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asserts it with so emphasis that some of the old people bore witness of it’s being seen as a ‘Karbala’ or the site of Muharram celebration till about 20 or 25 years before. They also told that the monument belonged to a wakf properly of a local zamindar, and the mourning anniversary on the tenth day of Muharram was held there regularly. A probability thus arises that the building was a ‘Madina’ like that one in Murshidabad where the building within the enclosure of the imambara marked the focal point of celebration. If the present building had any enclosing structure around it is not known but the fact that the building had an open platform around it warrants a possibility that the tazia in time of celebration was put on this platform, regarded as an open verandah. The place according to the local people was an open field away from habitation and was thus suitable for large congregation.

The building was built in Mughal tradition. It’s octagonal framed arched entrances, the fluted dome above and the side vaults of the dochala type shades above the plaster panellings are all typically late Mughal placing it somewhere in the 17th or early 18th century. The terracotta plaques in vegetal or abstract motifs noticed on the lower sides of walls are a proof of the continuation of the Sultanate tradition even in the late Mughal Period.

Baruhas Imambaras in Sirajganj. The two imambaras at Baruhas in Tarash are both dochala buildings one still in tact and the other in a ruinous condition. The engrailed entrance arches and the flanking blind window panels of the same nature speak of their Mughal character, and place them in the 17th or early 18th century.

3.2.3 Temples

Extant examples of early temples, as has been noticed in the chapter on Ancient Period, are rare, and might have consisted of three forms, viz bhadra or pida type, rekha or shikhara type and the composite type consisting of elements taken from both these two. A simple generalisation is however impossible in the absence of material remains, and although a categorisation seems possible only from the 11th century with the shikhara type dominating, clear picture is not available till the end of the Mughal rule when independent chala-type of structures started to emerge in the religious architecture in the form of tombs or gateways. Chauchala appears to be the earlier form as is noticed in the roof of the Sultanate Shait Gambuz mosque at Bagerhat and others in Gaur. The earliest form of independent dochala structure appears in the tomb of Fath Khan in the citadel of Gaur and subsequently such structures with much variation gained popularity particularly from the 18th century in temple forms. These were the creations of the local zaminders, and are now noticed mostly in the Bangladesh part of Bengal. Temples of ratna type also emerges at about the same time, deriving possibly it’s form also from the religious architecture of the Sultanate and Mughal periods, particularly the tomb architecture of the time. By 18th century, a number of types appear in temple architecture assuming multiple forms of the same type proclaiming the ingenuity of the builders. The temple forms of the time may thus be enumerated in the following dominant types many of which are now perished, leaving some examples only in published books for inquisitive readers. The types are


as follows: chala or bangla, ratna, dolmancha, shikhara, spired, octagonal and plain roofed ones. Chala types assume multiplicity of forms such as ekbangla or dochala, jor-bangla, char-chala, aat-chala depending on the number of chal or gable used in the structure. Similarly the ratna rypes are also of multiple types depending on the number of ratnas (elongated domical or shikhara type chhatris) used pyramidically in the building. Dolmanchas are multi-storeyed and are built in diminishing tiers. The plain roofed structures did not seem to have been much popular, but were built mostly in larger form to accommodate beside the puruhit other votive offerers. With the importation of the European features from the 18th century spire-types generally known as matha became very popular, and were built equally both in urban and rural areas. Occasionally these spire types were ornamented with slender ratnas on the springing line of the spires. Because of their structural imbalance, the spire being too high in comparison to the octagonal or multi-sided ground plans, they were prone to the vicissitudes of nature and are now being perished in increasing numbers.

The general character of the monuments is marked by the building material, mostly brick and only occasionally stone-faced or stone-lintelled. Terracottas both in religious and secular subject matters in case of the brick-structures constitute the most important ornamental method, while the stone-faced ones are decorated in carved sculptures mostly of religious nature. The conical roofs are fashioned by vaulted, squinch or corbelled pendentive methods inside and are patterned outside with fluted and scaled designs or horizontal mouldings of tasteful subject matters.

Ek Bangla

The earliest of the ekbangla design consisting of a group of four superbly decorated temples seems to have been located within the palace ruins of Rudranager, a village about two km east of Bardhankuti in Rangpur District. From an inscription over the Sarva-Mangala Temple which is now missing, it appears that these temples were erected by Raja Bhagwan in about 1601. The most ornate in this group has three minutely cusped arched entrances on the west, supported on two richly carved stunted brick columns, each of which is compartmented and panelled with either geometric patterns or sculptured figures of the Radha-Krishna legend and birds. Rosettes of various sizes enliven the spandrels of three arches and above are curvilinear sunken rectangular panels bearing floral and vegetal designs. The single chambered sanctuary was originally roofed over with a hut-shaped sloping roof, which was crowned with finials in realistic imitation of straw tufts of a village hut. In front over the main access door there is a verandah. The interior is a dark oblong vaulted chamber with recessed niches on the east wall and a second doorway to the north.

The other examples of this group conform in general appearance to the above, although this variety is less common than the jor bangla type. Extant specimens can be found in the following places: the 18th Century ekbangla temple at Puthia, near Rajshahi which is richly ornamented with minute terracotta work; the 18th Century Kaligram temple at Naogaon; the Bangla Temple at Handial in Pabna district, built in


1779 by Brajaram Das through Sitaram; the 17th Century temple at Madhabpasha, about 13 km from Barisal; the Gopalbari temple at Naldanga, Jessore built in 1644 CE, the 18th Century temple at Kaichal at Bhanga in Faridpur; the 18th Century temple at Pura in Munshiganj near Dhaka and the Senhati temple in Jessore. Of these the Handial temple is the only one decorated with terracotta panels depicting legends from the Radha-Krishna, Durga, Kali and other scenes of the Hindu epics. These can be found on the outer eastern wall particularly on the spandrels to the arches.

The ekbangla at Biraldah in Rajshahi is a curious structure, now embedded in the eastern

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wall of an adjacent mosque. It was decorated with terracota designs of floral character without any sculptured image of gods and goddesses. Because of this spectacular absence of deities the bangla has also been described as the hujra of the saint whose tomb was nearby to the north-west. If this was a hujra, the bangla must have been of an earlier date, possibly going back to the Sultanate period. Because of it’s merger with renovated mosque, it is now impossible to search further for it’s identification. The opinion now swings between it’s being a hujra or a temple. The beautiful example in Puthia is known as Chhota Annik Mandir. Rani Bhabani of Natore and her daughter are known to have erected several such temples at Murshidabad between the years 1760-65. They are known as Kiriteshvari, Bhubeneshvari, Raj Rajeshvari and Gopal Mandir. They were all decorated with terracotta plaques. In Bangladesh part at least twenty such ek-banglas are known to have existed in the districts of Jessore, Khulna, Faridpur, Barisal and Pabna. Besides, a number of ek­ banglas also existed in Rangpur.

Jor Bangla

The jor bangla or ‘twin-hut’ temple is built on a single platform, the front of which constitutes a porch or mandapa, and the rear the sanctuary. The porch in front is provided with three ornamental arched entrances, separated by two equally ornate, dwarf pillars and the entire facade is framed within a rectangular panel with a curved top. The earliest example of jor bangla was perhaps the one at Bhabanipur in Natore built sometime towards the beginning of the 16th century. The temple was destroyed by the earthquake of 1885. The next examples appear to be those of Guptipara in Hughli District (early 17th century) and the one at Visnupur built by Raja Roghunath Singh in 1655. Among others a few surviving examples are located in Jessore, Khulna and Pabna


Vishnupur: Jor-Bangla Mandir (1655)


Districts. One of the finest specimens is the jor-bangla temple at Dakshin Raghabpur in Pabna town. It represents an extremely elegant pair of Bengali huts joined together on a common platform. Internally the porch in front measures 6m 2.8m and he sanctuary at the rear 6.10m 2.30m. It is the only extant example in North Bengal and seems to have been introduced here by the Vishnupur Rajas in the early 17th Century. Traditionally it was built by a certain Braja Mohan Krori, a tahasildar under the Nawab of Bengal in the 18th century. It was defiled before it was completed and consequently it has always remained an abandoned shrine. It’s entrance facade is enriched with intricate terracotta panels, depicting, apart from a profuse number of floral scrolls, several scenes from Hindu mythology on the spandrels of the three arched openings.

Other examples of the jor bangla temple, which were located by Satish Chandra Mitra, in the Jessore and Khulna Districts, merely half a century ago, have all virtually disappeared or are largely in ruins. Of these the Govinda Raj Temple, built in the 18th century by the Chanchra Zamindar Kandarpa Rai in Jessore, is completely ruined; the Krishnaji Temple, built by Raja Sitaram at Muhammadpur in the 18th century, also is in ahighly dilapidated condition; the jor bangla temple of Narayana, built in 1742 by Sitaram’s younger brother Ram Sankar Rai at Raigram Laxmipasha in Jessore, still stands precariously in a state of ruin; the Laxmi Narayana Temple at Mulghar, built in 1671 by Raja Ram Ram, has now collapsed; and the Krishan Temple at Dhulgram in Jessore, built in 1749 by Dewan Haribjhara, has now completely disappeared. The Krishana Temple at Lohagara near Salnagar in Jessore, built by the Majumdar family of Salnagar as well as the jor bangla Govinda Rai Temple of Mahesvarpasha, near Daulatpur in Khulna, built about the same time by Gopinath Gosvami, have also both completely disappeared. Other noteworthy examples in the same area, still surviving, but in a state of ruin, are the Govinda Temple at Salnagar in Jessore, built in the 18th century and the Govinda Temple at Kotakol, Laxmipasha in Jessore, built in 1732. Both are beautiful examples of jor bangla temples bearing profuse decoration on their entrance facades with terracotta sculptured panels.

Chauchala

The chauchala temple generally consists of a square chamber inernally, roofed over by a dome on pendentives. Externally they are covered with a sloping four-sided hut- roof. The temples are set on an elongated base with the roof of the chamber extended lengthwise from a central dome by arches and narrow corbelled vaults. A large number of these small and unpretentious shrines are found in isolation or in clusters throughout Bangladesh. Some of the finer specimens are found in the straggling ruins of Bardhankuti and Naldanga now heavily overgrown by vegetation. However, some examples are still precariously surviving. These include the large 17th century math at Ujani Gopalpur in Faridpur District; the 18th century Hatikumrul Siva temple in Pabna; the Kapilesvara Temple built in 1635 CE at Taras in Pabna; the Satrajitpur Madana Mohana temple at Magura in Jessore built in 1693; as well as the Nanduali Siva temple built in 1733, the Itna math and Raynagar Krishna temple all in Jessore. In west Bengal quite a few are known to exist in Vishnupur, Purulia.


Composite of Ek-Bangla and Chauchala

There are several single storeyed examples of a combination of the ekbangla and the chauchala design surviving in ruins at Naldanga in Jessore and Bardhankuti in Rangpur. However, a brief description of the temple in Puthia near Rajshahi is sufficient to convey a general idea of this form. The Jagaddhatri Temple of Puthia is dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is a rare variation of the hut-shaped temple as it is a combination of three structures in an integrated from. There is the ekbangla central shrine, with three entrances which is flanked on either side by two smaller chauchala roofed chambers, with single entrances. The other temples in Naldanga and Bardhankuti are also dedicated to Durga and called Jagaddhatri. The facades of all the three temples are richly adorned with terracotta decorations.

The Rajaram Temple at Khalia in Faridpur is a further elaboration of the integrated bangla and chauchala temples, which type presents a distinctive exterior elevation. It is a two storeyed building with the upper shorter storey raised on a 7.5m 5.34m rectangular flat ground floor. The temple consists of six rooms on the lower storey and three on the upper with an open terrace in front. The upper storey contains the principal niche for the deity. It is built exactly in the form of the Puthia Jagaddhatri Temple with the central ek bangla hut flanked on either side by two small chauchala apartments. The outer facade of the temple is beautifully embellished with floral scrolls and figural representations. It is believed to date from around the early 18th century.

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The Aat-Chala

The aat-chala temple is a mere duplication of the chauchala temple with a further miniature roof structure repeated above to gain height. In certain later 19th century specimens, this method was triplicated vertically in a gradually receding pyramidal form, known as bara-chala. Whereas the larger aat-chala temples usually have a triple entrance, the smaller examples have only one. A few surviving specimens of this type may still be seen at Chanchra. The aat-chala Siva Temple in Jessore, which was built in 1696 and the 18th Century Ramesvari Temple at Naldanga close-by are richly embellished on two sides with terracotta art and have fine entrances. Some good examples of this type are the Gunjanath Siva Temple at Telkupi in the


Puthia: Pancharatna Govinda Mandir


Jessore District which was built in 1740 CE; the 18th century Raghunath Temple at Dhulgram and the 18th Century Jora Siva Temple at Dohazari, Bagerhat, both in the Khulna District; and an excellently preserved 19th century Siva temple group along the roadside at Chandina in Comilla. No examples, however, of the bara-chala temple are known to survive in Bangladesh.

Ratna Types

Examples of ratna temples are abundant in both West Bengal and Bangladesh. The west Bengal examples are seen mostly in Vishnupur, Midnapur and Burdwan. The pancha-ratna mandir at Shayamray in Vishnupur built by Raja Raghunath Singh in 1643 is regarded as the best specimen of it’s kind. Built on a high plinth the temple consists of an octagonal shikhara in the middle with square ratnas on the four corners. The walls are all decorated with beautiful terracotta plaques all for the pleasures of Radha-Krishna. Examples of the pancha-ratna or five-spire temple in Bangladesh can be found in many temples in the districts of Jessore and Khulna, notably the Gopalpur Temple which was erected by Vasanta Roy, uncle of Pratapaditya of Jessore; the Krishana Temple at Nalta; the Govinda Temple at Puthia; the large Prana Gopala Temple at Gopalganj in Dinajpur; the famous Siddhesvari Temple at Naldanga near Jessore; the Hare-Krishna Temple at Kanai nagar; the temple at Vanagram and the two temples at Nonabaria in Khulna.

The beautiful Govinda Temple at Puthia in Rajshahi District was erected between 1823 and 1895 by one of the Maharanis of the Puthia estate. It is a 14.47m square structure rising in two storeys and is crowned by a set of ornamental miniature towers, four on each corner of the first storey and a central one crowning the top of the second. The whole outer wall surface of this fairly well preserved temple is profusely

embellished with continuous bands of terraotta panels, predominantly depicting

Radha-Krishna scenes and scenes from the Hindu epics.

However, the large Siva Temple at the entrance to Puthia, 19.80m square, which was erected by Rani Bhuban Mohini in 1823 is a pancha-ratna of the North Indian type, with a plastered finish. The central 3.90m square cella is surrounded by four small 2.82m square rooms at each corner and four covered verandas in between the corner rooms.

Examples of the nava-ratna, or nine-towered temples, are found all over the country. However, some of the best examples are: the Kantanagar Temple near Dinajpur town; the Hatikumrul Temple in Pabna; the Damreli Temple in Khulna District, which was said to have been built by Raja Vikramaditya in the third quarter of the 16th Century; and the Sonabaria Shyam Sundar Temple in Khulna. Belonging approximately to the same period, is also a very large and now much dilapidated temple measuring about 18.30m square, located beside the Ramsagar tank near Dinajpur.

The Damreli nava-ratna temple is a 10.25m square building which rises in three storeys to a height of about 14.33m. Except for the north, all the other sides have three engrailed arched entrances which are separated by richly sculptured short brick pillars.


The sanctum is entered only through entrances on the western and southern sides which are profusely decorated with floral and geometric terracotta motifs, as well as images of the Garuda and Radha-Krishna.

The Sonabaria Shyam Sundar Temple, also at Khulna, was built by a certain Hariram

Sen in 1767 and consists of a 10.15m square structure, rising in three diminishing storeys to a height of 12.50m and similarly decorated with terracotta art.

The most ornate in this series is the Kantanagar Temple near Dinajpur town, which was built in 1752 by Maharaja Pran Nath of Dinajpur. The temple, a 15.25m square three storeyed edifice, rests on a slightly curved raised plinth of sandstone blocks, believed to have been quarried from the ruins of the ancient city of Bangarh near Gangarampur in West Bengal, from where the now stolen Radha-Krishna idols were also said to have been brought. It was originally a nava-ratna temple, crowned with four richly ornamental corner towers on two storeys and a central one over the third storey. Unfortunately these ornate towers collapsed during an earthquake at the end of


Kantanagar: Navaratna Mandir (present state)


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the 19th Century. In spite of this, the monument rightly claims to be the finest extant example of it’s type in brick and terracotta built by Bengali artisans. The central cella is surrounded on all sides by a covered verandah, each pierced by three entrances, which are separated by equally ornate dwarf brick pillars. Corresponding to the three delicately cusped entrances of the balcony, the sanctum has also three richly decorated arched openings on each face. Every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terracotta plaques, representing flora, fauna, geometric motifs, mythological scenes and an astonishing array of contemporary social scenes and favourite pastimes.

The nava-ratna temple at Bardhankuti in South Rangpur, now an abandoned ruin, was believed to have been erected in 1601, according to a misplaced inscription by Raja Bhagwan Das. It constituted another fine example of a temple richly decorated with the prevailing terracotta art of the period.

Examples of temples with more ratnas are also known from Bangladesh. But they are rare. They are called according to the number of ratnas they possessed. There are thus traya-dasha ratna (thirteen-towered), sapta-dasha ratna (seventeen-towered), eka­ bimsa ratna (twenty-one towered) and pancha-bimsa ratna (twenty-five towered) temples erected in different areas. Needless to say that these temples were built as symbolic of prestige-value of the zamindar who built them. Being over-structured they were naturally very weak in construction, and fell easy prey to the passage of time and natural disasters. Traya-dasha ratna temples do not seem to have survived, and are yet to be known. The only sapta-dasha or seventeen-towered temple in Bangladesh, is the octagonal Jagannatha temple, erected in the 17th Century by Maharaja Ratnamanikya II of Tippera on the outskirts of Comilla town. It is a lofty brick structure, much damaged, but originally topped by seventeen graceful turrets. It consists of an octagonal central shaft, rising in three diminishing storeys which are surmounted by double octagonal galleries around the sanctum. The interior of the temple is decorated with mural paintings and plaster relief work. Maharaja Krishnamanikya, who completed it, installed the images, of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra in it.

There were only two known examples of an eka-bimsa or twenty one ratna temple in Bangladesh, but both these have been destroyed; one was the Lakshmi-Janardana Temple of the 18th Century, built in Kishoreganj sub-division of Mymensingh District, which combined spires with ek bangla turrets above a large plain square substructure with a straight cornice; the other was at Rajnagar in Dhaka District, conspicuous for it’s tall spires.

The only vestige of a pancha-bimsa or twenty five ratna temple which survives in an advanced state of ruin is located at Gopalpur, between Dinajpur town and Kantanagar. It was a very elaborate structure whose twenty five ornamental spires boldly broke the skyline. The temple, even in it’s ruined state, appears to be profusely embellished with terracotta sculptured panels on all twelve sides. It was built by Maharaja Ramnath of Dinajpur in 1745 CE.


Dolmanchas

Dolmanchas and Rasamanchas appear to be interchangeable words, and are related to Krishna Lila. They are seen in areas where Krishna is worshipped. Built in receding storeys on square plans they have much similarity with the Panchmahal in Fathpur-Sikri, built, so it is said, for the pleasures of the ladies in harem. They are topped by chhatries, similar to those in Panchmahal or by ratna or rekha towers. Two of the dolmonchas may be cited here as examples: one at Kankrakuli in Hughli built in 1755 and the other a huge one at Puthia in Rajshahi built towards the end of the 19th century in 1895. The Kankrakuli example is ornamented with conventional terracotta subjects, while that one in Puthia is plastered over like a Mughal building. The chhatri at the top of the temple, like the cupola of a Mughal structure, speaks of it’s influence from the Mughal source.

Shikhara Type

Although in form it represents an early type of temple building, the cited examples below is dated 17th century, simultaneous with other types noted above. Of the two cited examples, the one at Mathurapur in Faridpur District has been described as a deul and the other at Kodla near Bagerhat as a math, so common a name in Bangladesh. Mathurapur Deul bears a strong resemblance to the math at Kodla dated also 17th century. Both these are commemorative monuments.

The 17th century Mathurapur Deul consists of a 3.80m square sanctum over which a graceful 12-sided spire rises to a height of 21.34m. The gently curved sikhara is ornamented with a horizontal pattern of ribbed parallel brick mouldings bearing floral tracery, whilst the intervening sunken panels depict rural scenes, kirtimukhas and mythological scenes from the great epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, interwoven with floral and geometric motifs.

In plan, the Kodla Math at Ayodhya near Bagerhat consists of a 3.5m square sanctum with 2.75m thick walls. It has three entrances one on each side. The entrances give the impression of a Sultanate doorway with engrailed pointed arches making the opening. The exterior face has been rendered polygonal with the insertion of re-entrant angles on the corners. The gradually receding spire rises to a height of about 18.30m from the surrounding ground and is relieved with straight horizontal lines, intersected by a series of projecting wavy vertical lines. A fragmentary Bengali inscription on a brick, fixed over the cornice, records that the math was erected by a Brahmana and was dedicated to Taraka Brahma probably in the early 17th century. According to legend, the temple was built by Raja Pratapaditya of Jessore as a memorial to his court pandit, Abilamba Sarasvati. Originally the entrance facade must have been profusely decorated with moulded terracotta art which has now been badly weathered. Today the best work is preserved on the northern facade where the central band of the frame of the false doorway has some very delicate floral patterns.


Math or Spired Type

These are the common types of temples built from the 19th century, and appear to have been inspired by the spires of the European churches initiated in the Gothic Cathedrals. The influence of European architecture, as has been pointed out in the context of the general character of Colonial architecture, started to pour in Bengal from the 17th century, and some of the churches built in Calcutta from the time show tall spires as conspicuous elements of churches. The spires of these churches such as those of St. John’s Church and Catholic Mission’s Church are important examples. The number of spired type of temples is numerous in Bangladesh. But of course many of these types have already been vanished or are perishing gradually. The temples of this type may be grouped under two heads: one, with a shorter conical tent-top and the other, with a taller spire-top. Of the two the latter one was dominant in number. The shorter ones were generally built within the palace complex of zamindar baris and were square inform, and the other in more open spaces, and often octagonal or multi- sided. In the context the shorter one was more of a private nature than the other which was almost always public. Some of the shorter examples are to be seen in Tarash (Pabna) which were Shiva mandirs, in Puthia (Rajshahi) a Govinda mandir, and a decaying one at Chachra in Jessore on the right side of the Jessore-Khulna high way. All these shorter ones had dochala curved cornices on the springing lines.

The taller or spired ones are represented by some of the best ones still survived in Barisal, Munshiganj and Sonargaon.

The Sarkar’s Math at Mahilara in Barisal is a remarkable lofty building which, like the famous Tower of Pisa in Italy, is leaning slightly to the south. It was built by Sarkar Rup Ram Das Gupta of the same locality during the time of Nawab Alivardi Khan (1740-1756). The imposing tapering spire of the math rises to a height of about 27.43m from a 3.80m broad octagonal base and contains a 1.90m wide octagonal cell. Opposite a west facing door is a small niche in the inner wall which is intended as a receptacle for a deity. It evinces the general characteristics of the rekha style, but it is crowned by a dome out of which rises the lotus pinnacle. The main body of the sikhara, however, is relieved with a curved cornice decoration, which is reiterated from the base to the crest.

The two temples at Sonarang in Munshiganj are examples of a further elaboration of the above types. Both stand on a common masonry platform and are enclosed by a moat on three sides, leaving an access path on the western side. The loftier of the two temples, believed to be dedicated to Kali, rises to a height of about 46m. There is a short verandah on the southern or entrance side. The oblong sanctuary is covered by a low dome over which the base of the sikhara is transformed into an octagonal base at it’s second stage. A lofty octagonal sikhara tapers upward and is crowned by the usual pinnacle. The outer wall surface of the sikhara is relieved on all sides with continuous arched patterns in plaster and, like the Mahilara Temple, is dotted with numerous pigeonholes. Two stages of the rectangular cella are crowned with four miniature


ratnas on each of the corners. As such eight towers on each of the corners of the rectangles, plus the main sikhara, add up to nine or nava-ratna. The miniature ratnas are also likewise relieved with five curvilinear plaster panels. Inside the dark cella, three disturbed altars are visible on the marble floor. From the Bengali inscriptions on a black stone fixed over the entrance of the temples, it appears that a certain Roop Chandra erected the large Kali temple in 1843 and the smaller temple in 1886.

The smaller temple, measuring 7.70m square, is surrounded on all sides by a verandah and is more elegant in appearance. This is, likewise, a nava-ratna temple with the central sikhara tapering high above the sanctum, but it’s convex plaster decoration is further variegated with the expanded serpent hood motif in continuous panels, and the temple is painted red. Of the Sonargaon ones the most spectacular ones are at Misripura, Domodardi and Matherpukurpar.

Misripura Village is under Baradi union near Baidyer Bazar. The octagonal structure is about 18m high. Lower three storeyes are highly decorated with panels of blind arches. Upper part of arched panels contain double tiers of square recesses. All eight sides contain similar designs. The upper part of the shikhara is conical towards the end surmounted by a trishula. The plaster work outside is definitely not very old. But it’s features suggest it to be of the Mughal period.

There is a single sikhara temple at Domodardi, near Baidyer Bazar. It’s upper part is broken. The lower part is on a high plinth. There are arched entrances on all sides. Once it was used as a Siva Mandir, but now it is not in use.

There are two single sikhara temples at Baradi and Bandar. These two temples are in use now. The temple at Bandar is a huge but dwarf one. It is a plastered brick built structure decorated with blind arch recesses.

The temple of Matherpukurpar at Baradi is a fluted single sikhara brick built temple. The tall temple is surmounted by a trishula at the top.

The presence of these structures identify the Hindu populated areas of Baradi and Baidyer Bazar, once a trading centre famous for Muslin. These structures are not in a happy state of preservation.

Octagonal Type

Octagonal temples are comparatively rare. They seem to be a late version of temple types. Three such Shiva temples still exist in Pabna– one at Tarash and the others are at Hatikumrul and Chaitrahati. Their tops are also octogonal making a pyramidal sort of dome, similar to some such domes noticed in the palace architecture of the zamindars. The lotus final of the Tarash temple’s dome has a clear affinity to Mughal finials. All these temples are dated 18th century.

Flat Roofed Type

This may be described as a modern version of temple building. With Colonial features such as pillared halls in front, plaster covering and heavy cornice at the top, they are



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