Terracotta, metalware & temples characterise Vishnupur. The temples are built mostly of brick & at times, of laterite. Clay & laterite are the only building materials available here besides wood and bamboo. The architecture is modelled on the pattern of Bengali huts built of bamboo & mud and roofed with thatch.
Vishnupur will remain ever famous for its distinct style of music, i.e. the Vishnupur Gharana, if not anything else. The name of Jadu Bhatt, the music teacher to Rabindranath Tagore, is remembered with respect to this day.
A discerning visitor may find traces of the past splendour and glory thatwas Vishnupur in its superb temples and unique handicrafts.
Area: 20.6 sq. kms
Altitude: 70 metres
Summer: Max 44, Min 28
Winter: Max 29, Min 21
Rainfall: 14.3 cms (July-August)
Clothings: Summer: Tropical, Winter: Light woollens
Languages spoken: Bengali, English
Best Season: September to March
STD Code: 03244
How to get there
Places of Interest
- Ras Mancha (3 kms)
- Dalmadal Cannon
- Jor Bangla Temple (5 kms)
- Madan Mohan Temple (5 kms)
- Malleswar Temple (6 kms)
- Lalji Temple
- Mrinmoyee Mandir (3 kms)
- Shyam Rai Temple (7 kms)
- Malla King's Fort (3.5 kms)
- Jogesh Chandra Pura Kirti Bhavan Museum
(Timmings 1000 to 1200 & 1400 to 1800 hours)
- Jairambati & Kamarpukur: 43 kms and 48 kms respectively. These two places are associated with Shri Ramakrishna and his consort Shri Maa Sarada. Ruins of the historic Garh Mandaran fort are a few kilometres from Kamarpukur.
- Mukutmanipur (82 kms): A dam has ben constructed across the rivers Kangsabati and Kumari. A picturesque spot for a quiet holiday.
- Bahulara (25 kms): The Siddheswar Shiva Temple of Bahulara is well known for its unique architectural style and exquisite ornamentation of the temple walls. The Shaileswar Temple of Dihar, 8 kms from Vishnupur, is also an old temple.
- Panchmura (21 kms): Famous for the terracota Bankura Horse, a folk artefact and now the national symbol for Indian handicrafts.
- Susunia Hills (50 kms): The famous rock inscription of Chandavarma can be seen on the walls of a cave and dates back to the 4th century AD. Susunia is connected to Bankura town by bus. Delightful holiday resort in winter. Also, a centre for rock climbing & trekking.
- Jhapan (Shravana Sankranti/Mid-August):
Most important festival of Vishnupur is Jhapan, held in the glory of Manasa, the daughter of Shiva & goddess of snakes. Jhapan represents the snake worship cult in Bengal. It is basically a regional harvest festival and closely associated with the fertility cult too. Amidst chanting of hymns in glory of Goddess Manasa, groups of snake charmers demonstrate tricks and feats with poisonous snakes. Jhapan literally means a stage erected to exhibit tricks with snakes. At times performed on decorated bullock carts and carriages. Charmers, called Jhampanias, bring king cobras, spectacled and other cobras, vipers, kriats, pythons, rat snakes, vine and flying snakes, in baskets made of cane, bamboo or grass, to the old palace ground. Jhapan festival began as a grand reception first given to Bir Hambir Malla on his return after battle festival continues and the great snake show by traditional devotees of Goddess Manasha, with live & venomous snakes, attracts a large gathering every year.
- Indra Puja (Bhadra/August-September):
Another colourful festival is held at Vishnupur with great pomp. This is known as the Indra Puja or the Indra Parab. On this occasion the Malla Raja of Vishnupur presents yellow turbans to local Santal chiefs.
- Gajan (March-April):
Gajan festival begins at the end of a week culuminating in month long rural fairs on Shivaratri day and is a popular festival of rural Bengal. The festival at the Bahulara Siddheswar Shiva Temple (25 kms away) and the fair draws large crowds from distant places.
Where to buy
The local handicrafts of Vishnupur include silk, tussar silk, conch shell wares & bell metal wares. No less important from the point of view of popular taste are the fine sweetmeats and flavoured tobacco of Vishnupur. Vishnupur is also famous for terracotta folk toys like the Bankura (rather Panchmura) horse and clay dolls. Vishnupur Silks are among the finest in the world.
- Terracota Crafts, Dalmadal Road (1/2 kms from the Tourist Lodge).
- Shri Hari Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara.
- Maa Durga Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara.