Kalachand Temple, Bishnupur
A little bit of history before I guide you virtually in to the land of terracotta temples. The word Bishnupur translates to “the city of Lord Vishnu”. Most temples here are dedicated to Lord Krishna who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Malla dynasty flourished in parts of West Bengal. They were politically stable and popular. They encouraged religious activities, provided support to craftsmen, weavers, and potters.
During this time, the Sultanate period was coming to an end and Hindu revival was in full swing. There was a sharp break in tradition. Temples which were always public means of expressing power by established cults like that of Krishna, Kali and Durga (Hindu Gods and Goddesses).
The temple architecture of Bishnupur is categorized according to three different styles. The most prominent one is the Ratna style of architecture. It has a flat roof with a shikhara (canopy) on top. The number of shikharas decides the name. Ek Ratna, meaning one shikhara at the centre of the roof.
The temple highlighted in this post is the “Kalachand Temple”, Ek Ratna style. It was built in 1656 AD by Malla King Raghunath Singha. There is an inscription on southern façade mentioning this. The temple is built on square platform, the shrine surmounted by a shikara (canopy). On the façade are the terracotta panels depicting scenes from Krishnalila and Puranas.