Radha Binod Temple – Bishnupur

Located in the northern outskirts of the temple town, the Radha Binod is one of the less-visited terracotta temples in Bishnupur.

At first glance this east-facing temple may give the impression that it is a charchala temple, the close encroachment of houses nearby restricts any view from a distance. It is however an atchala temple, with a very narrow gap between the two chalas.

The temple sits on a slightly raised platform, with a further entrance on the south side and a wonderfully carved false door on the north side.

Although the temple has clearly been substantially renovated from what must have been quite a ruinous state, there are plenty of terracotta panels still in-situ.

The central panels above the doorways showcase lotus and creeper motifs, completely devoid of any human or animal representations.

This changes dramatically with the terracotta wall panels that still survive, here there is a plethora of imagery including Narasimha, Gajendra Moksha, various Goswamis, elephants, musicians, battle scenes, cows, warriors on chariots. It’s a small key-hole glimpse into just how richly decorated this temple must once have been.

A foundation inscription on the north wall informs us that it was constructed in 1659 CE by Manikyabarshi, the wife of the former Malla King, Raghunath Simha.

During Raghunath Simha’s regime relationships with the Mughals was friendly resulting in Bishnupur operating as a free and separate state. Public works that were completed during his reign include five large size ponds, and temples such as Jor Bangla, Shyam Rai, and Kalachand. This temple was constructed by his wife three years after his reign came to a close.

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