The temples of Sukharia
Sukharia is a small village some 80 kilometers from Kolkata (Calcutta), easily approachable by rail or road from the latter. Sukharia boasts of three medieval temples of the 18th century, built in the traditional Bengal style of temple architecture.
A. Nistarini temple : dedicated to Mother Goddess Nistarini, a form of the Divine Mother Shakti, was built by the local landlord Mustafi family in 1847. It is a NAVARATNA type of temple with flat roofs (NAVA means Nine & RATNA means a typical type of pinnacle) where the temple is built in two floors; there are four pinnacles in each roof [one at each angle]. The number of pinnacles or RATNA =(1X4)X2=8 +1 at the centre of the second roof , making total 9 pinnacles.
B. Harasundari temple : Built in 1813, this is also a Navaratna temple with flat roofs like the above one. The special feature of this temple is the presence of two rows of 6 smaller temples on either side of the main temple. The first & the last of the rows are Pancharatna temples having 5 pinnacles (Pancha meaning five), & the other four in each row are AATCHALA type.
C. Ananda Bhairabi temple : Dedicated to Mother Goddess Ananda Bhairabi (a divine form of Goddess Kali), this beautiful & huge temple was constructed in 1813 by Bireswar Mustafi . It is a PANCHAVINGSHATI –RATNA ( having 25 pinnacles ) temple. The four corners of the first level have 3 pinnacles each (3X4 = 12); the second level contains 8 pinnacles ( 2X4) & the 3rd level 5 (1X4+ central 1 ). This is a comparatively rare form of temple architecture, & there are only a handful of such temples in West Bengal today. The walls of the Ananda Bhairabi temple are decorated with terracotta works depicting gods & goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The main temple is flanked by two rows of 6 smaller temples like the Harasundari temple (The first & the last of the rows are Pancharatna temples having 5 pinnacles (Pancha meaning five), & the other four in each row are AATCHALA type. There is a big pond on one side of this imposing temple. The reflection of the temples in this pond is an unforgettable scene.