Rasmancha and Dolmancha are basically raised platform and their main purpose is to enable the idol to be viewed from all sides. They are spread all over West Bengal where Lord Krishna is worshipped specially in the districts of Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Purba and Paschim Midnapore.
A rasmancha may be hexagonal or octagonal and are more or less pinnacled. But the rasmancha of Bishnupur in Bankura district of West Bengal is unique in all respects and deserves special mention. Currently a protected monument under Archaelogical Survey of India, this wonderful piece of architecture was built during the time of 49th Malla King Bir Hambir (1565-1620) around 1600 A.D (906 Mallabda) before any tradition for rasmancha has been established any where in Bengal.
Bir Hambir became the disciple of Srinibas Acharya and accepted Vaishnavism. With this started a new era in Bishnupur. Thereafter the Malla kings started building large and beautiful temples and monuments of which the rasmancha deserves special mention. Archaelogically unique, this rasmancha is 12.5 metres in height and 24 metres in length and breadth. The annual Rash festival was held here where all the idols of Radha Krishna of the neighbouring temples were brought here for public viewing till 1932 after which it was stopped.
The base of the rasmancha was built with laterite stone while the upper part by bricks making it an unparalled piece of architecture. The outide pillars contain floral motifs. It looks like a pyramidal structure surrounded by smaller sloped roofed structures on all sides. Each side contains four dochala (two roofed) design and each corner has an aatchala (eight roofed) type just to add beauty to this wonderful building.
A visit to Bishnupur remains incomplete without viewing this magnificent monument.
1. Brick Temples of Bengal by David McCutchion;
2. Bankura Jelar Purakriti – Amiya Kumar Bandopadhyay.
Date of posting: 17th August, 2018.