Bishnupur (also spelt as Vishnupur) is a town in Bankura district of West Bengal famous for its terracota temples.
By bus or by train from Kolkata.
- By bus - Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) and South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) buses ply regularly between Dharmatala/ Esplanade bus stand of Kolkata and Bishnupur. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach Bishnupur.The road distance is shorter than the rail distance, it is about 150 km.
- By train - It takes about 4 hours from Kolkata, distance around 200 km. Convenient connections - Rupashi Bangla Express departing Howrah at 6 am, Purulia Express departing Howrah at 4.45 pm and Aranyak Express departing Shalimar at 7.45 am.
The nearest commercial airport is at Kolkata.
From other places -
- By bus from Tarakeshwar
- By bus from Durgapur
- By train from Kharagpur
By cycle rickshaw because it is a small place. Many of the temples are near each other. Most are within walking distance of one another. Cars are also available on hire.
Bishnupur being a temple town, the focus is on temples, all built of terracota during the reign of the Malla kings, who ruled over the area prior to the arrival of the British. The sights other than temples are also listed below.
- Jorbangla Temple of Keshta Rai - Built by King Raghunath Singha Dev II in the 17th century. The ornate terracotta carvings are set off by the roof in the classic chala style of Bengal architecture.
- Nandalal Temple
- Radhamadhab Temple
- Kalachand Temple
- Radhagovinda Temple
- Shyamrai Temple or Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai - Built in 1643 by King Raghunath Singha. The walls are richly decorated with terracotta carvings featuring aspects of Lord Krishna’s life. It is one of the largest temples.
- Krishna-Valaram Temple
- Mrinmayee Temple
- Radhashyam Temple
- Madanmohan Temple- King Durjana Singh Deva built the temple in 1694 AD in the ekaratna style, a square flat-roofed building with carved cornices, surmounted by a pinnacle. Impressive carvings on the walls depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.
- Chhinnamasta Temple
- Rasmancha - Oldest brick structure. Built in 1587 by Bir Hambir is a pyramidal structure in the centre of the town, where the deities from the other temples are brought in a procession on the occasion of the Rasa Festival. There are some cannons of the Malla kings in the area.
- Dalmadal Caman - supposed to have protected Bishnupur when the Bargis (Maratha warriors) attacked from the west.
- Gumgarh - the place of no return.
- Pathar Darja (Main Gateway of Bishnupur)
- Garh Darja (Small Gateway of Bishnupur)
- Stone Chariot
- Nutan Mahal
- Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal 2, Brabourne Road Kolkata - 700 001 Phone: +91-33-2225-4565/8183/4723-25 Fax:+91-33-2225-4565 E-mail: email@example.com
- Tourism Centre, 3/2 B.B.D. Bag (East) Kolkata - 700 001 Phone: +91-33-2248 8271/5168 2210-3199, 2243-7260 Fax: +91-33-2248 5168
- Tourism Centre, M-4 Building, Hill Cart Road Siliguri, Dist: Darjeeling Ph: +91-353-2511974, 2511979, Telefax: +91-353-2517561
- West Bengal Tourism Office, 1, Nehru Road, Darjeeling 734101 (WB) Phone: +91-354-2254050/2254102
- West Bengal Tourism Office, State Emporia Building (1st floor) Baba Kharak Singh Marg New Delhi - 110 001 Phone: +91-11-2374 2840
- West Bengal Information Bureau, West Bengal Youth Hostel, 18, Wallajah Road, Chennai Phone: +91-44-2841 1046
- West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Netaji Indoor Stadium Kolkata - 700 021 Phone; +91-33-2248 7302/8256/8242/7318/9416, 2210 3194 Fax: +91-33-2248 8290 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also a great centre for music - the Bishnupur gharana is well known in classical music. Look out for opportunities, check where you stay, if you are an Indian classical music fan.
A craftsman working on a Baluchari Sari
- Bankura Horse- now the symbol of Indian handicrafts - available both in the terracota and wood versions.
- Baluchari Saris- another famous Bishnupur product. Traditionall woven with Ramayana and Mahabharata symbols but modern versions are also available.
- Conch shell beads and items.
There are plenty of shops you can walk into, but in case you are unable to locate one, here is a short guide: 1) Terracota Crafts, Dalmadal Road. 2) Shri Hari Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara. 3) Maa Durga Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara, 4) Silk Khadi Seva Mandlal in the Baltala area sells silks.
Bishnupur is a small town and so don't expect posh reaturants. There are small eateries all over the place but ideally go for food at or near the place of stay.
Hard drinks are generally available in the hotels, but if one is sticky about it, the safe bet is to carry it.
- Bishnupur Lodge (Tourist Lodge) of West Bengal Tourism. Rooms Rs. 300-600. Dormitory Rs. 80. Contact +91 (3244) 252 013, +91(3244) 253 561, +91 (33) 2210 3199, +91 (33) 2248 5168
- Monalisa Lodge Rs 250-500.
- Hotel Bishnupur Rs. 200-500. Telephone +91 (3244) 252 243
- Bishnupur Lodge (private hotel) Rs. 200-500. Telephone +91 (3244) 252 173
- Meghmallar Rs. 200-500. Telephone +91 (3244) 252 258
- Pourasabha Parytakabas Re. 250-500. Telephone +91 (3244) 252 200
- Udayan Lodge College Road, Rs. 250-600 (3244) 252278
- Bahulara - 25 km. from Bishnupur, it is famous for the Siddheswar Siva temple.
- Dihar – 8 km from Bishnupur, it is famous for the Saileswar temple, about nine hundred years old.
- Panchmura – 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 82 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.
- 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 to a height of 44 metres. Stone inscriptions of Chandravarma, a 4th century king, have been discovered here. From Bankura on the Bankura-Purulia road, one has to alight at Chhatna on the 13th km. Susunia is 7 km. north of Chhatna.
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