The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Kancana-palli

BY: SUN STAFF - 21.10 2019

Terracotta Temple in Kancanapalli

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 72.

We find relatively few references in Vaisnava sastra to Kancana-palli, or any of its numerous spelling variations: Kancanapalli, Kaicana-palli, Kancra-para and Kanchrapara. Information about this holy place is sometimes included in content about Halisahar, a nearby town to the north which resides in the region of Kanchrapara.

Srila Kavi Karnapura resided in Kancana-palli, and his father, Sivananda Sena resided in nearby Naihati, just south of Halisahar along the Hooghly River in the Kanchrapara region. And in Sri Kavikarnapura's Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya, a play on the glories of Sri Chaitanya, we find mention of another Vaisnava residing in Kancanapali – Sri Vasudeva Datta.

In the area of Kanchrapara, both Halisahar and Kancana-palli are renowned for their beautiful terracotta temples, which are among West Bengal's most outstanding spiritual art treasures. A surprising number of these beautiful abodes of the Lord survived the ages and the Mughal invaders.

In Kancana-palli one of the most famous terracotta temples is the Shri Krishna Jeu (Jew) Mandir, also known as the Rathtala Temple. This beautiful structure was built in 1785 A.D. by Nemai Charan and Gour Chara Mallick. The temple stands alone in a very large compound surrounded by two boundary walls.

Built in the typical Bengali aat chala style, the temple rises 60 feet in height. It is richly ornamented with a terracotta lotus motif across the front surface. Just outside the Shri Krishna Jeu complex is another beautiful terracotta temple, the Dol Manch.

A well attended Ratha yatra is held at the Rathtala Krishna temple, when the temple car – a nine-pinnacled rath, can be seen at the temple entrance.

Terracotta Panel from Vasudeva Temple near Kancanapalli