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Asanda
Asanda is a small village on the northern border of Howrah district. It can be reached via Amta taking the road north through Udaynarayanpur, or traveling east of Jangipara. At the end of the main road of this village is the Sridhara temple built by the Maity family in 1789. This is a Navaratna temple with a richly decorated terracotta facade. Its triple-arched entrance porch has decorated panels on the arches and porch columns. A single row of wall panels frames the entrance and spans along the curved cornice. The panels along the base are in two registers: Krishnalila panels at the top and social scenes below. Sadly, this fully decorated temple is in a dilapidated condition and needs conservation to prevent it from collapsing entirely.


Arch Panels
The panels on the left arch are in four registers. Most panels are now damaged but when David McCutchion photographed this temple in the 1970s they were all in a fairly good condition. The somewhat intact scenes include Siva seated on Nandi blowing a bugle, and below this a Rama Abhisekha scene. The damaged scene above the Siva panel was photographed intact by McCutchion and described as an erotic scene showing a "woman cutting off a man's penis while another woman combs her hair". A similar scene is on the bottom left panel above the arch. The five registers above this arch show Ramayana battle scenes. These panels too (especially the climactic Rama-Ravana battle scenes at the top) were in a much better condition when McCutchion photographed them in the 1970s. The four registers on the right arch also show scenes from the Ramayana. The damaged scene on the top right probably shows Ravana abducting Sita from her forest hut. The octagonal porch columns are fully decorated with figural panels and pairs of parrots around the capital. Raised bands of rosettes rise vertically along the walls.


Base Panels
Base panels include social and hunting scenes. On the left wall a mounted hunter spears a running deer. To its right is a horse-drawn chariot. Above this is an unusual rendition of Krishna's Janmalila episode. Devaki is shown hunched over a basket giving birth to a child, with maids in attendance. In another section the base panels show an erotic scene of an embracing couple. This temple is unusual for having several erotic wall panels, many of which have unfortunately been defaced. The Krishnalila panels below this are of Krishna's departure to Mathura with the gopis wailing and fainting in despair.


Wall Panels
The triple corner panels (mostly damaged) are in five tiers separated by mouldings. They mostly show figures below canopies. Next to this a single column of wall panels is framed by raised bands of kalpalata that terminate below in figural and erotic panels. Next to this are columns of rosettes and hatch patterns. A small atchala temple next to the Sridhara temple has a pair of fine dwarapalaka images. The muscular men wear elaborate moustaches and dreadlocks (jata).



Photos and Text © Amit Guha