Bishnupur Travel Guide – Terracotta Temples City
Country: India | State: West Bengal
Places to visit in West Bengal
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Bishnupur: Kolkata (136 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Bishnupur: October to March
Peak Season: November to February
Bishnupur, also known as Vishnupur, is a captivating town nestled in the Bankura district of West Bengal, India. Positioned at strategic distances of 35 km from Bankura, 50 km from Chhatna, 85 km from Kharagpur, and 136 km from Kolkata, this town boasts rich cultural heritage and is renowned as one of the prominent tourist destinations in West Bengal.
The roots of Bishnupur trace back to 694 AD when King Raghunath I established the Malla dynasty. Often referred to as Mallabhum, the town served as the administrative capital under the Malla kings’ rule, who were Vaishnavites and dedicated their governance to Lord Krishna. Legends of Bipodtarini Devi are intertwined with the history of Malla Kings in Bishnupur.
Bishnupur is celebrated for its exquisite terracotta temples, erected between the 17th and 18th centuries CE by the Malla kings to honor Lord Krishna. Crafted from local laterite and brick, these temples showcase intricate carvings and depict scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Notable temples include the Shyam Ray Temple, Jorbangla and Rasmancha twin shrines, Lalji Temple, Raghunathji Temple, and Madan Mohan Temples.
In addition to its architectural marvels, Bishnupur is renowned for its traditional handloom saris, terracotta pottery, artifacts, and jewelry, along with the distinct Bishnupur school of painting. The town’s craftsmanship extends to handmade terracotta products like jars, disks, horses, elephants, Ganesh, and Nataraj. The Baluchari sarees, depicting Mahabharata scenes, are made of tussar silk and are highly valued.
Bishnupur Mela, a major festival held in the last week of December, is a national fair that showcases the cultural richness of the region. The festival features stalls with artworks, trinkets, sea-shell works, terracotta items, clothes, sweets, and more. Bishnupur Utsab, a classical music and dance festival, follows the Mela, celebrating the Bishnupur Gharana in music. Other festivals like the Snake festival, Durga Puja, and Diwali are celebrated with grandeur.
Travelers can reach Bishnupur via Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, approximately 140 km away. Bishnupur Railway Station serves as the nearest railhead, well-connected to major cities. The town is easily accessible by bus from Kolkata, Durgapur, Bankura, and Howrah.
Accommodations in Bishnupur cater to various budgets, providing tourists with a comfortable base for exploration. The best time to visit Bishnupur is from October to March when the weather is pleasant for sightseeing.