Terracotta Temples of Ilambazar, West Bengal

Terracotta Temples are scattered in plenty in Ilambazar town of West Bengal. This post has pictures of two other terracotta temples from Ilambazar. During the 17th and 18th century when these terracotta temples were constructed, the tradition was landlords or rich businessmen who were doing well in life constructed such temples for the locals. After all they had to show their authority in the society then. As time passed the maintenance and care of these temples passed on to the next generations of the families. If the family continued to do well the temples were maintained well, else they crumbled like the one you saw in Hat Tala Mandir.


Terracotta Temples

Shiva Temple of Ilambazar

This temple is a dedicated to Lord Shiva. The family maintaining this seems to be well off, though I couldn’t meet the owners. The panels were clean, free of dust and cobwebs and the door had a proper lock. Only thing missing was the boundary. Other buildings have come up quite close. I am sure they don’t get any grant from government for the upkeep of the temples. I sincerely wish there is a government authorized body to take up the maintenance of all these scattered terracotta temples.

terracotta temples from Ilambazar 1
These are the closeup view of the panels. You can click on them to enlarge and see the details. You can get a good idea of the size of the figures too.
terracotta temples from Ilambazar 2
terracotta temples from Ilambazar 3


Lakshmi Temple of Ilambazar

The following three pictures are of Lakshmi temple. This too was shut for the day so couldn’t see the idols inside. On asking the locals they mentioned it being dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. The panels have a theme. These were means of education for locals about stories of Gods and Goddesses and other mythological stories. On close observation one can get a good idea about the customs and costumes of people living then.

terracotta temples from Ilambazar 4

From what I have read and understood about the making of these temples is: A group of craftsmen led by their master craftsman called Sutradhar take up the responsibility of construction. Their main role in society was educating locals through various media, like paintings on leaves called pattachitra, theatrical performances, various musical recitals like kirtans and bauls and these panels of terracotta on temple walls. Once the job is completed they moved on to their next destination. And as they moved on like this their art was left behind but the talent got lost.

terracotta temples from Ilambazar 6


terracotta temples from Ilambazar 7



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33 Responses

  1. Dina says:

    Really magnificent.

  2. Renuka says:

    Such detailing! Very different architecture. Never heard of terracotta temples…interesting.

  3. All the pictures are gorgeous! Loved the intricate carvings!

  4. The beauty of the building, the carving is fabulous, thanks Indrani.

  5. Excellent piece of writup on Terracotta Temples of Ilambazar.
    I never heard about this Temple.
    Amazing photographs!

  6. TexWisGirl says:

    gorgeous and just full of details!

  7. ashok says:

    very interesting architecture…thanks Ind

  8. Carver says:

    The terracotta temples are very beautiful.

  9. Indeed these Temples look great and they add richness to our culture and Govt. as well as locals should do their best to preserve them.. 🙂

  10. Joop Zand says:

    Lovely photo's with a good eye for details.

    Greetings, Joop

  11. George says:

    I didn't realize that so many of these temples were privately-built and owned. It's amazing that so many are still in good shape. These temples are definitely beautiful.

  12. Pallavi says:

    Such intricate artwork! Beautiful pictures .

  13. ladyfi says:

    Wow – these facades are stunning!

  14. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful temple and its fabulous artwork!

  15. Panchali says:

    Such grandeur…must visit this place now. Thanks Indrani for sharing…

  16. Truly awesome post, Great photography.

  17. Ela says:

    Your pictures are beautiful.

  18. great architecture !

  19. Hari OM
    Fabulous! I particularly like the second last shot!! YAM xx

  20. Wow, loved the detailing work done here !! Wonderful to see such gems through your posts 🙂

  21. Pradeepa says:

    Marvelous! Yet another example of the exquisite craftsmanship of our forgotten artisans.

  22. Beautiful. The terracotta temples pf Bengal are definitely on my list to visit..someday!

  23. Sangeeta says:

    Loved reading about the temple. Such a beautiful temple, esp the panels. Thanks for sharing, Indrani!

  24. Incredibly beautiful terracotta temples. Love the amazingly intricate sculptures.

  25. Aditi says:

    Wow I love the architecture of both the temples! Exquisite!

  26. Great Indrani!
    Had seen some pics in the Telegraph!
    But, your Post has so many with so much detail!

  27. Super shots! Amazing.

  28. Lovely post, reposting it on appliancefree.blogspot.in

  29. xxxx says:

    Magnificent Architecture depicted through the Lens….

  30. magnificent! all the detailed workings

    much love…

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