On 27.09.2015 members of Barrackpore Photolovers’ Association visited the rich heritage temples of Sripur, Somrabazar, Guptipara of Hooghly district and Ambika Kalna of Bardhaman district, West Bengal. BPA Prsident, Sri S.N.Bhattacharya, a researcher on Bengal terracota temples, guided the tour.
From Balagarh Station, Howrah- Katwa line, we reached Sripur to vist Chandi Mandap and other temples of Mitra Moustafi families, now run by the Trustees. The Chandi Mandap was built in the year 1707 by Raghunandan Mitra Moustafi, the then financial adviser of Mughal Emperor Aurngjib. Its wooden structure is adorned by intricate carvings of Hindu deities and floral designs and on the wall the Indo Islamic paintings are done by fresco. The next spot was Ananda Bhairabi Temple (1813) of Sukharia. The deity of Anandamoyee Kali is worshipped there. The shrine is admired with 25 pinnacles and is a masterpiece of temple architecture. There are 12 small temples in two parallel rows of which 10 are aat chala (eight sloped roofs) and 2 are pancharatna (five pinnacles). Very near to it there are two more temples Harasundari Kali and Nistarini Kali which are also very worth for visiting. Next we moved to Guptipara, for the renowned Ramchandra temple, octagonal in shape, which is also adorned by very rich terrocota works of Ramayana and daily life of common people. Adjacent to it are the temples of Brindabanchandra, Krishnachandra , Chaitanya etc.
Our next destination was Ambika kalna of Bardhaman district, famous for its terrocaota temples built in 18th century during the period of the Maharajas of Bardhaman. First we visited 108 Shiva Temple (in the shape of Japamala, est.1809 by Maharaja Tejchandra Bahadur) and its adjacent temple complex of Pratapeswar (Rekh-Deul architecture with magnificent ornamentation of terrocota art), Lalji (25 pinnacles, est 1739) and Krishnachandraji ( 25 pinnacles, est. 1751-55). Other than these there are few more temples worth mentioning we visited. These are Jagannath temple (almost in ruins) with rich terracotta works on the bank of Bhagirathi, Siddheswari temple, Gopal with 25 pinnacles(1766) and Basudeb.