Bishnupur is a town and a district in Bankura District in the West Bengal, India. It is well known for its terracotta temples and the famous balucheri saree.
Bishnupur stands separate from many of the ancient settlements of the Ganges ( Ganga ) river plains of Bengal and coastal Bengal or Ganges Delta region, that are now lost in oblivion. Bishnupur has succeeded the test of time and it’s history dates back to the third century CE, when it was ruled by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to the great emperor Samudra Gupta of the Gupta Empire (c. 335 – c. 375 CE) during the Golden Age of India.
But after the illustrious beginning the region was lost to a long period of obscurity, where the land oscillated between being a minor autonomous principality and a vassal state of major empires of that era.
The area again came to prominence and it’s present importance as a tourist destination arises from this era between 7th Century and 17th century, for a millennium it was the center of power of the Malla Kingdom and is thus also known as Mallabhum,
The patronage of Malla ruler Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha made Bishnupur one of the chief focuses of society in Bengal. The majority of the lovely terracotta temples for which town is acclaimed were built during this period. The Malla kings being followers of Vaishnavism, a sect of Hinduism, the temples are mostly dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is additionally celebrated for its terracotta make and its own particular Baluchari sarees made of tussar silk.
Royal patronage also gave rise to Bishnupur Gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music in late 18th-century and the Bishnupur school of painting.
Bishnupur (the separation from Kolkata is 132 km), now the central station of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura area, is a seat of specialties and society.
To learn more and plan your visit, specially if you are interested in the Terracotta temple architecture that evolved in this region, we’d suggest the following reading resources.
Rangan Dutta is a freelance travel writer and has some good information on Bishnupur in his blog. Read it here.
Rangan Dutta writes here about Joypur, a nondescript village in Bankura, 15km from Bishnupur, the place that hosts a few of the finest specimens of terracotta architecture.
Holiday IQ, the travel portal lists the 11 most important places to visit in Bishnupur, you might like to take a look at it here, although Rangan Dutta has written about it all along with a rough map to guide you.
How to Reach Bishnupur
BY BUS : Both Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) and South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) runs regular Buses from the Esplanade Bus Depot. Known Private Bus services like Royal Cruiser don’t have a service to Bishnupur yet.
BY TRAIN : [Wiki Travel] It takes around 3:30 to 4:15 hours from Kolkata, distance by train is 201 km. Important trains that can take you to Bishnupur – Rupashi Bangla Express, from Santragachi at 6.25 am, Purulia Express from Howrah at 4.50 pm and Siromoni Fast Passenger leaves from Howrah at 5.45 pm and Santragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express departs from Santragachi at 21.25 hrs on Sundays. For more information you can check Indian Railways and look for trains between Howrah and Bishnupur.
The list below might change with time.
|Train No.||Train Name||Origin||Dep.Time||Destination||Arr.Time||Travel Time||Days Of Run|
|12883||+RUPASIBANGLA EX||SANTRAGACHI JN||06:25||BISHNUPUR||09:37||03:12||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|12827||+HWH PRR EXP||HOWRAH JN||16:50||BISHNUPUR||20:00||03:10||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|58013||+HWH BKSC PASS||HOWRAH JN||23:05||BISHNUPUR||03:29||04:24||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|58011||+HWH CKP PAS||HOWRAH JN||23:05||BISHNUPUR||03:29||04:24||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
BY ROAD : From Kolkata drive out to Dankuni, take the Durgapur Expressway, at Ratanpur intersection turn left and take the Sheoraphuli-Tarakeswar street, go straight through to Arambagh and Bishnupur. Take a look at the Route Map above for a good reference.
For an expert discussion on better routes and experience for your drive from Kolkata to Bishnupur, you can refer to this discussion here on India Mike or some discussions here on Team-BHP, a forum for driving and riding enthusiasts.
Hotels or other Accomodations in Bishnupur
Bishnupur is usually considered to be a day trip destination, for which you usually start at dawn, reach by the morning, spend the day sight seeing and photographing the intricately designed temples, and then after a good lunch at some of the joints around the bazaar area or the college road, or at the Bishnupur Tourist Lodge, you usually start your journey back to Kolkata.
But for some enthusiasts, a few hours might not be enough, for them, although there are a few hotels in Bishnupur, the best bet would be to do a early booking at the Bishnupur Tourist Lodge or if you are unlucky, take a peek at the other options too.
- for Bishnupur Tourist Lodge contact West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation ( WBTDC ).
- for some reviews on the lodge, you must take a look at TripAdvisor too.
- for some more accommodations listed by West Bengal Toursim Development Corporation, check here, and this list here on TripAdvisor.
Important Sources of Information for travelers
- For Security, Traffic, Safety Tips and other Emergency Services, visit Bankura Police.
- For Emergency or general health services, although state of the art facilities are not to be expected but some standard emergency services can be obtained at the following hospitals
- Bishnupur Subdivn. Hospital, +(91)-3242-256144
- New Land Hospital, +(91)-3242-256144
- Radhanagar Rural Hospital, +(91)-3244-257235
- Hardik Hospital, +(91)-9474776260, 9434480474
- A comprehensive list of hospitals in Bishnupur and in nearby towns and villages can be found here.
- Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitted Bishnupur to the UNESCO world heritage sites list in 1998 and it is now the tentative list of world heritage sites. Check the listing here on the UNESCO site.
Festivals and Events of Significance
Since 2008, West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation has started organizing a 2 days long classical music and dance festival in the line of the famous Khajuraho Festival. The Bishnupur festival is organized during the months of December and January, and you can learn more about it here.