Bishnupur in Bankura

Located in the Bankura district in West Bengal, Bishnupur is also known as Vishnupur. This town is situated in what was previously known as Rarh and is well known for its terracotta temples and a culinary delight named postor bora.

Tourist Locations at Bishnupur

Jorbangla Temple: Jorebangla Temple of Keshto Rai was erected during the 17th century by Raghunath Singha Dev II, who happened to be a local monarch. The roof of this temple is built in the chala style, which is a classical and eminently identifiable tradition of Bengali architecture. The temple also features terracotta carvings that can be described as elaborate.

Shyamrai Temple: Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai was also built by King Raghunath Singha during 1643. The walls in this temple also have the usual terracotta carvings and depict various incidents from the life of Krishna. This is also one of the bigger temples in Bishnupur.

Dalmadal Caman is historically important as well. It was said to have been used to protect the city when the Bargis or Maratha raiders attacked it.

Madanmohan Temple: The Madanmohan Temple was built by King Durjana Singh Deva during 1694 AD and it has been constructed in the Ekaratna style. It has a flat roof and is square in shape. It also features carved cornices that are topped by a pinnacle. The carvings on the temple walls are also lovely to look at and show scenes from mythological texts like Ramayana, Puranas and Mahabharat.

Rasmancha: The Rasmancha is the most age old structure in Bishnupur constructed using bricks. Bir Hambir built this pyramid like structure in 1587 and it is located right in the midst of the town. When the Rasa Festival is organized deities from all the other temples are brought to this place. Some canons, which were used during the reign of the Malla monarchs, can be seen here as well.

Lalbandh: Bir Singh built the seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh in 1658. Lakes were made for drinking water and to protect the town from enemy.

Bishnupur Fair: Newest attraction of Bishnupur is ‘Bishnupur Mela’ or ‘Bishnupur Fair’. It starts at 23rd December and ending date is 27th December near the Madanmohan Temple. Now it has become a national fair.

Bishnupur Utsav: A recent addition is the Bishnupur Utsav just after the fair. It is a classical music and dance festival in recognition of the ‘Bishnupur Gharana‘ in music.

Jogesh Chandra Museum or Acharya Jogesh Chandra Purakriti Bhawan opening time 11 am-7 pm, Entry fee Rs. 5, Telephone: (03244) 252697

Following are the other leading spots for tourists at Bishnupur:

  • Nandalal Temple
  • Chhinnamasta Temple
  • Radhamadhab Temple
  • Jugol Kishore Temple
  • Kalachand Temple
  • Mahapravu Temple
  • Radhagovinda Temple
  • Radhalaljiu
  • Sarbamangala
  • Krishna-Balaram Temple
  • Mrinmoyee Temple
  • Gumgarh
  • Radhashyam Temple
  • Pathar Durja
  • Garh Durja
  • Malleswar
  • Stone Chariot
  • Sanreswar
  • Nutan Mahal
  • Radhalaljiu Temple
  • Shreenibas Acharya’s memorial

Bishnupur is a small town and all the major tourist attractions are located in close proximity. So, one can travel these by foot or by an auto-rickshaw. However, there is also the added option of a car or an auto rickshaw.

Bishnupur History

Bishnupur presents an opportunity of heritage tourism to the tourists all over the world. Belonging to the Bankura district of West Bengal it has a glorious history and some of the best preserved terracotta temples of historical significance can be found in Bishnupur. Only 130 kilometers from the capital city of Kolkata, it is a lovely getaway from the din and bustle of busy metro life and be lost in the charm of the historical marvels.

Bishnupur was ruled by the Hindu rajas during the Gupta period and paid tribute to Emperor Samudra Gupta after which the kingdom fell into obscurity. It oscillated between being a vassal state and an insignificant independent principality. It again regained power and prestige with the Malla rulers due to which it is often known as the Mallabhum. The Malla rulers were the most illustrious ones of the kingdom with a penchant for building Vishnu temples which is the claim to fame of Bishnupur till date.  The Mallas were Vaishnavas and several terracotta Vishnu temples were built under their supervision in Bankura district during 17th and 18th centuries. These temples are the most marvelous specimens of classical architectural style of Bengal.

Bishunupur flourished under the patronage of the Malla kings of Bankura district and they made it their capital. The founder of the dynasty was Raghunath I (Adi Malla) in 694 AD whose name when translated means the ‘supreme or unique wrestler. He was also known as the Bagdi king of Bishnupur and was a Vaishnav. Adi Malla was succeeded by his son, Jay Malla followed by 40 other kings among whom Kalu Malla, Kau Malla, Jhau Malla and Sur Malla are quite well known for extending their territory and ruling the land with able hands.

During 1589 AD Bir Hambir, another famous name in history ruled the kingdom during which the worship of Madan Gopal was commenced. He is known to be the contemporary of Emperor Akbar and built the Rasmancha. Bir Hambir was converted to Vaishnavism by Srinivasa, the great devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After Bir Hambhir, Raghunath Singh rose to power and was the first king of Bishnupur to use Singh- the Kshatriya title. The golden period in art and religion began during his rule with several temples being constructed. The Jor Bangla, Shyam Rai and Kalachand Temples and the Rasmancha were by Raghunath Singh between 1643 and 1656.

Bir Singh took the reins of the kingdom after Raghunath Singh and equally capable a ruler. He built the Lalji temple in 1658 and seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh. His queen was also a devotee of Lord Vishnu and built temples of Murali Mohan and Madan Mohan during 1655. Durjan Singh was the last ruler of the Hindu Kings in Bishnupur after which the power fell into the hands of the Muslim monarchs. Apart from the terracotta architecture, Bishnupur also gained importance for its Tussar silk and Baluchari sari along with the Bishnupur Gharana of classical music.

How to get to Bishnupur

Kolkata is the location that is most convenient if one wants to visit Bishnupur from outside West Bengal. From Kolkata one can avail buses run by Calcutta State Transport Corporation or South Bengal State Transport Corporation. These buses are available from Esplanade and the journey lasts from 4-5 hours. The distance by road is shorter than by train at 150 km.

In case one wants to take the train they can avail any of the following options:

Rupashi Bangla Express, Santragachi 6.25 am
Purulia Express, Howrah 4.50 pm
Siromoni Fast Passenger, Howrah 5.45 pm
Santragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express, Santragachi 9.25 pm ( Sunday only)
Rajjyarani Triweekly Express, Shalimar 6.40 am
Aranyak Express, Shalimar 7.45 am
Howrah-Chakradharpur Passenger, Howrah 11.05 pm

The journey by train covers 201 km and lasts for 3 and half hours to a shade more than 4 hours. One can also get to Kharagpur, Bardhaman, Midnapur and Durgapur from Howrah by train and then take a bus from there. One could also get to Arambag or Midnapore by bus and then take a local bus from these places to Bishnupur. These local buses are available after every 45 minutes. It takes about 3 hours to get to Bishnupur from Arambagh and from Midnapore the time is half an hour more. One might also take a bus to Bishnupur from Tarakeshwar or Asansol.

What is the ideal time to visit Bishnupur

Bishnupur experiences rather high temperatures during the summer season. So, it is better to visit it during the winters when the temperatures come down and the conditions are better.

Where to stay at Bishnupur

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Bishnupur Tourist Lodge, Bishnupur
(Run by West Bengal Tourism)
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone: 03244-252013, 253561
Kolkata booking: 033-22437260, 22485168, 22488271.
Standard double-rooms, 4-bedded rooms and dorms are available here.

Meghmallar Hotel, Opp. Bus Stand, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500
Telephone: 03244-252258

Hotel Bishnupur, Bishnupur Town
Telephone: 03244-252243

Pourasabha Parytakabas

Bishnupur Lodge
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Monalisa Lodge, Bishnupur Town, Bankura
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone.: 09831031895
Monalisa Loge is a budget option to stay in Bishnupur. It offers budget accommodation in its standard double rooms.

Bishnupur Hotel, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500

Laxmi Park Hotel, Near State Bank Of India, Gailapara, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 2,000

Udayan Lodge, College Road, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 900

Dev & Dev Lodge

Mallabhum Lodge


Nearby Places

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Forest Lodge: 22437260, 22370060-61
Hotel Aparajita: 033- 22437260

03243-240217/240300, 033-22485829

Jairambati and Kamarpukur
Ramkrishna Mission- 03244-244214, 03211-244222

Koro Hills
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Botanical Garden
DFO- North Division, Bankura


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Kalachand Temple

Susunia Hills
Youth Hostel -033-22480626

Sutan Forest
Forest Lodge-033-24799032/7392, 03242-250758

DFO- North Division, Bankura

Bankura Beliator
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram
Mandir Guest House
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Biharinath Hill

Ranibandh Forest Guest House

Chhander Gram

DFO- North Division, Bankura

Chechuria Eco Park
DFO, Panchet Soil Conservation
Telephone: (03244) 252189

DFO- North Division, Bankura

Back to Bankura

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