Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kantaji Temple, Dinajpur, Rangpur Division




Kantanagar-Temple
Kantanagar / Kantajiu Temple

Kantanagar Temple (Kantajew / Kantajiu / কান্তজী মন্দির) a 18th century brick temple of hindus, situated in the village of Kantanagar, Sundarpur Union, Kaharole sub-district, about 26 km  north of Dinajpur town across the Dhepa river. It is an unique example of the temple architecture of terra cotta (terracotta) art in the subcontinent. This temple is also known as Nava-Ratna temple because there was crowned with nine ornamental spires or ratnas or sikhara. The roof of the ground floor and first floor each contains four spires at their corners while the roof of the second floor, in its middle contains the central spires. But by the destructive earthquake of 1897, the original nine spires on the top destroyed. In the early 20th century Maharaja Girijanath Bahadur restored it, excluding the missing nine spires.

কান্তনগর-মন্দির
Kantanagar Temple
This three storied brick temple is a well known, outstanding monument in Bengal for its wonderful terracotta decoration. You will see terracotta decoration in every available inch of its wall surface from ground to top, inside and outside. They are reflecting the stories of the Mahabharat, the Ramayan, other social scenes, the favourite pastimes and hunting.

Maharaja Prannath of Dinajpur began its construction in 1704 (not sure). But from the writing of a Sanskrit stone found in the northeast corner of the temple, it can be assumed that Maharaja Prannath started it in his old age 1722 and from 1722 to 1752 in 30 years it was completed by his adopted son Maharaja Ramnath by the order of his mother Rukmini

At the beginning it was 70 ft high but after reconstruction (without spires) it's now 50 ft high. It's a square shape temple (52 ft square) standing over a rectangular stone base of high 3 ft, length 240 ft and wide 120 ft.  
The book Berai Bangladesh, page 217, mentioned: Legend says the historical name of this area was "Uttor Go Grriho" means "Part of Northern King's Cow House". 


Government in 1960 declared it as a protected monument. Since then the department of Archeology has been performing the conservation and restoration work of Kantanagar Temple. 

There is an excellent article written by Mr. Nazimuddin Ahmed about Kantanagar Temple. Please read it www.banglapedia.org. For Bengali readers can read this article www.dinajpur.net.

 
How to go there: 
Kantanagar Temple is in the Sundarpur Union,  Kaharole sub-district. 
From Dinajpur city about 24 km north, Dhaka - Thakugaon highway comes "Rampur More" then take the road of "Kaharole" and go about 4 km, you will find Kantanagar Temple on your left.

Terra-cotta-Art-Kantaji-Temple
Terra Cotta Art in Kantaji Temple
About Our Tour:
June, 2010 from 14 to 16 I had traveled Bogra, Rangpur and Dinajpur for PAT with BTCL officers. We had started from Dhaka at 14th June, reached Dinajpur on the same date. Next day 15th June we visited Kantanagar Temple, Nayabad Mosque (Noyabad Mosjid), Ramsagar, Dinajpur Rajbari. I am also writing about them. Please read my related post about Nayabad Masjid & Dinajpur Rajbari. It was an unbelievable tour and all the credit goes to Mr. Atique sir for showing me such historical places. All this things inside our country inspired me to write this blog.     

As far I remember we had two PAT teams for IP and Access Network. One lead by Mr. Sajid and another by me. We started PAT at the 1st of June. I was with Team A and later on switched to Team B.

Team A: 
Rajshahi Division: Bogra,Pabna, Talaimari, Sirajgonj. 
Rangpur Division: Dinajpur.
Chittagong Division: Noakhali, Feni, Comilla.

PAT Members: 
Mr. A K M Habibur Rahman, DE Planing, BTCL
Mr. Habibur Rahman Pramanik, DE, BTCL
Mr. Mohammad Atiqur Rahman, ADE, BTCL
Mr. Shahdat Hossain, ADE, BTCL


Sri-Sri-Kantaji-Kantanagar-Temple
Right: Sri Sri Kantajiu and Left: Kantajui Temple Original Form

Terra-Cotta-Art-in-Kantaji-Temple
Terracotta Art in Kantaji Temple
  • Short history of the Raja and Maharajas of Dinajpur: 

Raja Sukdev Roy: 1642 - 1677 A.D.
Mughal emperor gave the title "Raja" to Sukdev Roy because he obtain a large territory in the north Bengal region. He died in 1677. Maybe the "Sukh Sagar" (Sea of Pleasure) is the only remaining left. Raja Sukdhev had two wives. Ramdev and Joydev were born by his first wife and Prannath was the son of second wife. Among 3 son Ramdev died very young.

Raja Joydev: 1677 - 1682 A.D. 
The second son Joydev became raja and ruled the kingdom for five years from 1677 A.D. to 1682 A.D. 

Maharaja Prannath: 1682 -1722 A.D.
Maharaja Prannath was a very powerful zamindar and he ruled the Dinajpur for 40 years. Rukmini was his wife and Ramnath was his adopted son. He dug a lake named "Pransagar" (Sea of life / Sea of Prannath), 18 kilometers south of Dinajpur. The most remarkable thing he did in his life was to start the magnificent Kantaji Temple. Some said he started it in 1704 AD but from the trusted source it can be assumed that he started it in his old age 1722. From 1722 to 1752 AD, in 30 years it was completed by his son Maharaja Ramnath.

Maharaja Ramnath: 1722 -1763 A.D.
Maharaja Ramanath was very powerful and honest king. He was a brave warrior and great administrator. After becoming king he gave attention to rebuilding the estate. He constructed the famous Rajbari and dug the famous Ramsagar Lake. He also built a temple at Rajarampur and gave attention to complete the unfinished Kantanagar temple. All his work make him the most memorable person of Dinajpur District. Also make the district a famous tourist place. Ramnath had four sons. Krishnanath, Roopnath, Baidyanath and Kantanath. He died in 1760 AD.

Raja Baidyanath: 1763 -1778 A.D.
When he was sited in the throne the political environment changed significantly in India. British got the power to collect the revenues.  Maybe in 1772 an English collector was appointed as the zamindar of Dinajpur. Raja Baidyanath died in 1780 without any heir. Rani Saraswati's adopted son Radhanath become the zamindar under the British rule.

The whole story of the Dinajpur Rajas well written in the web called kantaji.com. I took most of the information from there. Please read it for better understanding.

Related Post:
1. Dinajpur Rajbari
2. Nayabad Masjid.
3. Ramsagar Lake

  END

5 comments:

  1. Nice Article. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an imaging piece of Art! These types of historical work must be preserved with care for our future generation. Since there is not much action in Govt level to keep up these gems in pristine care, may be this opens up opportunity for private sector business entities to launch "project of preservation" in contractual ties with govt authority to serve heritage of Bangladesh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments. Government in 1960 declared it as a protected monument. Since then the department of Archeology has been performing the conservation and restoration work of Kantanagar Temple.

      Delete
  3. terimakasih atas informasinya
    di tunggu postingan selanjutnya

    ReplyDelete

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