Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Lovers' Temple in West Bengal

Akash-er Kaachhe in Baruipur is perhaps the only example in West Bengal or even India, of a lovers’ temple. Located 26 km to the south of Calcutta, on the Baruipur Bypass Road, on the Western bank of the Adi Ganga Akash-er Kaachhe is especially popular among young couples who pray for their love to be true and everlasting. While it isn’t especially old, the circumstances that led to the temple being built, are both tragic and mysterious.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Stone Temples of Barakar

I can think of four reasons that would make the stone temples of Begunia in Barakar, unique. First, the fact that they are made of stone makes them something of a rarity. Stone is difficult to find in Bengal and the vast majority of temples in the state are made of brick and decorated with terracotta tiles. Second, the great age of at least one of the temples. While it has not been possible to verify the exact age of all the temples, one of them is thought to be as old as 800 years. Not much has survived so intact from that long ago. The only other site I can think of is the Dargah and Mosque of Zafar Khan Ghazi. Third, the architectural style of the temples closely resembles that of the temples of Orissa (now Odisha) and is very different from the “ratna” style that Bengalis are familiar with. Fourth and last, would be the sheer ridiculousness of their location – in the middle of an industrial town, in a congested residential neighbourhood, in the middle of a park! Granted, most of that must have happened after the temples were built, but still, one does not walk into a narrow suburban lane expecting to find giant old temples at the end of it.