Terracotta Temples at Surul, Birbhum, West bengal

Shantiniketan proves to be a good base to make day visit to various sightseeing sites nearby. Surul, just 5kms away from Shantiniketan, has exquisite terracotta temples belonging to 18th century. We went searching for the temples; it was hard to find the exact location because there is no board indicating the directions. Thankfully we had taken a print out of the google map. With so many narrow crisscross lanes and bylanes, it was a difficult approach. Finally after asking several passersby we could locate the temples.

I expected to see ruins, but the 2 Shiva temples in rekh-deul pattern were looking brand new structures. The white contrasting the deep red terracotta made them look grand. These temples are not taken over by Archeological Society of India yet. They are privately owned by the Sarkar family, but there was no gate and looked ‘free for all’ kind of place. You can see the older version of the temple here.


The Lakshmi-Janardhan temple nearby, still stands in its old form. I visited these temples in Apr 2013; hopefully some face lift has been given to this temple too. I seriously think West Bengal tourism should take some concrete steps to protect these old heritage structures.

This temple is made in the typical Pancharatna style of the Bengal school. The five-pinnacle temple has a carved façade supported on three arched gates. The terracotta panels depict stories from Ramayan. Below, I have the picture of Ravana, the ten headed demon warring.

What I read about this family is: one Srinivas sarkar, resident of Surul, acquired great wealth by selling sails for ships sailing from neighboring port of Ilambazar (from Outlook Traveller). He made these temples and a rajbari (palace) too. Picture of façade of the palace below. Even today this rajbari is a venue for Durga Puja.

Our World Tuesday

Frames From Hampi
Stepped Water Tank, Vittala Temple, Hampi

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