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

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45 Responses

  1. Joop Zand says:

    Very good photographed…..i like the detail shots.

    Greetings, Joop

  2. Jeevan says:

    Beautifully renovated temples! The paintings well highlighted the details… I too hope the other one also get facelift soon. Well captured images

  3. Beautiful photos and post.

  4. Wonderful pictures of a beautiful temple!

  5. Sylvia K says:

    Fantastic renovations! Wonderful captures and a great post for the day as always, Indrani! Hope you have a lovely week!

  6. It seems the private owners are maintaining the temple well from the pictures,atleast the first one.The archeological department possibly takeover temples and monuments built by kings.The private temples are perhaps out of its radar.
    Thanks for telling us about these temples

  7. Nice to see that they have at least maintained the temples …

  8. India is really amazing..I always love to see temples and religious place of different traditions and In India I guess there is no end of it..:D

  9. Welcome Indrani!
    Great zdjęcia.Zabytki delightful.
    They are so beautiful. Excellent post.
    I send greetings from distant Polish.

  10. George says:

    The terracotta temples are absolutely beautiful. I, too, hope the other temple can get some tender loving care.

  11. Rajesh says:

    Great shots of temples. I like those carvings.

  12. colleen says:

    Just beautiful. The almost look like they are gingerbread mansions made of candy.

  13. Pallavi says:

    Truly the essence of Indian culture. Each monument speaks so much about the heritage and the bygone era. Nice pictures Indrani.

  14. maybe newly renovated? it's really gorgeous.

  15. Pradeepa says:

    Beautiful temples. We were planning to visit West Bengal during the Dussera holidays but had to change the destination due to the nonavailability of tickets.

  16. nice writeup … well maintained temple.

  17. ladyfi says:

    Oh my – how absolutely stunning!

  18. Lovely temple. Carvings are exquiste . Thanks for sharing these lovely temples.

  19. Such beautiful architecture, Indrani. Incredible India has lot of amazing places of visit!

  20. Gorgeous Temple! thanks for sharing a nice visiting site …

  21. eileeninmd says:

    The temples are beautiful. I am glad they are being well cared for. Lovely details and photos.

  22. DeniseinVA says:

    I have never seen anything like this before. A beautiful place and interesting post. Thank you Indrani!

    Hello from Germany! This is the first time I have been able to get on line as I am using my niece's wi-fi connection and after a week of merriment celebrating her wedding, we are finally slowing down.

  23. Beautiful are this temples and they are photographed beautifully too.

  24. Bibi says:

    These are definitely beautiful and well-worth being taken care of. I felt so sad to see some of the beautiful haveli in the Shekawati region really falling into disrepair.

  25. Carver says:

    Very interesting and beautiful temples.

  26. beautiful temple 🙂

  27. There are several places in bengal which can turn into hot tourist spots, provided they are marketed….u can become a brand ambasador for the state….should i talk to mamta di? 😛

  28. Beautiful images of India.

  29. Thank you so much for the comments friends.
    Ritesh, that will be great if you can put in a word in my favor to Mamtadi. 🙂 😛

  30. Beppan says:

    Interesting! And very nice photos of the beautiful temples!

  31. Very well captured pictures Indrani.
    BTW you've been nominated in my blog for a photo contest. pls check.

  32. Red and white seemed to be the colors of the day and how glorious the temples looked.

  33. I'm impressed that so many Indian treasures are being so well preserved. At least that's how it appears from my side of the world.

  34. The Shiva temples are lovely-so unique!

  35. Such wonderful temples. Nice post, Indrani.

  36. You took the Path Rarely Taken and across these beautiful temples/monuments. I wish that you continue to travel and shed light to invisible parts of our world 🙂

    And yes, the pics are beautiful

  37. Al says:

    I love the old and new contrasts in these photos.

  38. Very nice pics and details!

  39. The old ones are just as beautiful. It is almost like there is one for the men and one for the women. Thanks for sharing the older photos with us. It makes the post all the more interesting genie

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