Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Impressive Navaratna Temple, Pathra, West Bengal - the art form that changes with time!!

The Navaratna Temple complex is on the north bank of river Kansabati, Pathra, west Midnapore distt. West Bengal.  The complex includes several temples, thanks to the Majumdar family who patronized them. Details are sketchy with respect to deities in the temples being worshipped by the people. 
Navaratna temple complex Pathra, West Bengal. asikolkata.in
The Hindu temples of West Bengal follow different architectural style and they are altogether different from the Nagara style of Odisha, the Dravidian style of Tamil Nadu and other places. Nor do they have any close affinity with those of Kerala  temples where hard wood is widely used  in the interior. In Bengal, terracotta material is widely used for temple  decorations/ construction.  Like many regions of India, the art forms, native to Bengal are visibly religious in nature and the temples provide an ample opportunity to bring out the nuances of native art. In the 16 and 19th century, brick was widely used in the construction of Hindu temples and obviously they form distinctive groups of sacred monuments as opposed to South Indian temples where granite or other hard stones were used. 
Brick temples of Bengal show a wide range of forms and techniques of construction and they have close link with the  local influences on the region during different periods, Hence various fine artistic forms find expression in brick and terracotta. In Bengal, the temples are manifestations of ever changing culture, religious movements  and arts; they have certain ramification on the artistic adn relief works in the terracotta. The temple art forms keep changing in tune with the changes in the society. The blending  of Hindu and Muslim elements in monuments  is an intrinsic part of Bengali culture. This was after the arrival of Islam in Bengal - 12 or 13th century? The earliest temple artforms show the influence of Mayrian and Gupta periods. In the late 18th century, temples were built in small size with less terracotta decorations. Yo can see decorations only on the front part. At that point of time the economic and social condition of the society had a direct bearing on the nature of the temples  - small in size, less decorative works and minimum embellishments. 

Here at Pathra, there are three other  flat squared roofed Temples adjacent to it and one atchala brick built Temple. Of these, the famous is the Navaratna Temple built in 18th century. AD and having exquisite terracotta ornamentation.
Site plan. Navaratna temple complex Pathra, West Bengal. asikolkata.in

The Kalachand Temple complex is on the  northern side of the river embankment  right across  Navaratna complex comprising  rectangular built Dalan type brick Temple  and one rectangular roofless laterite structure fronted by a verandah locally known as Durgamandapa. There is a half-buried Pancharatna Temple made of brick  just obstructing the embankment; there is another damaged  pancharatna Temple at a short distance on the Northern side of big tank and few other small Temples are close-by. .http://www.asikolkata.in/w-midnapur.aspx#JohnPearce