• A 17th-century pilgrimage site in Bishnupur, Shyamrai Temple is one of those
numerous monuments and temples that were built by Raghunath Singha - Malla
King, because of the astonishing architecture, the temple has listed in the list of
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
• Shyamrai is a five-peaked shrine that displays the exquisite terracotta art. The
walls of the temple are entirely etched with the terracotta work that makes
Shyamrai Temple a must visit attraction in Bishnupur.
• These terracotta works depict the tales of Epic Mahabharata and Ramayana which
is so surreal in itself. The way these sculptures are carved they seem so alive.
Moreover, since it comes under the Archaeological Survey of India, the temple is
well maintained and beautifully preserved for tourism. On a whole, Shyamrai
Temple is probably the most compelling amongst its kinds in Bishnupur; it is
imposing, intricate and full of historical tales. This is the place which must be in
4. History Of Shyamrai Temple
• Founded in the 8th Century, Bishnupur was
once the capital of the prosperous Malla
dynasty. The kingdom patronized art and
music, built elaborate terracotta temples and
organized ostentatious religious festivals.
Shyamrai Temple was built by Raghunath
Singha - Malla King. Shyamrai temple is a Lord
Krishna and Radha’s Idol in Hindu Mythology.
5. Architecture of Shyamrai Temple
• Shyamrai Temple boasts a unique architectural design which includes a curved
ceiling which is inspired by Islamic architecture. On the walls of the temple, the
terracotta work is beautifully etched that takes the splendid grandeur of the
Shyamrai temple to another level. A type of fired clay, typically of a brownish-red
colour and unglazed, used as an ornamental building material and in modelling, it
is called “Terracotta”. These terracotta sculptures portray various scenes of the
Epic Ramayana and Mahabharata along with Krishna Leela. Besides, the other
terracotta sculptures at Shyamrai temple include musicians, dancers and hunting
• The temple itself was much smaller than we expected, but very intricate. The
unique roof features four towers at the corners and a dome in the centre, the inlay
work on the tiles range from tales from the epics and incarnations of gods to
depictions of European invaders and Chinese traders. Scenes from the daily life of
people from the Malla dynasty also feature prominently.
• Made of laterite stone, these temples display various architectural influences:
curved Bengali roofs, Odiya spires, grand Mughal arches and dark Hindu sanctums
• It is built in the panchratna architectural style (in which five pillars stand on the
roof) and is probably the state's oldest temple reflecting this design. One can also
catch a few glimpses of the Gandhar style (Buddhist art) on the walls
6. Interesting Fact of Shyam Rai Temple
• Legend has it that in the year 102 of the Malla Era or 695 CE, a lady died
while giving birth to a son in a forest at Laugram, six miles from Kotulpur,
in modern Bankura district.
• Her husband was a Rajput (from Sanskrit ‘rajaputra’) or a prince from
northern India, and they were both travelling to the Jagannath temple of
Puri. In an attempt to reach the temple at the earliest, the wife was
abandoned while in labour.
• The new born, later named Raghunath, was found the next day by a
woman who had gone to the forest to collect firewood, who brought
him back and raised him. By the age of 15, the boy was unmatched in
wrestling, so the king of Panchamgram bestowed on him the name
Adimalla, which means the ‘original/unique wrestler'.
• Later, he became the chieftain of Padampur, then annexed a neighbouring
territory and ultimately became the founder of the Mallas—the dynasty
which for more than a millennium ruled over Mallabhum, literally the land
of the wrestlers.