History


Bishnupur was ruled under the Gupta period by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to Samudra Gupta[citation needed]. Following a long period of obscurity, where the land oscillated between being a minor independent principality and a vassal state. The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur. Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km), now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura district, is a seat of crafts and culture. For almost a thousand years it was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned during the times when Mughal Empire weakened under the last monarchs of the dynasty. The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha Dev and Bir Singha Dev made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which town is justly famous were built during this period.
Mrinmoyee temple of kings is treated as a valuable historic place. Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is also famous for its terracotta craft and its own Baluchari sarees made of tussar silk. Royal patronage also gave rise to Bishnupur Gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music in late 18th-century and the Bishnupur school of painting. Detail of terracotta relief from the Rasmancha. Terracotta plate found in Bishnupur, Bankura, West Bengal, India. Terracotta temple found in Bishnupur, Bankura, West Bengal, India.
Since 1997, the temples of Bishnupur is on UNESCO World Heritage Site's Tentative list.

Bishnupur Gharana


The gharana is reputed to have been established in the 13th century, even though there is no historic evidence to support this. In the 17th century, during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, Islamic fanaticism was at its peak in the Mughal empire, and thus many musicians moved to the court of the Maharaja of Bishnupur who was a known patron of the arts. The famous Dhrupad Singer Bahadur Khan of the Senia Gharana, descendant of Tansen, fled to Bishnupur and made his Gharana popular and sought refuge in the court. Bahadur Khan was not only a vocalist but could also efficiently play on such instruments as the Veena, the Rabaab, the surashringaar. The king, Raghunath Singh Deo II, made all arrangements to honour him as his court singer. The Maharaja also announced that anyone having a sweet voice and interested in music could learn from Bahadur Khan without any fees. He also bore the financial liability for the poor students. In time, a good number of students became the disciples of Bahadur Khan.

Historical evidence points to Pt. Ramasharan Bhattacharya, a disciple of Ud. Bahadur Khan as the founder of the gharana. Bishnupur Gharana therefore has a strong link to Betiya Gharana through this unbroken relationship.However, this view is contradicted by some historians. They claim that Bahadur Khan could not have attended the Durbar of King Raghunath Sigh Deo II because of anachronism, as there is a gap of at least 50 years i.e. 2 generations between them. This is a hearsay of one of the disciple of Pt. Ramsharan Bhattacharya, namely, Pt. Anantalal Bandyopadhyay who was quoted by his son that Pt. Ransharan was trained by his Guru Gadadhar Chakravarty, who in turn, was a pupil of the said Bahadur Khan. Actually, Pt Ramsharan learned the Hindusthani Classical music from one unnamed Vaishnava Master from Vrindaban who visited Bishnupur and trained Ramsharan.In practice, Bishnupur Gharana has got some characteristic features in the improvisations of some Ragas which are diffetrent from the practice of the Betiya school of the Seniya gharana.

In the later part of the eighteenth century and towards the early and mid-nineteenth century, when music of different 'Gharanas' were gradually assimilating around the Khayal style, the Dhrupad style continued flourishing among the musicians of Bishnupur.

How to reach Bishnupur


Train Time Table

Kolkata to Bishnupur

Train Name Train No. Depart Time Arrival Time
Rupashi Bangla Express 12883 06.25 10.00
Shalimar - Adra Rajya Rani Exp... 22861 06.30 10.35
Aranyak Express 12885 07.45 11.33
Howrah - Ranchi Tri-Weekly Special 08627 12.50 16.36

Bus Time Table

Kolkata to Bishnupur

Bus Name Bus No. Depart Time Arrival Time
S.B.S.T.C. 3584 05.25 11.00
N.B.S.T.C. 18754 07.30 11.40