Pratapeswar Temple, Kalna, West Bengal

Pratapeswar Temple may look tiny, but the number of terracotta figures on its façade is mind blowing. It was built in 1849 by Maharani Shiyari Kumari, wife of Maharaja Pratap Chand of Bardhaman in the town Kalna situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi.It is a Shiva Temple and houses a black Shiv ling inside.

I was surprised to se the picture of woman in English gown playing a violin, that too on a temple façade. This clearly shows the influence of ruling British on the local artisans. Scroll down to see the picture. The clarity of the minutest details of the figures, their hair style, folds in cloths leaves one speechless!

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The board put up by the Archeological Society of India reads: “Raised on a high podium this temple is a very good specimen of the 19th Century Rekha Deul with curvilinear Sikhara and a single arched entrance.” The temples here are known as ‘deuls’. They are fine examples of Bengali Hindu architecture. The most attractive work is that of: The panel of Durga in Mahisasurmardini (slaying the demon Mahisasur) on the side wall atop the arch. This panel is flanked on either side by Ram and Ravan engaged in war against each other.

Bardhaman is easily accessible by rail and road from Kolkata.

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