical Garden
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Kalachand Temple

Susunia Hills
Youth Hostel -033-22480626

Sutan Forest
Forest Lodge-033-24799032/7392, 03242-250758

Amarkanan
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Bankura Beliator
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram
Mandir Guest House

Biharinath Hill

Ranibandh
Ranibandh Forest Guest House

Chhander Gram

DFO- North Division, Bankura

Chechuria Eco Park
DFO, Panchet Soil Conservation
Telephone: (03244) 252189

Sonamukhi
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Back to Bankura

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