Located just 18 kilometres from Bishnupur stands Gokulchand Temple, the largest stone temple of Bankura district in West Bengal. The temple is located at Gokulnagar, a small village near Salda town.
Gokulchand Temple is a five pinnacled (pancha ratna) 64 feet high east facing laterite stone temple built by the 51st Malla King Raghunath Simha I (1626-1656) in the year 1643. It is rather next to impossible to decipher the temple’s foundation stone. The temple complex, surrounded by high walls, giving one an impression of a fort, covers an area of 23,500 sq.ft. There is also a station named Gokulnagar close to the temple.
An arched gateway leads to the temple. The temple has verandahs on three sides. It is well fortified. Some portion of the wall has collapsed. There is a small stone tulsimancha. The sculptures of Das Avatar and Krishnalila can still be seen today. The central pinnacle is octagonal while the corner towers are quadrangular in shape.
Rash and Dol are the principal festivals when the idol of Krishna is brought back from Bishnupur. In the other days of the year the photo of Lord Krishna is worshipped here. Bhog is prepared by the cooks everyday.
The efforts to restore the temple went to Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay of Mohenjodaro repute in the year 1923. But just more than two decades back the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) took over Gokulchand Temple and declared it as a protected monument.
Acknowledgements: Rangan Datta & Kamal Banerjee.
Date of posting: 28th January, 2018.