Saturday, April 2, 2011

PUTHIA PALACE AND TEMPLES, RAJSHAHI, BANGLADESH

Puthia Palace, Rajshahi
Lying on the main highway from Dhaka to Rajshahi, Puthia stands about 40 km short of the latter Divisional centre.
Accessed by a side road off the main street lies the Puthia ‘Complex’, with its splendid late 19th Century Palace, and some of the finest Hindu temples within the country.
The first building to catch the eye as you approach is the white plastered Shiva Temple, which, with a small pavilion beside it stand reflected in a lake. Somewhat defaced, it is said, by marauding Pakistani troops during the Liberation War of 1971, the essentials, nevertheless remain intact.
Moving on, across yet another pond, surrounded by a greensward, when not occupied by fairs or exhibitions, stands the magnificent 13 pillar facade of the palace.
Radha - Krishna Temple, Puthia, Rajshahi
Built in 1895, two years before in Great India earthquake that destroyed so many earlier buildings in Bangladesh, and led to a positive frenzy of building for replacement, it has survived to crumble gradually, occupied, now, as a teacher training college. A little over 100 years, and it certainly won’t last another century. Hemanta Kumari Devi, who ordered its construction would probably be glad of its present use, but saddened by its state.
To one side, and a little behind, stands the nearly two hundred year old Govinda Temple. In appearance and structure, not unlike the more famous Kanthiji Temple near Dinajpur. But whilst Kanthiji, perhaps, may boast even finer terracotta friezes, Govinda Temple has retained the spires that the earthquake brought down at Kanthiji.
Shiva Temple, Puthia, Rajshahi
The Jagannath Temple, Gopala Temple, and an array of lesser shrines and outbuildings make exploration of the area around well worth the extra time spent at this, which remains, even in today’s traffic, just about a day trip out of Dhaka. Although a night at Jamuna Resort can ease the travel burden.

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