The town of Bishnupur near Kolkata is famous for its terracotta temples. There are about 30 of these temples scattered over a wide area. All these were built during the reign of the Mallas whose rise to power is shrouded in legend, and who ruled in the 17th and 18th centuries. Adi Malla is supposed to have been the first Malla king, however the greatest of them was Veer Hambhir, a contemporary of Akbar. Hambhir was a devotee of Vishnu. He named his capital Bishnupur and constructed the first of its many temples- the Ras Mancha. Bishnupur became one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal during the reign of Veer Hambhir and later kings like Raghunath Singh and Veer Singh.
With the advent of the British, the small kingdom of the Mallas became part of the much larger province of Bengal and is now a part of Bankura district. Monuments and temples still existing in Bishnupur's Bankura district speak volumes about terracotta architecture in ancient history.
Terracotta plaques, available these days are obviously an adaptation from the temple terracottas of Bengal and are known for their minuteness in composition. Done in high relief, these plaques represent mythological stories, historical events, decorative patterns and figures of birds and animals.
Bishnupur is 200 km from Kolkata and can be reached by car