Bishnupur, located at a distance of around 140kms from Kolkata is one of the best weekend getaways from Kolkata. Rich in History, with its Terracotta temples, the place is a vibrant showcase of culture and history.

We drove from Howrah to Bishnupur. It took around 5 hours, including stops for breakfast, tea breaks and all.

Bishnupur, the seat of Malla Rajas of West Bengal was a rich center for culture and heritage for many centuries. Malla Rajas started ruling this area from around 700 A.D, and well into the era of Mughal dynasty, as the dense forests and fiery rivers around this area gave protection to the kings. The land was called Mallabhum, the land of wrestlers and fighters.

We stayed at the hotel of West Bengal Tourism. During Christmas, we were really lucky to get this booking, as this hotel is located at an extremely prime location in Bishnupur.

In Bishnupur, there are few clusters of Temples and from the West Bengal Tourism property these are all within walking distance, in different directions.

In the above map, the cluster which I have marked as “Destination 1” is made up of a set of temples located in close proximity. These temples include Lalji Temple, Jor Bangla Temple, Shyam Rai Temple, etc.

The intricate work on the whole surface of the temples were simply amazing!

“Destination 2” is Ras Mancha, a mere 500m or so from the hotel. Ras Mancha was used to host idols from other temples during the Ras Mela (an annual festival celebrated in Bengal to mark the love of Lord Krishna and Radhika).

Though this structure hardly has any wall carvings existing now, but the overall symmetry of the temple is amazing!

On the next morning we walked down to “Destination 3”, another cluster of temples.

This area also has the Dalmadal Cannon,

The cannon, which defended the local rulers of Bishnupur from attacks by the Marathas, is exhibited beside Maa Chinmasta Temple (a temple dedicated to a rather fiery form of Maa Kaali). Built with iron, the cannon is unaffected by rain, sun and other climatic conditions. It is also rust free. The canon stands as a fine example of the bravery and spirit of the Malla rulers.

Within short walking distance from Chinna masta Temple are other temples like Nandalal Temple, Radha madhab Temple, etc. This area also is host of several handicraft shops selling Terracotta (clay) work.

All across Bishnupur, one would find a mind-blowing showcase of handicrafts, all being sold at very economical prices. During the time we visited, Bishnupur festival was also running, which was a Festival of Music and Handicrafts of all types.

If you do not mind.a bit of crowd, Bishnupur is a must visit during this time of the year – December end, during Bishnupur festival.