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Temples of Ganpur, Birbhm
Temples of Ganpur, Birbhum
Ganpur is a small village in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India. This village, now just another village of India, was once a centre for indigenous iron extraction factories . The rich in the village founded many temples in the 18th -19th century AD, some of which are still there standing as mute witnesses of their glorious past.
The temples are scattered over the village, with two clusters being prominent. One is a cluster of five temples in a row; two on either side are CHARCHALA (Four-roofed) type & the central one, the tallest of the five, is a modified North Indian PIRHA (Step Pyramid like) type of temple. All five are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The other cluster is of 15 CHARCHALA temples arranged like the letter U dedicated to Lord Shiva with a single DOCHALA (Two-roofed) type of temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. There is a beautiful DOLMANCHA (a small temple like structure which houses the deities only during some festivals like DOL JATRA) with excellent art work.
Besides these two clusters, there are at least two other clusters, but these are of minor temples, & are ravaged by time.
The unique feature of these temples is the material used for the decorative art works. While the commonest decorative material in these parts of Bengal is Terracotta, in the temples of Ganpur the artists used a special type of stone called FULPATHAR or GIRIPATHAR. This stone is soft in texture & reddish in colour. The resultant art works look strikingly similar to terracotta, but are much finer as stone retains sharpness much better than terracotta.
Subjects of art work
Apart from the traditional figures of gods & goddesses & figures from the Hindu epics Ramayana & Mahabharata, there are many social scenes like boats, palanquin, rural professionals , acrobats & common people.
Besides these, there are floral & geometric designs as well.
How to reach
Ganpur is situated on the NH 60 connecting Dubrajpur with Morgram, & can easily be reached by road from Kolkata, Rampurhat, Santiniketan or Panagarh.
Nearest railway station is at Rampurhat, about 16 km away.