Ras Manch Temple, Bishnupur, West Bengal
As a traveler it would be a sin if you are visiting Kolkata in India and give Bishnupur a miss! Bishnupur, a small peaceful town in Bankura district, 132kms west of Kolkata, is a treasure trove of terracotta temples. As a UNESCO World Heritage site lover I definitely could not miss visiting this place. No, the group of terracotta temples is not declared as World Heritage Site yet, but it is in the tentative list since 3rd July 1998. That is a long time! I hope it will be approved soon.
As I toured, what I got to see here was nothing like the stone architecture in the door frames of Reims, France or the intricate designs of Madurai Meenakshi Temple of Tamil Nadu, India; instead it was fragile, delicate terracotta work. Worn off at many places, yet vibrating with life!
I am highlighting the Ras-Manch Temple in this post.
King Bir Hambir, whose reign is considered as the golden age of Mallas, introduced the worship of Madan Mohan (Krishna). He built the impressive Ras-Manch Temple in 1587 AD. King Bir Hambir was a contemporary of Akbar in Delhi then. This temple was not dedicated to any particular diety but during the annual Ras festival; idols of all deities were congregated here. The temple has a unique pyramid like structure, only one of its kinds in the whole of West Bengal. Be sure to place it high in the list of must sees here in Bishnupur.
Here is the google map for directions from Kolkata to Bishnupur. You can reach by road (bus, taxi) and by rail.