BISHNUPUR TOURISM | PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO BISHNUPUR
Country: India | State: West Bengal
#8 of 9 Places to visit in West Bengal
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Bishnupur: Kolkata (136 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Bishnupur: October to March
Peak Season: November to February
At a distance of 35 km from Bankura, 50 km from Chhatna, 85 km from Kharagpur, 113 km from Purulia, 119 km from Hooghly, 136 km from Kolkata, 143 km from Barrackpore, 149 km from Jamshedpur, 163 km from Dhanbad, 187 km from Haldia, 216 km from Murshidabad, 565 km from Kurseong, Bishnupur is a small town located in Bankura district of West Bengal. Also called Vishnupur, it is one of the beautiful tourist destinations in India and among the famous heritage places to visit in West Bengal.
Bishnupur is famous among tourists, especially for its rich culture including architecture, music, and handicrafts. The history of Bishnupur dates back to 694 AD when King Raghunath I founded the Malla dynasty. The town is also referred to as Mallabhum, after the Malla dynasty, who once ruled this region for almost a thousand years. Bishnupur was the administrative capital under the reign of the Malla kings. It is believed that the town derives its name from the Hindu God, Vishnu as the Malla rulers were Vaishnavites. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur.
Bishnupur is most famous for its beautiful terracotta temples. The Malla kings built grand terracotta shrines to celebrate their love for Lord Krishna sometime between the 17th and the 18th century CE. Each and every temple in this region bespeak of excellent craftsmanship and intricate carvings. The distinctive architecture incorporated various styles from the neighboring regions. Crafted from local laterite and brick, the temples were covered with terracotta tiles depicting scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Shyam Ray Temple, the twin shrines of Jorbangla and the Rasmancha, Lalji Temple, Raghunathji Temple, and Madan Mohan Temples are the must-visit.
Besides, the charming town of Bishnupur is also known for its traditional handloom saris as well as terracotta pottery, artifacts and jewelry and the Bishnupur school of painting. The most famous of the terracotta products are the handmade beautiful jars, disks, terracotta horses, elephants, Ganesh and Nataraj. The famous Baluchari sarees depicting scenes from the Mahabharata on the border and pallu are also created here. Made of tussar silk, the exquisite design and fabric make these saris one of the costliest in the country. The rich tradition of the Bishnupur Gharana, a school of Hindustani classical music is kept alive through local music academies.
Bishnupur Mela is the major festival celebrated every year in the last week of December, which holds the status of a national fair. This four-day festival celebrates the cultural richness of the region and provides the visitors a glimpse of the Bengali cultural heritage. There are various stalls of artworks and trinkets including sea-shell works, terracotta works, and clothes, sweets, etc. The local handmade fabrics and the handprints clothes are simply exquisite and lure domestic as well as international tourists. A recent addition is Bishnupur Utsab, held after the Mela. It is a classical music and dance festival in recognition of the 'Bishnupur Gharana' in music. Besides, Snake festival, Durga Puja and Diwali are the other festivals celebrated with great pomp here.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata is the nearest airport which is about 140 km from Bishnupur. It has well-connected flights from Guwahati, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Indore, Agartala, Bhubaneswar, Dibrugarh, Goa, Siliguri, Pune, Patna, Surat, and Jaipur all the major cities of India. Bishnupur Railway Station is the nearest railhead that has well-connected trains from Howrah, Santragachi, Porbandar, Digha, Adra, Asansol, Kharagpur, Garhbeta, Rupashi Bangla Express, Purulia Express, and Aranyak Express. Bishnupur is well connected with buses from all the major cities of West Bengal like Kolkata, Durgapur, Bankura, and Howrah.
There are several accommodations available in Bishnupur from medium to budget, which helps the tourists to stay and explore the nearby places. October to March is the best season to visit Bishnupur when the weather is pleasant and suitable for sightseeing.