There is fantastic Hindu architecture in Bangladesh. I visited several historic Hindu temples with extraordinary terracotta decorations.
All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.
From the Dhakeshwari Temple entry in Wikipedia:
Dhakeshwari National Temple is a Hindu temple in Dhaka. It is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh's "National Temple". The name "Dhakeshwari" means "Goddess of Dhaka". Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir in 1971 by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh.
The Dhakeshwari temple was built in the 12th century by Ballal Sen, a king of the Sena dynasty, and it is said that the city was named after the Goddess. The current architectural style of the temple cannot be dated to that period because of the numerous repairs, renovations and rebuilding which have taken place over time. It is considered an essential part of Dhaka's cultural heritage.
There are four small Shiva shrines with Shiva Lingams in the temple complex. The main part of the temple has an image of the Goddess Durga as the main focus. In another part of the temple complex are six statues of various Gods and Goddesses, again with Durga as the main focus.
Kodla Math is located at a little village Ajodhya in the Bagerhat district. It is 18.29 m (60.01 ft) high and has 2.75 m (9.02 ft) thick walls. It has three entrances, one on each side except for the north side, with the main doorway facing south. It is decorated with brick ornamentation. A fragmentary Bengali inscription on a brick fixed over the cornice records that the Kodla Math was erected by a Brahmana and dedicated to Taraka Brahma, probably in the early 17th century.
From the Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple entry in Wikipedia:
The Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple is the largest Shiva temple in Bangladesh. Built in 1823 by Rani Bhubonmoyee Devi, the widow of Raja Jagat Narayan Roy, it overlooks the Shiv Sagar lake. It is a square shape, 19.8 m (65.0 ft) on the side, with a height of 35 m (115 ft), This ornate temple is an imposing and excellent example of the five spire style (Pancha Ratna) temple architecture common in northern India. The corridors have a touch of Jaipuri architecture and in the sanctuary, lies a very large black basalt Shiva Lingam, the largest in the country. It is decorated with stone carvings and sculptural works, which were disfigured during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The invading Pakistani army attempted to displace and break the Shiva Lingam, but were unable to move it from its position. The temple is now a protected monument.
From the Puthia Temple Complex entry in Wikipedia:
The Jagannath Temple (also known as the Roth Temple) is dedicated to the Hindu God Jagannath, a form of Krishna. It is a fine example of Bengali architecture, having intricate embellishments and terracotta reliefs, it measures 5 x 5 m (16 x 16 ft). It is located next to the Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple.
The Dimla Kali Temple in Rangpur is an octagonal structure.
From the Pancha Ratna Govinda Temple entry in Wikipedia:
The Pancha Ratna Govinda Temple is a striking monument, which was built in the 19th century. It has the architectural feature of five ratnas or spires. It is located within the inner precincts of the Puthia Rajbari or palace.
It was built between 1823 and 1895. It was built by one of the maharani (queens) of the Puthia Royal family.
The temple is large square edifice with five decorated ratnas or spires. The feature in the lower portion of the spires consists of ridges while the upper part is tapered upward. It is built in brick masonry over a raised platform. The temple's interior has a square sanctum sanctorum (garbagriha), with four square chambers in the corners, narrow passages on all four sides and has cusped arched openings. The roof of the sanctum and the chambers is formed by semi-circular domes, while the roof over the passages is vaulted. It has simple surface plastering but with fine detailing with red colored terracotta patterns on all four outer walls. The sanctum in the temple has a Krishna image which is worshipped by local Hindus.
The terracotta decorations are very detailed. Most of the panels are only less than about 20 cm (8") on a side.
From the Chota Anhik Mandir entry in Wikipedia:
Chota Anhik Mandir (Small Anhik Temple) is a Hindu temple of the Puthia Temple Complex in Puthia Upazila. It is located near the Pancha Ratna Govinda Temple.
It was built between 1823 and 1895.
From the Bara Anhik Mandir entry in Wikipedia:
Bara Anhik Mandir (Big Anhik Temple) is a Hindu temple of the Puthia Temple Complex in Puthia Upazila, Rajshahi Division, Bangladesh. It stands next to Chauchala Chhota Govinda Mandir and faces east. Architecturally it is exceptional for Bangladesh, the only other of known existence of this type being Rajaram Mandir in Faridpur District. It was built by the Rajas of Puthia.
The terracotta decorations on this temple are more eroded than on the other temples in the Puthia Temple Complex.
From the Chauchala Chota Govinda Mandir entry in Wikipedia:
Chauchala Chota Govinda Mandir (Small Govinda Temple) is a Hindu temple of the Puthia Temple Complex in Puthia Upazila, Rajshahi Division, Bangladesh. The temple is believed to date to the 1790's-1800's period.
The temple stands next to the Bara Anhik Mandir on a high platform, covered with a pyramid shaped vault. The temple's interior has one chamber with porches on the eastern and southern directions. The southern frontage is extensively decorated with terracotta plaques, which depict ten incarnations Avatars of Vishnu, Lankakanda a chapter in the epic Ramayana legend, Radha-Krishna epic stories, flower designs and geometric art and scenes of the civic life of the period.
Tarokeshwar Shiva Mandir is a small Shiva temple in the Natore Rajbari complex.
From the Kantajew Temple entry in Wikipedia:
Kantajew Temple is a late-medieval Hindu temple in Dinajpur. The Kantajew Temple is one of the most magnificent religious edifices belonging to the 18th century. The temple belongs to the popular Hindu Kanta or Krishna and this is most popular with the Radha-Krishna cult (assemble of memorable love) in Bengal. This beautiful temple is dedicated to Krishna and his wife Rukmini. Built by Maharaja Pran Nath, its construction started in 1704 and ended in the reign of his son Raja Ramnath in 1722. It boasts one of the greatest examples on terracotta architecture in Bangladesh and once had nine spires, but all were destroyed in an earthquake that took place in 1897.
There are thousands of these panels on the Kantajew Temple. Each panel is about 15 x 25 cm (6 x 10") in size. They are incredibly detailed.
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Page last updated on Fri Dec 4 13:25:49 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)
Hindu Architecture in Bangladesh on geichhorn.com