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20 April, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Baro Shivaloya
Baro Shivaloya

M Mahmud Ali

Grouped temples constitute a very important part of Bengal temple architecture. Usually, grouped temples are of identical style and size that are built together and arranged in a recognised geometrical pattern. ‘Baro Shivaloya Grouped Temple’ is a fascinating example of this kind of structure.
The ‘Baro Shivaloya’ is a key attraction of Joypurhat. The term ‘Baro Shivaloya’ means ‘twelve houses of Lord Shiva’. The grouped temple is located at Bel-Amla village, about 4 km north-west of Joypurhat town. It is a large brick-built structure, with terracotta plaques. The 12 temples are arranged on four sides of a rectangle. Each side of the rectangle contains four Shiva temples, while four temples in the four corners of the rectangle are shared between two sides.
There is no clear record about the builder of the temple. According to one opinion, King Ballal Sen had the temples built between 1160 AD and 1179 AD. But the local people say a pious zamindar named Rajib Lochon built the Baro Shivaloya in the 18th Century. However, the present outlook and structural design indicate that the temples were rebuilt in the early part of the 20th Century.
The grouped temple has lost much of the charm of its terracotta designs due to lack of care. The situation got worse when the local people painted the brickworks of the temple with white lime. The terracotta plaques bear images of religious events, but the beauty of the temple walls is almost gone.
The 12 Shiva temples in the peaceful natural settings would attract any tourist. It could have been a prospective tourist site of Bangladesh. But at present, only passionate travellers visit the Baro Shivaloya temples. It still remains unknown to most people of the country.

Photos: Writer
Reference: ‘Bangladesher Mandir’
by Ratan Lal Chakrabarti.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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