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Hadal-Narayanpur, the little known heaven of terracotta art

Updated on April 14, 2011
A scene from the epic Ramayana where Hanuman, the monkey Lord is carrying Lord Rama & Lakshmana on his shoulder & at the same time carrying Goddess Durga with his hands.
A scene from the epic Ramayana where Hanuman, the monkey Lord is carrying Lord Rama & Lakshmana on his shoulder & at the same time carrying Goddess Durga with his hands.
Another scene from Ramayana where Lakshmana is severely wounded in the battle & is lying on the lap of Lord Rama
Another scene from Ramayana where Lakshmana is severely wounded in the battle & is lying on the lap of Lord Rama
Two trumpeters. Note the hat of the former, which looks like a European hat!
Two trumpeters. Note the hat of the former, which looks like a European hat!
A terracotta panel
A terracotta panel
A scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna is aiming at the fish hung high up. From the Navaratna temple of Chhoto taraf.
A scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna is aiming at the fish hung high up. From the Navaratna temple of Chhoto taraf.
The Pancharatna temple of Bara Taraf.
The Pancharatna temple of Bara Taraf.
The front facade of the Pancharatna temple
The front facade of the Pancharatna temple
A terracotta panel
A terracotta panel
Terracotta panel. The green color on the parrots is a later addition.
Terracotta panel. The green color on the parrots is a later addition.
The 17-pinnacled Rashmancha
The 17-pinnacled Rashmancha
Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture
Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture
Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga
The palace of the Mandal family, owners of the temple estate
The palace of the Mandal family, owners of the temple estate
Rich terracotta art on the front facade of Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf
Rich terracotta art on the front facade of Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf
Lord Krishna with attendants
Lord Krishna with attendants
On the right, Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan.
On the right, Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan.
Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan posture, from the Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf
Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayan posture, from the Navaratna temple of Mejo Taraf
Lord Vishnu in His Fish Avatar ( Matsyaavatar).
Lord Vishnu in His Fish Avatar ( Matsyaavatar).
Floral design
Floral design
The Church like 9 pinnacled Navaratna temple of Chhota Taraf.
The Church like 9 pinnacled Navaratna temple of Chhota Taraf.

Hadal- Narayanpur is a twin village in the interior of Bankura district of West Bengal, India. Connected to important towns like Bankura, Bardhaman, Sonamukhi & Patrasayer by good road & rail. The nearest railway station DHAGARIA which is about 5 km from the village. The trains are few, so the normal mode of connection is by road.

The Hadal village is situated on the east bank & the Narayanpur village on the west bank of a small river called BODAI, which is a branch of the mighty Damodar river.

The importance of this small village is for the excellent medieval temples with rich terracotta decorations of Bengal style.

There are 4 main temples & some other smaller ones.

  1. Damodar temple of Bara taraf : Built in 1806 A.D. , this is a Pancharatna (5 pinnacled) temple with ridged turrets & triple entrance. The front façade has rich terracotta decorations depicting Lord Krihna, His divine consort Radha, Sri Chaitanyadev & other mythological figures. Besides, there are animal, avian & floral motifs.
  2. Radha Damodar of Mejo taraf : a 19th century temple with 9 pinnacles (Navaratna style), this is perhaps one of the richest decorated (terracotta) temples I’ve ever seen. The front façade has extensive decorations with mythological figures plus the usual floral & animal designs. The central panel has a large terracotta panel with excellent figures from Hindu mythology. The most beautiful of these are the figure of Lord Vishnu in His Ananta sayan posture (lying on a divine serpent, with Goddess Lakshmi at His feet & a lotus emerging from His navel on which Lord Bramha is seated) & the figure of Goddess Durga. There are the usual scenes from the epic Ramayana depicting the fight between Lord Rama’s monkey brigade & the demon Kinf Ravana’s demon soldiers. There are the 10 figures of the Ten Avatars (Dashavatar) of Lord Vishnu.
  3. Radha Damodar of Chhoto taraf :  This 19th century  navaratna (Nine pinnacled) temple looks like a church at first sight! The nine pinnacles are rather tall & straight, thereby giving a church like look. The front façade has extensive terracotta work with usual motifs. However, two things are highly imteresting. One, the presence of figures with several musical instruments like drums of different types, bugles, string instruments like Sarengi & (possibly) violin.The other is a large panel, located strategically centrally, showing an important  scene from the epic Mahabharata where the ace archer Arjuna , the third of the Pandava brothers, is aiming his arrow at a fish hung high up.
  4. Rashmancha : Situated near the first temple, this is an excellent 17-pinnacled octagonal structure with 8 facades, each of which is richly decorated with terracotta work. This was constructed in 1854 A.D.
  5. A smaller temple nears the temple no. 3 is also has good terracotta work, with a prominent figure of Lord Vishnu in His Ananta Sayan posture.

 

I was immensely helped by Mr. Dhiraj Mandal, the current manager of the temple-estate, as well as by other members of the Mandal family who actually own the temples.

The twin village of Hadal -Narayanpur deserves more tourist attractions, both the common tourists  as well as art lovers.

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    • profile image

      SOMEN SENGUPTA 

      6 years ago

      really captivating - good quality photographs with informative description.

    • profile image

      lovly 

      6 years ago

      alpana name akti meye achee newmarkete o maghe maghe lodge jai poisa rojkar korte

    • profile image

      Suchikkon Ghosh(nephew of Sujoy Mondal) 

      7 years ago

      This is to inform you that HadalNarayanpur Barabari is my maternal uncle's home(mamabari)......and this is my pride that i am a grandson(Lt.Banamali Mandal) of this ancient heritage house..and this place always helds a pleasant and heavenly atmoshpere through all the season..

    • shyamchat profile image

      shyamchat 

      7 years ago from Calcutta

      For quite a while, I am watching the photos of various terra-cotta temples which you,Amitabha,Rangan,Somen and others are publishing.I want to visit a few in the next opportunity where I can see some original work on wall-reliefs , not imitations of those of the more famous ones.

      I can see the artistry of these and Devipur ( near Memari) stand out. Two more places - Suri and Ghurisha - are also excellent.

      Thanks for bringing out this album.

    • profile image

      Satyasri Ukil 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Asis...much liked this page. Will you please specify the PS under which these villages are located...?

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