Hadal-Narayanpur, the little known heaven of terracotta art
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.