Barakar Temples : neglected Gems

Barakar is a small town about 17 km from Asansol (220 km from Calcutta) at the junction of the states of West Bengal & Jharkhand. A dusty & congested  town in the midst of coal mines, Barakar boasts of a surprisingly majestic group of stone-built medieval temples of Bengal Architecture, belonging to the SHIKHAR or REKH-DEUL style.

The temple complex is known locally as “BEGUNIA” temples because of the similarity of the shapes of the temples with “BEGUN”(the fruit of the eggplant).

There are 4 temples in the Begunia complex. They are numbered as they are seen from the entrance. Number 1 & 2 are at the entrance (No. 1 to the right & 2 to the left of the observer). No. 3 is at a little distance (approximately 100 meters) from these two, & the No. 4 is right behind the N0. 3.

No.1 & No. 2 are typical REKH-DEUL with a single pinnacle rising straight to the heaven, built around 1461 A.D. The pinnacles are intricately decorated with geometric designs & idols of different Hindu mythological figures, as well as of some animal figures. No. 1 is more decorated than no. 2.

Inside, the No. 1 contains 3 Shiva Lingams & a stone figure, presumably of Goddess Kali.

No. 2 contains 3 Shiva Lingams & a Ganesha (the Elephant-headed god of Success) idol, covered with vermillion.

The No. 3, again a typical Rekh-Deul , built in 13th century A.D. It’s single pinnacle is decorated with geometric patterns & animal figures. Inside, there are 5 Shiva Lingams & a stone figure, presumably of Goddess Parvati.

The No. 4 temple , smaller than the other three, is perhaps the most important. It was built in 8th/9th century A.D. Though it is now a ShivaTemple housing the Shiva Lingam called SIDDHESWAR SHIVA, it was probably a JAIN temple originally. The pinnacle is shorter than the other three, & there is a huge AMLOK SHILA (a circular designed stone shaped like a AMLA fruit or Indian goose berry) on the top. This is in accordance with the classical Nagara architecture of Northern Indian style.

It is evident that Barakar was once a Buddhist and/or Jain religious centre. Thereafter, it became a Hindu religious centre (Shaivite & possibly Vaishnavite).

 The temples of Barakar is a fine example of ancient temple architecture found in West Bengal & needs more tourist attention.

Temples 1 & 2
Temples 1 & 2
Inside temple no. 3 -- you can see the 4 Shiva lingams in front & 1 on the left behind.
Inside temple no. 3 -- you can see the 4 Shiva lingams in front & 1 on the left behind.
A real parakeet on the temple no. 3!
A real parakeet on the temple no. 3!
The pinnacle of the temple no. 3
The pinnacle of the temple no. 3
Temple no. 3
Temple no. 3
temple no. 3 with  4 behind
temple no. 3 with 4 behind
Temple no. 1
Temple no. 1
Temple no. 2
Temple no. 2
The pinnacle of temple no. 1
The pinnacle of temple no. 1
The pinnacle of temple no. 2
The pinnacle of temple no. 2
Inside temple no. 1(three Shiva Lingams in front)
Inside temple no. 1(three Shiva Lingams in front)
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Decoration of Temple no. 1
Temple No. 3
Temple No. 3
Decoration of the pinnacle of temple no. 4
Decoration of the pinnacle of temple no. 4
The pinnacle of temple no. 4
The pinnacle of temple no. 4
The Shiva Lingam inside the temple no. 4
The Shiva Lingam inside the temple no. 4
Inside temple no. 2 : Ganesha Idol with 3 Shiva Lingams in front
Inside temple no. 2 : Ganesha Idol with 3 Shiva Lingams in front
Temple no. 4
Temple no. 4

More by this Author

  • Chitrakoot Dham Part II : River Mandakini
    0

    Mandakini, considered holy by Hindus because of its connection with Lord Rama, is a picturesque river meandering through Chitrakoot Dham. Temples & Ghats (Bathing areas) are aplenty along its course.

  • Temples of Khardah, West Bengal
    1

    Temples of Khardah Khardah is a small town in the district of North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. It is on the eastern bank of the sacred river Ganges, about 25 km from Kolkata. Khardah is an important place for the...

  • Buxa Fort : A mute witness of the freedom fight of India
    3

    Situated at an altitude of 867 metres inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal, Buxa Fort is a nice place to visit. It's importance is mainly for it's association with the freedom fight of India.


Comments 4 comments

othic profile image

othic 5 years ago

nice work!! I am so interested in traveling and this motivates me to take a look at this place !


Somen Sengupta 4 years ago

Excellent photographs - I have once written an article on these temples in The Telegraph.You can read it here http://www.somensengupta.com/Barakar.html


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 4 years ago from Tumkur

Fine! thanks for writing on this.


Ananda 2 years ago

Is it 1461 OR 1416 - at the entrance the ASI board says "A TEMPLE BELONGING TO LATER GROUP OF CONSTRUCTIONS IS DATED BY AN INSCRIPTION TO 1416 A.D." which is the one build in 1416 A.D. ?

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working