A Day At Kalna Rajbari & 108 Shiv Mandir
Hello readers, we are back with our new travel stories. This time we will take you to a majestic place which is around 115 km away from Kolkata. So without wasting any time, let’s begin. Today we are going to spend A Day At Kalna Rajbari & 108 Shiv Mandir.
We decided to start our journey at 7 am. Accordingly, we started our bike and rolled the wheels towards our destination. Crossing the Hooghly River Bridge we passed through the Toll Center. That was the gateway to Howrah. We crossed the Kona Highway to reach NH2. You will be finding many petrol pumps and ATMs in Kona Highway. So try to reload your bike fuel tank and wallet in case of an emergency.
Thereafter, riding for approx 70kms, we took our first stop at Nabanna Dhaba to had our breakfast. We ordered 1 plate Egg butter toast and 1 plate idly. The quality of the food was good and the price was much reasonable.
After completing we again started our journey and after 1 hour we were in front of a huge iron gate. Yess!! that is the entrance gate of Kalna Rajbari. On the opposite side is the famous 108 shiv mandir.
History of Ambika Kalna:
Ambika Kalna, situated on the west bank of the Bhagirathi, one of the two headstreams of the Ganges. During the reign of Shashanka in the 7th century, Kalna was significantly famous for its hyper naval-base.
During the late 18th century, under the control of Maharajas of Bardhaman, Kalna reached its utmost glory.
Moreover, Kalna houses the only Chaitanya temple built in Sri Chaitanya’s lifetime. It is the renowned abode of pilgrimage for the Baisnabites.
We entered the rajbari passing through the iron gate.
Upon entering the rajbari, we started feeling the rich history and culture. The entire surroundings were beautifully decorated with gardening and royal lampstands.
The temples and structures left the true mark of Bengal terracotta art which were really worth watching. After entering the first thing which took our glimpse was the small canyon on the left which signifies the royalty, followed by Pratapeswar Temple.
The most ornamented terracotta temple raised in the 19th century. Built-in Rekha deul style stands on a high podium with curvilinear shikhara and single arched entrance.
(In case if you don’t know about Rekha deul style, let us tell you in brief: Rekha in the Oriya language means a straight line. It is a tall building with a shape of sugarloaf, looking like a Shikhara. It covers and protects the sanctum sanctorum)
The terracotta art on four sides of the temple depicted different Hindu gods and goddesses alongside the story of epics.
On the right side in some distance was the brick build Rash Mancha with an open roof surrounded by a beautiful garden.
We stepped forward and entered through a small door before which on the signboard was written as Lalji Temple. Lalji temple is the oldest temple among all, built-in 1739AD within an enclosed compound by Braja Kishori Devi, the wife of Maharaja Jagat Ram.
Just behind the first door there was a beautiful palanquin on the right side and crossing the second one we entered into the compound. Furthermore, the first thing which we noticed was the tulsi Mancha. Within the compound, there were two other structures along with the Lalji temple. In the front of the temple is the Natamandapa, for the gathering purpose of the devotees. In opposite is a mountain-like temple known as Girigovordhana temple. The Lalji temple is the house of Radha- Krishna.
Most of it has worn off with time, but what remains never fails to amaze the viewers. Moreover, The peculiar feature of this temple is the 25 peaks on the roof, for which these types of temples are known as Panchabinsati-Ratna Mandir. It looks very attractive from a distance.
On the other hand, the Girigovordhana temple has a different kind of art on it. The whole temple composed of 3 colored stones. Furthermore above those different statues of gods and goddesses along with the animals’ status.
Coming out of the Lalji temple compound, on the left hand was the Pancharatna Temple. Comprised of five aath-chala (eight sloped roofs) temples of different sizes standing in a row.
Other than Pancharatna Temple and before entering the Vijay Vidyanath temple, there was another significant temple, named Krishna Chandraji Temple.
Krishna Chandraji Temple:
Another 25 pinnacled huge temple in Panchabinsati-Ratna style along with an elongated chala type verandah in front having three arched entrances.
Moreover furnished with beautiful terracotta art depicting scenes from mythologies and epics, built-in between 1751 to 1755 AD.
Vijay Vidyanath temple:
Vijay Vidyanath temple, another aath chala temple positioned at the left of the entrance. Though it is a huge one sadly there is no terracotta art on it. Moreover, it has sanctum cella fronted by a verandah with the triple-arched entrance. A variety of terracotta plaques decorates the frontal facade.
Meanwhile, a photo session is a must. Thereafter we walked out from the rajbari complex and had coconut water.
Now the time came to visit another iconic temple complex located opposite the Rajbari complex is 108 Shiv Mandir.
108 Shiv Mandir:
From the name, you might make a guess that the temple premise, composed of 108 Shiv mandirs also known as Nava Kailash. Built by Maharaja Teja Chandra Bahadhur in 1809 to celebrate the transfer and ownership of the royal estate of Bishnupur.
The temples are laid out in two concentric circles. The outer circle consists of 74 temples while the inner circle has 34. The outer circle temples enshrine white marble and black stone shiva lingam, while the inner circle enshrines only white marble Shiva Lingas.
The white shiva lingams are the symbol of good deeds, while the black shiva lingams are the symbol of sins.
Both as a total make an equivalent balance. Moreover, due to its ingenious planning, all the shiva lingam can be seen from the center of the temple complex.
Visitors need to take off their shoes to enter the premise and one can feel the devotional aroma that persists all over.
So accordingly we rolled our bike running through the village roads. Additionally, the scenic views of the agricultural fields were absolutely mesmerizing.
To date, we cherish this tour as it was full of history, culture, tradition, and also the excitement.
- Mid October to February is the best time to visit.
- Carry a camera or a handy camera (Chargeable)
- Start your journey as early as possible in the morning.