POST TIME: 21 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Nalia Temple Complex
M Mahmud Ali

Nalia Temple Complex

Bhushna was an important pargana (administrative unit) during in medieval Bengal. It is now a lost place in Bangladesh, but once it was a part of Faridpur district.

Raja Sitaram Roy became an autonomous king of Bhushna kingdom during the medieval period. According to historical records, Mughal subedar (governor) Shaista Khan gave Sitaram Roy a jaigir (fief) in Bhushna pargana. Later, the Mughal subedar conferred the title of ‘Raja’ (king) on Roy in recognition of his dedication and heroism in defeating Magh (Mogh) pirates and Pathan rebels in Bhushna.

However, after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, Raja Sitaram Roy refused to pay taxes to the new emperor. Subsequently, he declared himself a sovereign king and revolted against the Mughal Empire. Later, he established a short-lived sovereign kingdom at Bhushna pargana in the later part of the 17th Century. His contribution to the construction of various temples, palaces and water reservoirs is well-known. Among those, the Nalia Temple complex is notable.

The temple complex is located at Nalia village under Baliakandi upazila in Rajbari district. Nalia is a land of serene natural beauty and outstanding heritage edifices. For those who are enchanted by both nature and heritage, this rural border area is undoubtedly a place they must visit. A huge number of heritage monuments from medieval and British colonial period are scattered throughout the land of Nalia.

Once, there were different temple designs, including chala, Bangla, ratna, shikhara, math, composite, dol-macha and non-traditional types. Raja Sitaram Roy built the temples in 1655-56 AD. Among the temples, only four _ one jor-Bangla and three chau-chala types _ survive today. But the present condition of the more than 360 year-old temples is not satisfactory at all. The roofs and floors of the four temples are dilapidated and there are cracks in the wall.

The Nalia temple complex is an important site of historical interest. But unfortunately, there is no one to look after or maintain the old temple complex at present. If the four temples are not restored immediately, then the structures will collapse soon. Moreover, if local people are made aware of the heritage value of the temples and the authorities take urgent steps to conserve them, then the abandoned Nalia Temple complex has great potential to attract tourists from Bangladesh and neighbouring countries.


References: Late Mediaeval Temples of Bengal: Origins and Classification, David J Mccutchion, Asiatic Society, 1972;  Bangladesher Mandir, Ratan Lal Chakrabarti, Bangla Academy, 1985; Archaeological Survey Report of Greater Faridpur District, M Abul Hashem Miah, DOA, 2000; History of Greater Faridpur, Anwar Karim, Fraidpur, 2011; History of Faridpur, Anandonath Roy, 1908.

Photos: Writer.