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Weekend Getaways from Kolkata: Bishnupur

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Weekend Getaways from Kolkata - Bishnupur
| Places to see | Places Nearby | Places to Stay | Fact File |
Bishnupur Quick Facts
  • A heritage getaway, 150 km from Kolkata
  • 1or 2-day holiday destination
  • Famous for temples & terracotta work
  • Best from October – April

Bishnupur located 150 km from Kolkata in the Bankura district of West Bengal may not come under anyone's category of a weekend gateway but this ancient capital of the Malla Kings and an important Art & Culture centre in ancient times has got enough attractions to make it to the category of an offbeat weekend gateway.

Known for its terracotta and Baluchri saris, Bishnupur, however, is more famous for its unique terracotta temples. Built by the Malla rulers to celebrate their love for Vishnu, these red colored temples were built of terracotta since the city had no stone for construction. Though the temples of Bishnupur represent various hybrid styles their distinct feature however lies in their close resemblance (in the form of domed roofs) to the local huts of the area.

Places to see in Bishnupur
Bishnupur Temples

The temples of Bishnupur are mostly built in Eka-Ratna style- a square flat-roofed building with curved cornices, surmounted by a pinnacle and a Garbhagriha flanked by a porch on each side with three multi-cusped arches. The temples of Madan Mohan, Lalji, Kalachand, Radhashyam, Jormandir and Nandalal fall in this category as opposed to the Shyama Raya Temple (the crowning glory of the Bishnupur temples with five shikaras and an intricately carved outer façade) which was built as per the Pancha Ratna style.

The twin shrines of Jor Bangle Temple bears a distinctive character with two Dochala structures joined together by a Charchala Sikhara at the top. While the Rasmancha Temple with 108 pillars represents a singular architectural style with a pyramidal roof standing on a spacious laterite plinth. However, it is in the walls of the temples that the real beauty of the Bishnupur temple lies. The walls of most temples are covered with beautiful filigreed terracotta tiles that talk of stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Apart from temples, Bishnupur has some very attractive bunds or large tanks - The Lalbandh, Krishnabandh, and Pokabandh built by the Malla kings around 17th -18th centuries were meant to provide water to the villagers and to protect the town from enemy attack by draining out the water towards them.

Places near Bishnupur
Terracotta Pottery

Besides temples, Bishnupur is famous for its terracotta pottery, especially the terracotta horse called Bankura, which in fact is the mascot of the town and a very good souvenir. Baluchari and tussar silk sarees, bell metal and shell handicraft and the quaint circular playing cards called ganijifa are other specialties of Bishnupur.

After visiting Bishnupur you can drive 8 km to Dihar for the famous 900 year Saileswar Temple, Panchmura (10 km) to see and buy the famous Bankura terracotta horses and Bahulara (25 km) for the Siddheswar Shiva Temple

Mukutmanipur, 82 km away is located at the confluence of the Kangsabati and Kumari rivers. Located in the Bankura district of West Bengal, Mukutmanipur with picturesque hillocks, green forests surrounding the vast bluish tract of water is famous for its superb natural beauty. The highlight of Mukutmanipur is the 10.8 km man made mud-banked dam (reportedly to be Asia’s largest). This is where much of the tourist activity is concentrated. There is a beautiful lake, an open-air temple and a small forest with rare birds (Bangopalpur reserve forest) that can be visited on your trip to Mukutmanipur.

Places to Stay at Bishnupur

Hotels in Bishnupur include a budget hotels and tourist lodges. There are a number of tourist lodges in Bishnupur, which are cheap and comfortable. Check hotels in Bishnupur

How to reach Bishnupur

By Air: The nearest airport is at Kolkata, 155 km away.

By Train: There are direct trains from Howrah to Bishnupur

By Road: Bishnupur is 150 km from Kolkata by road. A number of buses leave Kolkata’s Esplanade and Shahid Minar Bus Terminus to Bishnupur.

Best time to go:  Bishnupur is a round the year destination. However the best time is in August during the annual Jhapan festival and in the last week of December when the Bishnupur Mela takes place.

About Bishnupur: Bishnupur Information & Fact File
Altitude 58 meters
Summer 40 (Max) Degree Celsius- 20 (Min)
Winter 28 (Max) Degree Celsius- 15 (Min)
Best time to Go October to April
Monsoon June - September
Summer March to May
Winter November-February
Clothes Cotton clothes
Nearest Airport Kolkata, 155 km
Nearest Railway Station Bishnupur
Bus Station Bishnupur
Hospital & Doctor

Bishnupur Hospital (Bankura). Contact No: 03244-252065

Places to see Shyama Raya Temple, Rasa Mancha Temple, Madan Mohan Temple...
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