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Friday, November 9, 2018

Land of Terracotta temple(Bishnupur)

Terracota Temple
Terracota Temple

What is Terracotta?
It is a fired clay(baked earth) generally brownish in color used for ornamental building materials such as temple or models.

Land of Terracotta temple-
Bishnupur is located in Bankura District in the state of West Bengal(India). Since 1997, the temples of Bishnupur is on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Distance:-Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km)

Bishnupur is also called as land of Mallabhum because the land is ruled by Malla, they are vaishnavites and they built the famous terracotta temple on 17th to 18th century.  
Bishnupur was also ruled by samudragupta in the Gupta period.
The art of Bengal temple was influenced by the region's culture closely associated with the religion, literature, social and as well as political and economic development. From this temple art, it is easily can be distinguished that Bengal was ruled by both Hindu and Muslim rulers. Islamic architecture and monumental design and Hindu religious poetry and revivalism.

Legend:- The story of Adi Malla
It dates back to seventh century CE when a  prince with his wife made a pilgrimage to Jagannath temple. But during his journey, her wife fall sick and as she was pregnant and going to give birth. As a result, he left his wife in the midst of the forest which is, 8.4 kilometers (5.2 mi) from Kotulpur. Next day the boy was spotted by the woodcutter and they nurtured him. At the age of 15, he becomes an unrivaled wrestler in that area.  Raja Padamapur bestowed on him the name Adi Mala and he becomes the chieftain of raja Padamapur.
Thou the veracity of the story was questioned, but it explains the origins of Mallas.

The architecture of the temple can be classified into three different eras:-

1. Early Hindu
2. Sultanate
3. Hindu revival

During the Mauryan and Pre-Mauryan time, the terracottas are consist of stray cult pieces of small sizes. Periodical changes of the design are been observed, in the later stage, it appeared larger in sizes and related to architectural structure, as decoration of the facades of the temple. The temple theme idea was mainly taken from the Puranas.
When the Muslim came to Bengal the architecture shift from the old Hindu corbelling system to Islamic vaults, dome, and keystone arches.
Temple decoration depicts the time especially economic and artistic resource and expressing the power publicly. At the end of the eighteenth-century temples are built smaller and terracotta are used less due to an increase in overseas trade.

Style of construction:-
Traditional style
Hut style
Pinnacled style
Flat roof style

Traditional style
Pre-Muslim period temple are few in numbers and mostly build on
Deula: is mean the building structure built with particular style especially the temple.
There are three different types of Deul are - Rekha Deul, Pidha Deul, and Khakhara Deul.
Rekha Deul- It looks like tall building which protected the sanctum(garbhagriha).  
Exp: Siddheshvari temple at Barakar, Rekha Deul brick Temple at Sonatopal and Siddhesvara temple of Bahulara at Bankura
Pidha Deul-It is like square building like pyramidal shape.
Khakhara Deul-It is rectangular in shape with a truncated pyramid-shaped roof.

In the latter era entirely new styles appeared as Hut style, Pinnacle style, and Flat-roofed style, some resemble Islamic style. They are like domes, vaults, arches etc which can be seen on the mosques -curved cornices and terracotta decoration.

Hut style -Hut style resembles a domestic hut curved roof with two sloping sides they also called as Do-Chala also called as Ek-Bangla.  If hut has four sloping sides called as char-Chala. If hut has eight sloping sides called as At-Chala. If two huts together with four sloping roof called as jor-Bangla or Char-Chala.

Pinnacled style
It is architecture formation where the roof is more or less flat but it is surrounded by towers or pinnacles as called as Ratna. When only one tower is there it is called as Ek-Ratna and when more than that it is called as Pancha-Ratna it goes up to twenty five-Ratna. This style emerged on the sixteenth century and was famous during the time of Malla king of Bishnupur.

Flat-roofed style
Another famous style that emerged during the period is Flat-roofed style. After the European influence in the 19th century, the architecture of the Bengal temple started to change slowly. From Deul to Chala and pinnacled the temple started to build on numerous pillars with a flat roof and the outside decoration was plastered with terracotta decoration. But soon they lost the traditional character and slowly become a brick built room.

Loss of temple art
In the middle of the nineteenth century, as the Calcutta become the center for the trade for the British Empire, the culture of the terracotta temple art started to lose its grip on the society. Artisans and architects depend on the local patronage they forced to change their livelihood because of the adoption of new modern materials such as steel and concrete. Today this heritage temple is maintained with mostly concrete and cement.

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