Terracotta Temples of Ilambazar, West Bengal
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.
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.
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.