South 24 Parganas has a number of heritage places of which Kamarpole is one in which one will come across a number of temples, rasmancha, dolmancha and even tulsimancha in one complex.
Radhakanta Temple and Lakshmi Narayan Temple are two such temples which are taken up by West Bengal Heritage Commisssion for restoration; of which the former has already been completed. Both the temples are declared to be a protected/heritage monument under Clause 2 of The West Bengal Heritage Commission Act 2001 (Act IX of 2001). Walking through the village road, one will first notice Lakshmi Narayan Temple and the adjoining rasmancha at a distance. A further walk through a narrow lane will land you to Radhakanta Temple.
The west facing brick temple of Radhakanta looks beautiful after restoration. The temple follows the aatchala style of Bengal temple architecture and is about sixty feet in height. The temple was built by Dewan Darpanarayan Arnab Sarkar in 1176 Bangabda, which, after converting to Gregorian calendar comes to 1769 A.D. I consider myself very lucky as when I visited this temple on a cold afternoon, I came across a gentleman named Arnab Babu who was very kind and opened the gates of the temple enabling me to view it more closely. I was also helped by another gentleman Sri. M. L. Samaddar who accompanied me to the temples and also gave me some information about them.
The temple has the traditional triple arched entrance. Pankha work is seen on the temple walls along with floral motifs. I was surprised to find terracotta works in the temple. The artificial Venetian door along with use of fanlight adds to the beauty of the temple. But the most important thing which drew my attention is the cleanliness of the temple compound. The floral motifs includes flowers like lotus and sunflower. The soft glow of the sunlight on the temple adds to its granduer.
Radhakanta Temple is the best among the temples of Uttar Kamarpole area and is one of the finest in South 24 Parganas district. It reminds me of the temples of Bawali.
A deed dated 27th Aashar (July), 1176 Bangabda stated that the King of Bishnupur Chaitanya Singh had given debottar property of four villages of Bankura namely Berugram, Dubrajhat, Lodhna and probably Doina which amounts to 35, 30, 100 and 35 bighas of land respectively for the wefare of Radhankanta Jiu. Therefore, it can be concluded from the deed that the idol of Radhankanta Jiu must have been established in 1176 Bangabda or before 1769 A.D.
A little distance from Radhakanta Temple will take you to another big south-facing aatchala temple (now abandoned) dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan. The temple, like other aatchala temples has a triple arched entrance and is placed on a higher pedastal. According to the foundation stone the temple was built in 1704 Sakabda (1782 A.D) by Sree Jagmohan and he further extended it 17 years later in 1206 Bangabda (1799 A.D).
The plaque uses Bengali alphabets along with Sankrit language. Very thin bricks (21*11*3 sq cm) were used in buiding this once magnificent temple and the adjoining rasmancha. Terracotta works along with pankha work can still be seen. The height of this temple is a little lower than that of Radhakanta Temple. It’s height is about 50 feet.
A beautiful (now abandoned) east-facing octagonal rasmancha is seen. A few floral motifs can still be seen in the mancha. A flight of stairs will lead you to the rasmancha. Like the temple, the mancha also uses very thin bricks.
Just on the backside of the rasmancha is the bhog ghar currently in ruins. Weeds and vegetation have grown, and, it’s rather difficult to enter inside. Moreover, there is also fear of snakes.
I have been shown two tulsimanchas just opposite to the main temple; but they are now in complete ruins, so like the dolmancha a little far away. Rasmancha, Dolmancha and Tulsimancha – all three in same complex – simply outstanding. But, the condition of rasmancha is good compared to the other two.
Just about 50 meters south-west of Radhakanta Temple there is an aatchala east-facing Shiv Mandir made of brick. Like the other temples, this mandir has some floral designs. A new stone plaque is placed by the side of the temple. From it, it is clear that this temple has undergone renovation from 2011. A little away from this temple there is a pond locally known as Dewandighi.
By train: Take any Sealdah-Diamond Harbour bound local and get down at Diamond Harbour station. Take any bus or auto going to Sarisha. The distance of Sarisha Ashram more from Diamond Harbour is roughly 7 kilometres. From Ashram more take any Noorpur or Raichak-bound bus or simply an auto or even a toto and get down at Uttar Kamarpole stoppage. Cross the road and take the right side. Walk down the village road for about ten minutes and you will reach the temple complex.
By bus: Take any Diamond Harbour bound bus from Dharmatala and get down at Sarisha Ashram more and follow the directions from Ashram more as on the top. Or, one can simply take either Noorpur or Raichak-bound bus from Dharmatala and get down at Uttar Kamarpole stoppage.
- Dakshin 24 Parganas Jelar Purakirti by Sagar Chattopadhyay
2. Purabritya 1 (1407 Bangabda)
My sincere thanks goes to Sri Anupam Maity who first gave me the information about this temple. I am also very much thankful to Sri M.L. Samaddar and Sri Arnab Babu who accompanied me to the temple complex.
Date of posting: 20th December, 2019.