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Bishnupur, Bengal's famous Terracotta temples and Legend weavers


WEST BENGAL, SEP 28, (UITV): Bishnupur is a town in the Bankura District of West Bengal and situated at about 132 km from Kolkata. It is famous for its terracotta temples and Baluchari sarees. The town has a marvelous  past that is reflected in its rich architecture, music and handicrafts such as pottery and weaving. It prospered in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Ruled by a line of Hindu Rajas of the Malla dynasty, Bishnupur developed a unique form of architecture and has perhaps the most brilliant and detailed terracotta work in Eastern India that has withstood the ravages of time.

The Terracotta tiles depict stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Temples like the Shyam Ray Temple, the twin shrines of Jorbangla and the Rasmancha are a must visit. Apart from its heritage, Bishnupur is also known for its traditional handloom sarees. Pottery, artiefacts and even jewellery made of terracotta in Bishnupur are also very popular. Bishnupur is also famous for the School of Hindustani Music which flourished under royal patronage along with the Bishnupur School of Painting.

This style of music is still being kept alive in local academies of music. The history of Bishnupur can be traced back to 694 AD, when King Raghunath founded the Malla dynasty. However, it was much later in 994 AD that the place was named Bishnupur. The name is derived from the name of the Hindu God Vishnu.

The most powerful king of the dynasty was King Raghunath Singh Dev II, who ruled from 1626 AD. At that time the administration of Bengal was in the hands of Shah Lahan and his son Shuja. He developed a close friendship with the king and there followed a period of peace when art and music already flourishing, reached great heights. It was during this period that the Jorbangla Temple was erected.