Photography of Pratapeshwar Temple in the morning will give you to soothe a mind. Visit to this temple will entice you, if you are truly a history lover. This temple complex will be your first day’s visit at Kalna.
Pratapeshwar Temple is located on the west bank of the Bhagirathi River. This river you can see from the Kalna Ghat. This busy river in Bardhaman District offers you the transportation from one bank to the other.
Kalna is popularly known as Ambika Kalna. Once flourished as a prosperous port town in the medieval era, Kalna is a place full of temples which are similar to the temples of Bankura and Bishnupur. And like 108 Shiva Temples of Kalna, Pratapeshwar Mandir is of worth visiting spot in Bardhaman District of West Bengal for any weekender.
Pratapeshwar Temple is the cynosure in Ambika Kalna. The beauty of this spot lies in the elegant shape and rich terracotta ornamentation. Pratapeshwar Temple was built in 1849 by the Maharaja of Bardhaman.
Pratapeshwar Temple is engineered in Deula (Spire) style the temple like Jatar Deula , which contains terracotta plaques depicting themes of Hindu folk mythological stories, the important incidents of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the mythical life of Sree Chaitanya and various aspects of day to day life of the medieval era and the post medieval Bengal era.
The Durga in Mahisasurmardini form (as seen in the terracotta pannel) appears on the side wall atop the arch of this pre-modern day temple of Kalna. The panel is flanked on either side by Lord Rama and Ravana engaged in war against each other.
The Deula structure, which is also seen in the temples of Odisha is present in Pratapeshwar Temple. The structure Pratapeshwar temple at Ambika Kalna was built in 1849 by Ramhari Mistri under the supervision of Pearykumari Devi, first wife of Raja Pratapchand of Bardhaman. Pratapeshwar temple has supreme type terracotta works on its four walls, is also a specila attraction not only to the weekenders but also to the national and foreign visitors.
In the temple complex just opposite to 108 Shiva Temples have Pratapeshwar temple, Lalji temple and Krishna Chandraji temple as main temples. While the Rashmancha is appeared as subordinate one.
Pratapeshwar temple, Lalji temple and Krishna Chandraji temple have subtle terracotta ornamentation but Pratapeshwar temple though smaller in size has the most elegant terracotta ornamentation all over it.
Lalji temple is the oldest brick temple in this complex of Pratapeshwar temple (now the governance of Archaeological Survey of India), having constructed in 1739 by the same royal lineage of Bardhaman.
The temple is equivalent to three storied structure having 25 spires. The front view of the temple is obstructed by a Mandapa of four sloped roof also constructed in bricks. The terracotta ornamentations on this temple are very elusive and the styles differ from those in Pratapeshwar temple. However, the terracotta plaques depict the stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and aspects of Bengali medieval and premodern social life style as seen on Pratapeshwar temple. The terracotta plates also mirror the Charjayapada, Behula- Lakhindar Chronicles and the stories of Arakan kingdom, the durga bandana and Vaishnava- Shaiva-Shakta cult.
One of the unique aspects of Pratapeshwar Temple is the terracotta works at the meeting points (corners) of two walls. There is a Govardhan temple in front of the Mandapa.
The next in importance from the terracotta ornamentation point of view is Krishna Chandraji temple, which is located in the next compound.
The entry to Pratapeshwar temple, Lalji temple and Krishna Chandraji temple is from the complex itself. This temple is said to have been built sometime during 1750-55. The architectural style of this temple is more or less matches with that of Lalji temple. It is also a tri- storied structure having 25 spires. However, this temple does not have terracotta plaques on all the walls. Another minor difference with Lalji temple is that the Mandapa of this temple is small, more like a balcony and it has three arched entrances.
In addition, there are five smaller temples in the temple complex of Pratapeshwar without much of terracotta works located in the complex. These are called Pancharatna temples which are brick build temples on low platforms.