Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The “Black Pagoda” built by the first “Black Zamindar, Kolkata

Gentoo Pagoda and House - Thomas Daniel. calcuttaandkolkata.weebly.com
The city of Kolkata has numerous buildings built during the colonial period, most of them survived the vagaries of time and weather; thanks to the timely  interference from the

Hindu Mut in the Chitpore Bazar, calcuttaandkolkata.weebly.com
government  to restore them. However,  some historical buildings, unfortunately, fall into ruins with faded glory. The “Black Pagoda” built by the first “Black Zamindar”, Gobindaram Mitra (also
Gobindaram Mitter), one of the earliest Indian officials under the British rule, in 1730 is on the Chitpur Road, Kolkata, West Bengal . This 18th century temple initially was a big Pancharatna temple  flanked on both sides by Nabaratna temples.  This old temple  is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction and one of the trinity gods; the other being Vishnu and Brahma. Mitter built a nine-turreted or Nabaratna temple of Goddess Kali on the banks of the Ganges at Kumortuli in 1725 (some say, it was in 1730/1731). Its 165-feet spire was a navigational aid for sailors.   Thomas Daniel' excellent painting entitled  ''Gentoo Pagoda and House'' done in 1787 shows  a Dalan with three arches topped by a small pediment. Again with these was added a Dochala temple. Along with them also seen  within the complex was another temple of Nabaratna style  about half the size of the main temple.

The "Black Pagoda" near Kumartuli on Rabindra Sarani (previously Chitpur Road)has lost its heritage value because of sheer negligence both by the local residents and the goverment. This temple that was damaged in 1737 earthquake and cyclone was again faced major destruction in 1813. The main big Pancharatna temple took all the impact. Presently what we are seeing are just 


Black Pagoda"calcuttaandkolkata.weebly.com


Above image:  This is the present state of the "Black Pagoda" near Kumartuli on Rabindra Sarani. Note the styles - Nabaratna, Dochala and a later day Shikhar. This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva ...........
 
remnants. Though there is some semblance of modification done, it has to be restored back to original structure, indeed a tough task that needs lots of money.

In the 1829 painting – “Chitpore road and the Black Pagoda” by Thomas Princep and in the 1830 painting “Hindu Mut in the Chitpore Bazar” by Charles D’Oyly,  the temple is portrayed in its dilapidated condition. It is strongly believed that  that the original temple was more than 165 feet in height and  it was taller than the ‘Octerlony Monument’ (present day Shahid Minar).

Ref:
http://calcuttaandkolkata.weebly.com/gobindaram-mitras-pagoda.html