We all feel a sense of pride when it comes to the rich culture of India and don’t hesitate to brag about breathtaking monuments like The Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Meenakshi Temple and other such fantastic monuments and temples. But, there is much more in India, unexplored and unknown that meets the eyes. Lets talk about one such little known heritage of India and the story behind it – The Rasmancha.
Rasmancha is a historical building located at Bishnupur, Bankura district, West Bengal, India. It was commissioned by Malla king Vir Hambir in 1600 CE. During the Vaishnava Ras festival, all the Radha Krishna idols of Bishnupur town used to be brought here to be worshiped by the citizens.The annual festival was held till 1932 and then it was stopped.
The Temple stands on a raised square lateral plinth with a pyramidal superstructure. The internal chamber of the shrine is enclosed by three consecutive circumambulatory galleries and topped by a colossal pyramidal crown above, the arches of which are decorated with terracotta lotus motifs.
Its parallel has not been found elsewhere in India and it may be considered as the pride of Bishnupur for its unique shape.
The square foundation is 1.5m high, each side of which is 24.5m long and rises to a height of about 11m to reach a stage roof above.
The primary reason behind the creation of this mammoth structure was the celebration of the ‘Ras’ festival, when every image, large or small, in the form of Deities was taken in here from each and every adjoining shrine or temple. They were arranged for exhibit to every individual during this event. This ritual was put into practice during the Malla Rule and now stands outdated, excepting the majesty and glory of those days that the Ras-Mancha reminds one of.
Maintenance of this significant masterpiece is being conducted earnestly by the ASI, providing lighting facilities and conserving the flimsy terracotta craftsmanship that is etched on each and every deliberate brick and wall of the Ras-Mancha. The ASI charges Rs.5/- per head, for entry and maintenance of the Ras-Mancha, Jor-Bangla and Shyam-Ray Temples.
Bishnupur is situated at a distance of around 134 from Kolkata and there are several buses and trains that can take you to Bishnupur within 3 hours transit time. So next time you are in the neighborhood, be sure to pay a visit to one of India’s unique yet little known wonder that is Rasmancha.