Chandernagore, a former French colony, had a number of temples of which Nandadulal Jiu Mandir at Durga Charan Rakshit Road deserves mention. The temple is unique in the sense that it is one of the finest specimen of do chala (double sloped roof) mandir of Bengal’s temple architecture.
It is built by Indranarayan Chowdhury in 1739 A.D. At that time Joseph Francois Dupleix was the Governor (1731-1742).
A close look at the foundation plaque will reveal the year 1146 Bangabda. Just beneath it there is also some writing in terracotta which I could not decipher. The outer wall of this do chala temple is decorated with a number of flowering creepers. At present 24 such creepers exist – 12 on each side. They are fashioned in terracotta. These creepers against the white background adds beauty to this temple. Not only the walls but also the cornice is well ornamented.
A fight of stairs will lead you to the temple. The temple has five entrances in the front of which two – one each on two sides are false. The temple has undergone renovation a number of times. May be during renovation, the terracotta decorations were affected. A closer look will reveal stucco works containing elephant heads. There are a total of four such decorations though the central one is missing.
At the old picture of this temple, you will notice that there were growths of vegetation on both the sides. The 34 feet high temple is situated in an open area.
The temple houses the idol of Nandadual in kosthi pathar (touch stone). I have been told that Dolyatra and Janmastami are the principal festivals here. There is also a two-day function held every year on Janmastami and it continued till the next day ending with Nandautsav. Many people visit the temple during the festive days; though daily worship is performed. The temple suffered a lot during the battle with the English in March, 1757, so much so that the canon balls made bores on the temple. But the temple surivived. I have visited this temple a number of times, and, on each occasion, I was mesmerised by its beauty. The temple looked equally beautiful from the sides. I am sharing one such photograph.
The above photograph depicts that there is also an entrance from the side. It is decorated with terracotta flowers on its sides. The temple is well maintained. A weekend trip to Chandernagore will remain incomplete without a visit to this temple.
Date of Posting: 20th August, 2020.