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The village of Joynagar located south of the town of Tarakeswar in Hugli and can be reached via Baligori. There are two atchala temples here, built by the Chattopadhyay family in 1740 and 1741. Both temples are currently abandoned and stand crumbling and overgrown in a large field.

Small Siva Temple
The first, smaller temple has a single-arched entrance. Large tree trunks grow from the walls and the upper story of the temple and most panels are broken. This temple needs to be conserved immediately to save it.

Terracotta Decoration
The panels that remain show a very high standard of terracotta ornamentation, consistent with the style of the mid-18th century. The large wall panels have crisp rosette borders. The entrance has several frames of lotus roundels and a bow-shaped motif.

Wall Panels above entrance
A double row of large panels arch above the entrance, punctuated by engaged columns.

Siva Worship
The large wall panels show Siva worshippers or perhaps mahants performing various rituals. One of the more unusual (but damaged) panels shows a weaver working a handloom, a common trade in this region in the 18th century. All the base panels on this temple are also damaged. The large rasamandalas on the arch panel seem to have fallen away or been removed.

Large Atchala Temple
The second temple, a few metres away, is larger with a triple-arched entrance. The terracotta work on the arch panels still survives, though many segments are missing.

Right Arch Panel
The arch panels mostly show Ramayana scenes. Here we see the Rama-Ravana battle at the top, and below ranks of the vanara army fighting rakshasas.

Left Arch Panel
The vanara army, gather stones to build a bridge in the top registers. Below, they fight rakshasas and worship in Siva temples.

Wall and Corner Panels
Double column of wall panels on the sides are flanked by full-height pilasters. The rows of triple corner panels separated by mouldings are mostly damaged.

Below Cornice
The wall panels arch above the entrance. The arched panel below this has a large terracotta dedicatory instription below the cornice. The base of the temple is severely damaged by waterlogging, and the terracotta panels there are beyond repair. The terracotta work on the porch columns is also very broken. Trees grow on the roof of this temple, and therefore this too needs immediate attention.

Photos and Text © Amit Guha