Saturday, 6 February 2016


Abundance of temples in Northbengal does not have their voice to tell the moribund times. Some times pattern of temple structure help them to speak out, sometimes inscriptions along with oral tradition cater incredible tales but fate became horrible for those who do not tell their own story either through patterns or oral traditions. Bateshwar (বটেশ্বর)is one of them. Even scholars have failed to identify the period in which it was established. Since a huge tree (বট গাছ)exists in the vicinity this temple got its name from it. The very pattern of temple structure gives new impetus for scholars who indulged themselves to the studies of these temples.

Like Jatileshwar temple it also had the same pattern Mandapa (pillered assembly hall), Garbhagriha (a rectangular cella, the core body), Antarala (a small vestibule). This particular temple pattern is attributed to finial style or Shikhara reeti. On the other hand it had fine round relief on the walls which makes us to think of mighty works patronized by Ahom kings. So this is a fine example of acculturation of two different style of architecture one is fundamentally Gupta culture and the other one is south-east Asian pattern which made a link between temples of this region with temples of Myanmar, Thailand. 

What is most interesting and made it a unique in structure is use of iron hooks for the bondage between polished stone blocks. Unlike other cementing process there are marks of iron usage between those blocks. There are actually three doorways to the interior part. Dealing with architectural aspect will lead us to sufficient spaces left for door side (দ্বারপার্শ্ব) but if you are looking for the crown portion of the doors then will be disappointed.

Fragmentation of sand stones hardly speaks of such orientation. Two door sides were once finely etched with blooming lotus, waving leaves etc. Floral designs on broken stone pieces and menhir like figures which have flowery chains engraved on it shown us a light through which we can see went away days.  Unfortunately scarcity of facts and findings about Bateshwar temple led us to conclude this writing quickly.

But before we reach to the closing lines we would like to tell you that it goes without saying that in richness of architectural style and historical value Bateshwar temple stand in the last row, unlike Jatileshwar, but let us assume such Deuls and tombs which are lying in darkness of shadows of huge trees are the hidden treasures of Bengal and some of them need serious attention. Revival of such structures will not only give new dimension to studies in archaeology but in addition to that it will enrich our heritage. 

Sources :        1."Jalpaiguri Jelar Purakirti" by Tarapada Santra, Tatha Sanskriti Bibhag.2005.
                   2.  Jalpaiguri District Gazetter,1986.
                   3 " Satabarshiki Sankolon"  Jalpaiguri District, Edited by Charu Chandra Sanyal.

       Research - Sritam  Mukherjee
 Picture Courtesy - Ranadeep Choudhury.

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