Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Unique Temples Made Out Of Terracotta - Maluti, Dumka, Jharkhand

Maluti temples are a group of 72 extant terracotta temples (out of the original number of 108), located in the Maluti village near Shikaripara in Dumka District on the eastern part of the Chota Nagpur Plateau, Indian state of Jharkhand. These temples, according to the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD), were built between the 17th and 19th centuries. The kings of Baj Basanta dynasty built these temples in Maluti, their capital, inspired by goddess Mowlakshi, their family deity. Many of the temples are deified with different denominations of gods and goddesses, apart from the tutelary deity Mowlakshi, and others such as Shiva, Durga, Kali and Vishnu. The Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has proposed a conservation effort, which would increase tourism to the Maluti village. GHF has declared this site as one of the world’s 12 most endangered cultural heritage sites.

Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
We have seen rangoli competitions, sand art competitions and so on but what is this temple building competition? Maluti Temples are an example that our Kings did everything classy! No, they didn't aim at simple competitions instead tried elusive things. Yes, it was the rulers of Baj Basanta Dynasty who began the construction of Maluti Temples in the honour of the family deity Mowlakshi.

Maluti Group of Temples is located in the village of Maluti in Jharkhand. The story takes us back to the time of the King Basanta who was a religious person and wanted to build temples instead of palaces. Interestingly, his clan was also fascinated about constructing shrines. So, they got divided into four sub-clans and started competing with each other. Totally 108 temples were built as a result of this furious competition. Unfortunately, they are also listed as the most endangered heritage sites in the world. Already, 36 out 108 temples have got destroyed due to the lack of maintenance. Though 72 are remaining, many are in a dilapidated condition.

Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti Temples not only have unique temple style but also are made out of terracotta. Maluti Terracotta temples are small but artistic. Each temple has carvings depicting the Hindu mythologies like Ramyana and Mahabharata. Apart from the main deity of Mowlakshi, there are other shrines for Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Kali and so on. They don't resemble any famous styles of temple architecture. Maluti Temples have a fusion of different styles of local architectures. The artisans belonged to Bengal region who brought a freshness in the design. Hence, Maluti Temples are some of the beautiful temples in Jharkhand.

Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
The temples have been decorated with sculptures of episodes from the epic Mahabharata and Ramayana, and the fight between Durga and Mahishasura. Scenes of village life are also carved at some locations of the temples. There are a few inscriptions also on the temples which give details of building of the temples and also on the socio-political history of that period. These are inscribed and dated as "shaka era" (Indian national calendar), in early Bengali script which is a combination of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Bengali.

Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti Terracotta Temple Village
Maluti is at the border of Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is around 16km from Rampurhat and near to the village of Shikaripara. Tourists can take Dumka to Rampurhat bus route to reach the village. Get down in Rampurhat Railway Station and take a local transport to Maluti.

No comments:

Post a Comment