The word terracotta is derieved from an Italian word which literally means ‘Baked Earth’. Bishnupur is the land of terracotta temples.The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture and architecture in Bengal. A school of music, called the Bishnupur Gharana, was established here in 1370 A.D and flourished under the patronage of the Malla kings. The school hit its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries. This style of music is rooted in the Dhrupad style and is still being kept alive in local academies of music.Tabla,shetar, harmonium andflute comprise the main instruments. In Bengal art sometimes was expressed mainly through the medium of temples. Terracotta temples of Bengal were built between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. These temples form one of the most distinctive groups of sacred monuments in India. These temples have elaborate representation of themes which are borrowed from the Puranas. Hence these temple decorations were also acting as a medium to educate common people about our culture and traditions .The temples of Bengal form one of the most distinctive groups of sacred monuments in India, Incorporating a wide range of forms and techniques that testify to the multiple artistic influences acting upon the region. The terracotta here expresses a faithful picture of the lives of the people through a dynamic natural quality of technique. During this period for the first time local building forms were translated into permanent materials. Hut shapes were recreated in brick vaulting, together with curved cornices and terracotta façade decoration. Terracotta is characteristic of Bishnupur. For visitors, Bishnupur’s heritage treasure-trove also offers the finely-crafted clay Bankura horse and Baluchari saris
According to local myth, lord MadanMohan fired the Dolmadol canon with his own hand to protect Mallabhum from the Maratha decoits or Bargis.
PLACES NEAR BY:
ExcursionsPanchmura – about 10 km from Bishnupur, the village where they make the famous terracotta horses.
Jairambati and Kamarpukur - 43 km. from Vishnupur are Jairambati and Kamarpukur, birthplaces of Sri Ma Saradamoui and Sri Ramakrishna Pramahansa. Near Kamarpukur is the historic Garh Mandaran, made famous by Bankim Chandra chatterjee.
Mukutmanipur - about 83 km from Bishnupur, by the side of the river Kangsabati. The main attraction is the dam across the river and the hilly landscape. Places of stay: Tourist Lodge and a Youth Hostel and a private hotel. Hotel Amravati and Shonajhuri are two more hotels there.
Bankura - 30 km from Vishnupur, the district headquarters town.
Susunia Pahar - one of the important hills in the district, rising abruptly from the neighbouring plains. Stone inscriptions of Chandravarma, a 4th century king, have been discovered here. From Bankura on the Bankura-Purulia road, one has to go towards chatna. Susunia is 7 km. north of Chhatna.
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Calcutta is the nearest airport. From where one can avail either train or bus services to reach this town of tradition.
Bishnupur has a railway station which is connected with Calcutta (Howrah). The trains from Howrah are: Asansol Passenger, Gomoh Passenger, Howrah-Purulia Passenger, Hatia-Kharagpur.
Bishnupur is well-connected by regular bus services to Calcutta 200 Km