Vishnupur, The terracotta town of India
The temples are dedicated to Radha and Krishna and since stone wasn't easily available, royal architects and craftsmen had to get very inventive with the red laterite soil found here to please their kings. The result was one of the most beautiful cities in the world of its time. Along with the temples, nearly 30 of them, there are water tanks called Bunds and also a beautiful Ras Mancha built by King Hambeer which stands out from the rest for the structures. In fact, it's the only temple of its kind in India with only one chamber and the rest is just three arched galleries that run around the deity's room.
The architecture of this place is very peculiar and the most popular is the Jor Bangla or the joint bungalow. It is best described as Siamese huts stuck together at the centre and topped by a common head. A single spire rises from the middle of the sloping brick roofs that are shaped exactly like the thatched top of a humble domestic hut. Jor-Bangla's walls are exquisitely decorated with terracotta pannels that depict scenes from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Krishna Leela. All the other temples are also ornamented with various mythological scenes from the life of Vishnu and his incarnations.
Apart from the temples Bishnupur has given birth to the Bishnupur Gharana in Hindustani classical music. It is a distinctive style of music which is still followed and learned. Shopping for souvenirs in this quaint little town is but essential. Various articles made of terracotta including jewellery are exquisite. One of the most beautiful sarees of India are woven here the Baluchari which have mythological scenes from Ramayana and the Mahabharata embroidered on it. Last but not the least Bishnupur's sweets are very famous and tasty and one should leave the ancient town without them.
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