Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur, West Bengal

From Ilambazar we drove to Hetampur, a dust covered, sleepy, remote town just to see two forgotten terracotta temples. This post is on Chandranath Shiva Temple. While it features in the ASI list of protected monuments in West Bengal, I am sure not a single Indian Rupee is spent on its maintenance. Almost the whole of its surface area is covered with black dried moss, with patches of reddish brown tiles peeping from here and there. The monument badly needs a face scrub and a good coat of terracotta touch.

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur
Terracotta Temples of Hetampur

Goddess Durga in one of the panels.

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur

Chandranath Shiva Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Soon I overcame the disappointment of seeing its dilapidated state. I was fascinated and full of admiration for the brilliant art work on the facade. So much of it is hidden; there is good scope for wonderful pictures here. It is the 9 pinnacled, navaratna style of Bengali architecture. Each pinnacle is topped with woman’s figure with arms stretched out.

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur in a very narrow space.

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur has a good fusion of Bengali and English art style and subjects. The façade has a mix of stories of several themes and subjects.

Some of the panels had figures depicting English dressing styles of 19th century. The depiction of English women in the walls hints at their presence and their influence on local art.  There is a portrait of Queen Victoria, European nuns, hat wearing men and priests. The architects and artists of those days were definitely impressed by their styles or were they forced to depict them on temples? Nobody was around to answer any of our questions.

There is hardly any space on either side of the temple; a shop on one side and double storied house on the other. Though a double courtyard enhances the entrance. Inside is a white Shiva Linga, it did look like prayers were being offered here. I just felt like praying, “O! Lord Shiva, please protect your own abode from the land sharks!”

Other terracotta temples of Hetampur

Dewanji Temple is another terracotta Temple of Hetampur that is wearing away and succumbing to time. Gol Mandir, another terracotta temple no longer exists. Thankfully its memory survives in photographs. Mukul Dey had photographed these terracotta Temples in 1940s.

Chandranath Shiva Temple, Hetampur

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51 Responses

  1. Joop Zand says:

    So nice all the details…..i like these pictures very much.

    Greetings, Joop

  2. Excellent post.Nice photographs.

  3. TexWisGirl says:

    i am always impressed with the details in these monuments.

  4. Sylvia K says:

    Yes, I too, am so impressed with the detail and the beauty of the temples!! I do hope this one is preserved and saved! Beautiful captures and a great post as always, Indrani!!

  5. Cloudia says:

    I join your prayer. Marvelous job. We are learning from you Aloha♥

  6. George says:

    The details on this temple are truly magnificent. I hope the temple can be maintained and restored.

  7. Anna says:

    I really love it , Indrani!
    Gorgeous details…
    Warm greetings, Anna

  8. its sad that such beautiful temples are left without any maintenance. esp when they are already with the ASI and recognised as heritage structures! and its so beautiful!!!! just wish i can go there someday!

  9. Kusum Sanu says:

    Beautiful temple! Very different architecture.

  10. Rajesh says:

    Incredible craftsmanship. I wish they had maintained it properly.

  11. i am in awe of the ornate temples in india.

  12. ladyfi says:

    Wow – the details in these shots are beautiful!

  13. Nine Pinnacled structure is truly marvelous, Alas, its let to decay. Its so sad to see such rare beauties being left without care. Either compliments, for digging such rare treasures

  14. A beautiful temple in a superb scenery, love it.

  15. Joyful says:

    I'm loving the close ups of this fabulous structure.

  16. Reader Wil says:

    There are so many secrets hidden in these ancient buildings. Interesting to see Queen Victoria depicted on this temple.
    Thanks for your comment!
    Wil, ABCW Team

  17. The art work is fantastic. Too bad it isn't properly maintained.

  18. Another
    great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  19. Karen says:

    Beautiful detail in the carvings!

  20. Bibi says:

    Oh, my….I can see where I'll be headed next time…

  21. Lovely architecture and what a fusion in arts both of Hindu and Christian Gods !

  22. Carver says:

    Beautiful temple. The artwork is so intricate. I'm amazed how people can create works like these.

  23. So beautiful! Love your pictures.

  24. An excellent post is this. Really nice photographs and quite informative.

  25. Nice Detailed Post with the informative captures to go with it.. 🙂

  26. India never stops to surprise me a temple with figures of English people…wow. She(India) surely has a big heart. Once again amazing find and what attention to detail.

  27. D.Nambiar says:

    Nice to see some Bengali temple architecture. (This is a part of the country I haven't been to. :() And nice to see a terracotta structure. I hope the moss doesn't shorten the temple's life.

  28. great craftsman ship

  29. The detail is truly amazing. Nice pictures.

  30. Spectacular captures of the magnificent temple! Nice informative post..

  31. Impressive terracotta work..there are many such temples in the remote areas of West Bengal which are fading out with time just because there is no proper maintenance.

  32. Indrani, Hope they see your Post & do something to save our ancient treasures… Much needed.

  33. India has such a long history and so many national treasures that I suppose it's too expensive to keep them all in pristine shape. Sad, isn't it?

  34. Thats an interesting story about the architecture of the place !

  35. DeniseinVA says:

    The temple is magnificent, the carvings are always interesting. A treasure indeed and It would be sad to lose it. I hope it can be restored one day.

  36. Prasad Np says:

    very exquisitely carved temple and also looks in good shape…

  37. thnx for sharing this beautiful temple.

  38. Soham Roy says:

    I have been here too..But your article does proper justice to the place…You didn't just visit..You actually lived the moment..

  39. Never knew such a place existed.Thanks for highlighting – The picture says that must be a great place to be at -The carvings are beautiful

  40. Excellent photos and post…

  41. I love all the carving details, a beautiful place. cheers.

  42. Such a great architecture! Hats off to the architects! Your photography is as wonderful as always!

  43. Thanks for sharing such an informative post with lovely photos!

  44. Unique temple. Love to visit this someday.

  45. good pictures….am sorry to see it's not being looked after well….

  46. The foreigners being carved on the temple. Its fascinating… Wish you had the answer for that !!

    Mail ASI that a treasure is hidden under this temple and the next day temple renovation will start !!

    Shiva destroys! And I love that !!

  47. Fascinating! Do you know how old this temple is? I wouldn't be surprised if not because a lot of our heritage is perishing with no records…

  48. Shaivi says:

    Beautiful! I am speechless!

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