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Chandannagar: Nandadulal Temple
The riverside town of Chandannagar is 35 km north of Kolkata. The town rose to prominence when the French East India company established a trading post here in the late 17th century. Several colonial mansions remain along the river-front and inside the city. The Nandadulal temple was built in 1740 by Indranarayan Roychoudhury, a local zamindar. It is unusual in having a massive ek-bangla (do-chala) triple-arched entrance porch attached to a much smaller square sanctuary. The temple is thoroughly renovated and any terracotta ornamentation, if it ever existed, has been removed.

Burosiva Temple
At the northern end of the town is the less well-known Burovisa temple, a nava-ratna temple with rich terracotta decoration on two sides.

The east facade has a single-arched entrance leading directly to the sanctum. Two arches flanking it are over false-doorways decorated with large roundels. The arch panels are adorned with roundels and vegetal decoration. A double row of wall panels frame the entrance. Double frieze of panels run along the base, wrapping around to the north side.

Central Arch Panel
The terracotta roundels on the central arch panel contain the rasmandala: Krishna playing the flute at the centre while gopis dance around him. These are on a background of floral and vegetal scrollwork. Miniature Siva temples are placed along the arch.

North Wall
The arch and wall panels on the north wall are very similar to the east wall, however, the central arch panel lacks the rasamandalas.

Base Panels: Janma Lila
The damaged base panels start with Krishna janma lila scenes: sleeping guards, Vasudeva carrying the infant Krishna across the Yamuna and then Krishna with Yashoda in Gokul where he is being bathed by gopis. Below this are beautifully modeled images of soldiers and a hunting scene.

Base Panels: Childhood
The next scenes show Krishna's childhood at Gokul. He battles various demons including the whirlwind demon Trinavarta (shown as a man inside a circle), then he is shown milking a cow while the gopis watch. In the next panel he is shown stealing from the pot that where the gopis are churning butter, and finally he is shown dancing while the gopis play music. In the panels below this are beautifully modeled warriors on rearing horses.

Base Panel: Palanquin
The panel below has a well-preserved depiction of a palanquin being carried by four large bearers and three diminutive servants carrying the hookah and other objects, while the nobleman reclines on a pillow. Above this are more scenes from Krishna's childhood where he dispatches the demons Bakasura, Aghasura and Arishtasura.

Base Panels: Brindaban
In the next panels, the young Krishna is shown in Brindaban: with Balarama playing the bugle, then Radha and Krishna playing a single flute, then the scene where Radha wishes to be carried on Krishna's shoulders because she is tired, and finally Krishna with Radha standing next to a tree and a peacock, perhaps a reminder to the viewer of the Natvin Lila where Krishna disguised as a female acrobat amuses Radha by dancing like a peacock on the branches of a banyan tree. Below this are more hunting scenes and fighting scenes.

Base Panel: Procession
Men seated on an elephant fly flags, followed by men on a camel, playing horns.

Base Panel: Kamsa's Washerman
Krishna and Balarama are in Mathura where they meet and kill the evil washerman, followed by further scenes of their progress to Kamsa's court. Below is a panel showing Kali followed by a scene of two Europeans (in hats) who seem to be watching in amazement.

Left Wall and Corner Panels
The double column of wall panels mostly contain images of yogis, as do the triple corner panels. Panels are framed within borders of flowers and rosettes.

Right Wall and Corner Panels
The right wall and corner panels also contain images of yogis but these panels are slightly better preserved.

Protruding from the edges of the facade is an ascending sequence of pairs of men and animals. Unfortunately, most of this mrityulata is damaged, only a portion at the top remains.

In another part of town an undecorated pancha-ratna dolmancha is raised on a high plinth.

Photos and Text © Amit Guha