Jor Bangla Mandir, Terracotta Temple, Bishnupur
Jor Bangla Mandir (Temple) is typical do chala (2 roof) terracotta temple in Bishnupur. The temples here are of Chala style of architecture. Chala in local language of Bengal means roof. The temples are categorized as per the number of roofs. These temples have triangular roof and at first glance you will feel its striking similarity with rural huts. Depending on the number of chalas these temples are named: Chaar Chala (four roofs) and Aatchala (eight roofs).
Jor Bangla Mandir
Jor Bangla Mandir is one of the few temples of Bishnupur which is in good condition. The fondness with which my guide explained the Jor Bangla Mandir, I could make out it was his favorite Chala style temple. I too felt this is one of the must see temples of Bishnupur. The terracotta panels are undamaged and effect of wearing out is not prominent yet. It was built by Raghunath Singha II in 1655 A.D. The temple platform is squarish and measures 12m by 12m we were told.
These panels have detailed scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Krishna-Leela. The prayer room was shut. It houses the idol of Shadbhuja (6 hands) of Shri Chaitanya. The idol is not worshiped anymore.
Do Chala Architecture
The do-chala (two roof) style was used by Muslims and exported to other parts of India. The 17th century architecture of Delhi, Lahore, Gulbarg has monuments with this style. By 18th century this style became popular in parts of Rajasthan and can be seen in the palace balconies and garden pavilions there.
There is another ‘Chala style’ temple which I hope to see in future and that is in Bangladesh. It is the ‘Gopinath Jor-Bangla’, a Hindu temple located 1km (0.62 mi) east of Pabna District in Bangladesh.
How to Reach Bishnupur from Kolkata
By air: The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International, Kolkata, about 150 km away. Then take a train, bus or cab
By train: There are direct trains from Howrah to Bishnupur.
By bus: Regular buses ply from Kolkata’s Esplanade and Shahid Minar Bus Terminus.
Getting Around Bishnupur
Within the city you will get rickshaws, buses and taxis as means of transportation.