Social influences on Bengali architecture

Introduction Religious architecture has a long and diverse history in Bengal. The first major architectural patrons were the Palas who built several monumental Buddhist viharas in the 7th-9th centuries. Between the 10th and the 13th centuries, Hindu and Jain merchants sponsored towering brick temples along riverine trade routes in western Bengal. Islamic architecture in Bengal … Continue reading Social influences on Bengali architecture

Terracotta Temples of Bengal

Vaishnavism swept through Bengal in the 16th century and inspired three centuries of temple-building, during which thousands of temples were sponsored by kings, merchants, and zamindars. The patrons and sutradhars (architects) of these temples clearly valued experimentation and individuality. In fact there are so many variations in architectural styles that the temples defy easy architectural … Continue reading Terracotta Temples of Bengal

Durga in Indian Architecture

Every autumn, Bengalis in Kolkata and around the world immerse themselves in four days of prayers, rituals, and celebration centred around the worship of the Devi Durga in her Mahishamardhini form. Devotees and visitors to such events see the familiar ensemble of dieties on centrestage: the Devi stands astride her lion vahana and holds a … Continue reading Durga in Indian Architecture

David McCutchion’s Collections

Those of us who enjoy visiting and studying the terracotta temples of Bengal, are indebted to David McCutchion for his contributions to our understanding of Bengali temples and their art and architecture. In the 1960s and 70s, David, along with Hitesranjan Sanyal, Tarapada Santra, and Amiyakumar Bandyopadhyay, and others spearheaded a decade of pioneering research on … Continue reading David McCutchion’s Collections

Krishnalila in Terracotta Temples

Introduction The medieval brick temples of Bengal are remarkable for the intricately sculpted terracotta panels covering their facades. From the late 18th century, this sculptural arrangement on the facade started to become standardised, especially in central and southern Bengal. Here, two-storied (at-chala) temples had large panels above the entrance arches filled with Ramayana battle scenes. On the walls … Continue reading Krishnalila in Terracotta Temples