January 2021

Not many would have heard of the archaeological site of Chandraketugarh in India, located roughly 35 km from Kolkata in Eastern India. Chandraketugarh used to be a prosperous, coastal city engaging in international trade, with continuous habitation from c.400 BCE - 1250 CE. All that remains at the site today are the remnants of a brick-built Buddhist temple from the 10th century CE. 


The "Char Bangla" temples in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal were built by Queen Bhavani of Natore in 1755 CE. Each of the four terracotta temples were built in the style of the traditional village huts of Bengal with two sloping roofs, called "Do-Chala" or "Ek Bangla" temples.

Each of the temples have three arched openings and 3 Shiva-lingas. Their facades are ornamented with terracotta panels, depicting scenes from the daily life and and Puranic legends.  

When the temples were built nearly 250 years ago, the Ganges (Bhagirathi) used to flow nearly a kilometer away. But today the temple is barely 10 feet away from the river bank, and its boundary wall has already been damaged by the river.

Getting to the temples is half the fun. Since they are located in Baranagar, on the other bank of the Ganges from Murshidabad, we took a ride on a country boat from the Azimganj sadar ghat for a 25 mins trip upstream. A road journey would have taken considerably longer, and certainly less enjoyable.