As my dingy bus travelled across the farmlands of West Bengal, taking me all the way from Durgapur to Bishnupur, the sun had started shining like a bright ball of fire, ready to blind me, telling, Anshul go away, this is not your day and never will be.
But I didn’t want to turn back. The backbreaking journey that had brought me almost halfway through was not supposed to end this way. I will not return until I am done with this place, after all so much planning went into ensuring that I come here.
Durgapur is one of the biggest industrial towns of West Bengal. The traffic, the noise, the chaos, and everything else combine to become a place where I would not want to stay ever. But I didn’t know much about Bishnupur, in my head, it was something in the middle of nowhere with a couple of ruins.
How to reach Bishnupur
If you are staying in Durgapur (please don’t), then there are buses that travel to Bankura from where you can catch a local bus or an autorikshaw to explore the temples of Bishnupur. The local bus in Bankura will drop you at a point from where you’ll get a lot of e-rikshaws. These rickshaws charge INR 300 to show all the temples of Bishnupur. You can guide but it seems that this is the standard rate.
You can also catch a train from Kolkata or Asansol and get down at Bankura. It takes a little more time but the journey is comfortable and one can stay in a better, bigger hotel if they don’t like the tiny guest houses of Bankura.
As you leave Durgapur, and come closer to Bankur, where Bishnupur temples are located, you’ll see a change in landscape. Factories get replaced with farms, and noisy auto rickshaws and buses are replaced with cows and goats. And Bankura is nothing like the town I had imagined. It was a flourishing business town with a lot of hotels where I could have stayed instead of the one at Durgapur. Bad decision but I guess we all make mistakes first time.
Bishnupur was ruled by the rulers of Mall Dynasty during 17th and 18th century. The Mallas were great admirers of art and culture and they constructed a number of temples in this area. Their work is also seen at some places in Bankura and locations close to Kolkata.
Apart from temples, Bishnupur is also a famous for manufacturing of Baluchari Sarees. This handicraft has been promoted in the last few years. Bishnupur Gharana is also a famous musical family that has won many awards and accolades in national and international levels.
How to tour the temples of Bishnupur
Bishnupur temple tour starts from Rasmancha, the directions for which are present on Google Maps. Rasmancha is not a temple but actually an elevated platform of mazed archways. During the Raas festival, the idols and pictures of Lord Krishna are brought here and displayed in the galleries. The building was constructed using indigenous mortar of lentils, spices, milk, rice husk, etc. The way it still stands tall is an example of brilliant craftsmanship and architecture skills.
From Rasmancha, you can head to the Southern Group of Temples. The temples are made with laterite and using single spires, curved roofs and arches as the most noticeable highlights. The architecture style is not fixed to one location but has its influences from Odisha, West Bengal and Persia. Among these Radhashyam Temple (google maps location) is the most well preserved.
From here, one can head to Bishnupur museum, Chinnmasta Temple and Dalmadal Cannon. Jor Bangla Temple is also close by is one of the most recognizable architecture style seen in many parts of West Bengal and even Tripura.
Take small breaks in middle of your temple exploration and enjoy some lebu cha (lemon tea) or rong cha (black tea) or tele bhaja (fritters) to energize.
What to buy in Bishnupur
Every temple complex has a number of Terracotta craftsmen sitting outside and selling various statues and toys. I don’t know how is it possible to carry them to the next destination without breaking something. Bankura Horses are the most identifiable toys you’ll see being sold everywhere.
Where to stay in Bishnupur
The best location that you can stay at Bishnupur will be Bankura. Although the hotels in Bushnupur and Bankura are kinda simple but there is a West Bengal tourism guest house that is fit for travellers from outside. Apart from this, one can plan their stay in Asansol or Durgapur if they wish to travel a little. But keep in mind that you’ll have to leave before 5 PM because the bus frequency gets less as the time goes by.
Best time to visit Bishnupur
The best time to visit Bishnupur is after September when the weather becomes gentle and the summers starts to fade away. The monsoon season will give nice portraits but it is really hard to explore everything as many areas are flooded.
Bishnupur music festival is organized in the month of Februray so you can also plan your visit during that time.
Hope this Bishnupur travel blog helped you. For more queries, connect with me on Facebook and Instagram