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Hadal-Narayanpur, the little known heaven of terracotta art

A scene from the epic Ramayana where Hanuman, the monkey Lord is carrying Lord Rama & Lakshmana on his shoulder & at the same time carrying Goddess Durga with his hands.

A scene from the epic Ramayana where Hanuman, the monkey Lord is carrying Lord Rama & Lakshmana on his shoulder & at the same time carrying Goddess Durga with his hands.

Another scene from Ramayana where Lakshmana is severely wounded in the battle & is lying on the lap of Lord Rama

Another scene from Ramayana where Lakshmana is severely wounded in the battle & is lying on the lap of Lord Rama

Two trumpeters. Note the hat of the former, which looks like a European hat!

Two trumpeters. Note the hat of the former, which looks like a European hat!

A terracotta panel

A terracotta panel

A scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna is aiming at the fish hung high up. From the Navaratna temple of Chhoto taraf.

A scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna is aiming at the fish hung high up. From the Navaratna temple of Chhoto taraf.

The Pancharatna temple of Bara Taraf.

The Pancharatna temple of Bara Taraf.

The front facade of the Pancharatna temple

The front facade of the Pancharatna temple

A terracotta panel

A terracotta panel

Terracotta panel. The green color on the parrots is a later addition.

Terracotta panel. The green color on the parrots is a later addition.

The 17-pinnacled Rashmancha

The 17-pinnacled Rashmancha

Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture

Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture

Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga

The palace of the Mandal family, owners of the temple estate

The palace of the Mandal family, owners of the temple estate

Rich terracotta art on the front facade of Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf

Rich terracotta art on the front facade of Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf

Lord Krishna with attendants

Lord Krishna with attendants

On the right, Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan.

On the right, Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan.

Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan posture, from the Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf

Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan posture, from the Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf

Lord Vishnu in His Fish Avatar ( Matsyaavatar).

Lord Vishnu in His Fish Avatar ( Matsyaavatar).

Floral design

Floral design

The Church like 9 pinnacled Navaratna temple of Chhota Taraf.

The Church like 9 pinnacled Navaratna temple of Chhota Taraf.

Hadal- Narayanpur is a twin village in the interior of Bankura district of West Bengal, India. Connected to important towns like Bankura, Bardhaman, Sonamukhi & Patrasayer by good road & rail. The nearest railway station DHAGARIA which is about 5 km from the village. The trains are few, so the normal mode of connection is by road.

The Hadal village is situated on the east bank & the Narayanpur village on the west bank of a small river called BODAI, which is a branch of the mighty Damodar river.

The importance of this small village is for the excellent medieval temples with rich terracotta decorations of Bengal style.

There are 4 main temples & some other smaller ones.

  1. Damodar temple of Bara taraf : Built in 1806 A.D. , this is a Pancharatna (5 pinnacled) temple with ridged turrets & triple entrance. The front façade has rich terracotta decorations depicting Lord Krihna, His divine consort Radha, Sri Chaitanyadev & other mythological figures. Besides, there are animal, avian & floral motifs.
  2. Radha Damodar of Mejo taraf : a 19th century temple with 9 pinnacles (Navaratna style), this is perhaps one of the richest decorated (terracotta) temples I’ve ever seen. The front façade has extensive decorations with mythological figures plus the usual floral & animal designs. The central panel has a large terracotta panel with excellent figures from Hindu mythology. The most beautiful of these are the figure of Lord Vishnu in His Ananta sayan posture (lying on a divine serpent, with Goddess Lakshmi at His feet & a lotus emerging from His navel on which Lord Bramha is seated) & the figure of Goddess Durga. There are the usual scenes from the epic Ramayana depicting the fight between Lord Rama’s monkey brigade & the demon Kinf Ravana’s demon soldiers. There are the 10 figures of the Ten Avatars (Dashavatar) of Lord Vishnu.
  3. Radha Damodar of Chhoto taraf :  This 19th century  navaratna (Nine pinnacled) temple looks like a church at first sight! The nine pinnacles are rather tall & straight, thereby giving a church like look. The front façade has extensive terracotta work with usual motifs. However, two things are highly imteresting. One, the presence of figures with several musical instruments like drums of different types, bugles, string instruments like Sarengi & (possibly) violin.The other is a large panel, located strategically centrally, showing an important  scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna , the third of the Pandava brothers, is aiming his arrow at a fish hung high up.
  4. Rashmancha : Situated near the first temple, this is an excellent 17-pinnacled octagonal structure with 8 facades, each of which is richly decorated with terracotta work. This was constructed in 1854 A.D.
  5. A smaller temple nears the temple no. 3 is also has good terracotta work, with a prominent figure of Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture.

 

I was immensely helped by Mr. Dhiraj Mandal, the current manager of the temple-estate, as well as by other members of the Mandal family who actually own the temples.

The twin village of Hadal -Narayanpur deserves more tourist attractions, both the common tourists  as well as art lovers.

Comments

SOMEN SENGUPTA on August 22, 2012:

really captivating - good quality photographs with informative description.

lovly on March 08, 2012:

alpana name akti meye achee newmarkete o maghe maghe lodge jai poisa rojkar korte

Suchikkon Ghosh(nephew of Sujoy Mondal) on October 30, 2011:

This is to inform you that HadalNarayanpur Barabari is my maternal uncle's home(mamabari)......and this is my pride that i am a grandson(Lt.Banamali Mandal) of this ancient heritage house..and this place always helds a pleasant and heavenly atmoshpere through all the season..

shyamchat from Calcutta on April 16, 2011:

For quite a while, I am watching the photos of various terra-cotta temples which you,Amitabha,Rangan,Somen and others are publishing.I want to visit a few in the next opportunity where I can see some original work on wall-reliefs , not imitations of those of the more famous ones.

I can see the artistry of these and Devipur ( near Memari) stand out. Two more places - Suri and Ghurisha - are also excellent.

Thanks for bringing out this album.

Satyasri Ukil on April 14, 2011:

Thanks Asis...much liked this page. Will you please specify the PS under which these villages are located...?

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