Friday, May 27, 2011


An oeuvre of the delicate wall reliefs from Madan Mohan temple of Bishnupur

The imposing facade of Madan Mohan temple.Wall-reliefs of identical size adorn the entire surface of the temple.

Madan Mohan temple is one of the finest  terra cotta temples built by  the Malla dynasty of Bishnupur . It was built by Durjana Singh Deva in 1694 AD  and was used for worshiping the royal family's 'griha-devata' .  The temple can be called a classic 'Ek-ratna' temple - I was awed by the sense of proportion.The large 'Nata Mandir' on the south makes photography of the entire facade a little difficult. Yet the 10.7 m tall and 12.2 m wide temple create a very imposing impression .

Very noteworthy are the work on the three pillars too - fluidity of movement of Krsna and  the iconic scene from 'Nouka Khanda'. Seduction of Radha was often an inspiration to the artists of terra cotta panels .  

A section of the wall - reliefs.

I felt that  the  Shyama-Raya, Jor-Bangla and Madan Mohan temples were very  carefully planned - each has an unique visual appeal, an individual character. I have visited numerous terra cotta temples of West Bengal, seen many photographs and read dozens of books and articles on the same. I am yet to come across any critique on the criteria  of aesthetically proportioned temple structure. If any reader can help me in this matter, I shall request him/her to leave a 'comment' on this page....Coming back to Madan Mohan temple, one will find Krsnaleela and dance are the high points of this temple. Also famous is the series of swans . Very watchable are the processions of cows and swans too, much like the 'Ganas' of the cave temples of Badami.

The pillars of the arches are , as expected, are beautifully decorated. The very 1st 'NabaNaareeKunjar' can be found on 'Jor-Bangla' temple - but, the one in this temple is more famous. Please view my blog on this human composite in  

Those who keenly follow the 'Krsna Leelaa'  wall -reliefs on terra cotta temples, based on Vaisnavite themes, will find that  while creating these panels, the artists have tried to introduce variations. Two 'Nouka Khanda' wall-reliefs at Jor-Bangla and Madan Mohan temples stand out  for their beauty.

Two stages of seduction of Radha. On the RH, Krsna is seen seducing Radha. 
He embraces Radha on the LH side as a Gopini , while rowing, shuts her eyes !

Central pillar - beautifully crafted. 
As lyrical as  writings of  Vidyapati - Candidas 

Dancers and swans run across the length of the temple.
 I suggest the tourists never may not fail capture the panels in their camera.

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