Hat Tala Temple, Ilambazar, West Bengal

From Surul we left for Ilambazar which too had some old terracotta temples. The Hat Tala Temple Ilambazar being the most famous. Having read about these crumbling temples, my main motive was to capture them in bytes before time can complete its ruining effect on them. The distance from Surul is 15kms approx. Reaching Ilambazar was easy but the real task was finding out the hidden temples.Ilambazar was once a very prosperous town dealing various businesses like indigo, brass, lac work. Its strategic location in the banks of River Ajoy made it both prosperous and populous. That is history! Today it looks like a neglected little town, with no signs of high rise buildings which is to an extent sign of prosperity of any town. The roads look deserted; locals stared at us with questioning looks: what are you people doing here?

Hat Tala Temple Ilambazar

After asking many locals, after crossing many lanes and by lanes, some of them twice, we arrived at the Hat Tala Temple. A hexagonal structure shielded by a tin roof and 3 ft. tall meshed barricade! That is all that remains of the famous terracotta temple! Thanks to the meshed barricade at least the wall panels aren’t destroyed!

The terracotta plaques are beautiful, each different from the other. It looked as if the artists took care not to repeat patterns and designs. The panels here have a different shade compared to other terracotta temples because the clay used is brownish in color. Clay is the most abundantly and easily available material for the local artists, all sourced from the banks of river Ganges. The clay is mixed with fine sand and bits of laterite and mashed jute for better binding. Else the panels would not hold any ornamentation and break off with time.

The panels have stories, incidents, episodes and myths from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Lord Krishna’s life. Some of the panels even depicted common man.

Ilambazar has 7 temples of which 3 are terracotta temples. These three temples are located close to each other within walking distance. If you set to search for the temples, after reaching Ilambazar ask for directions to ‘Hat Tala Mandir’, it is easy to reach the other two from here. I will be posting on the other two temples soon.

Inside there were the idols of Gour (Chaitanya Dev) and Nitai.
Hat Tala Temple Ilambazar


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