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.

Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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