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Everything You Need to Know About Pathra, the Anatomy of Terracotta That gets Overlooked


Take a visit to this hitherto untrodden trail enveloped in the colours of nature, art and architecture blended together to form an exquisite quaint world, to find a photo-like reality. Step into this wormhole where present meets the past, and capture the Keeper of the Ancient Temples.


Shades of brown terracotta sprouted like mushrooms amidst the myriad hues of pea-green, on the banks of a sapphire Kansabati, set in a milieu of a deep cyanic sky- presenting an idyllic tableau of the primary colours of light blending, so impeccably to the eyes to kindle the dormant painter in you.  Locally known as Pathra, meaning “escape from elephant’s feet”, this place is a pertinent yet off-the-beaten destination to choose for a day-visit to.  A scoot off from the nearest towns of Midnapore or Kharagpur of West Bengal through the rural roads would embark one onto a Temple Run through this exemplary camouflaged conglomeration of terracotta lure. 



Undoubtedly a hidden gem in the outskirts of Midnapore, West Bengal, India, Pathra is not recognized that good enough a destination, even to the natives of the surrounding towns. The Terracotta temples of Pathra dates back to two centuries; history has it linked to a zamindar named Bidyananda Ghoshal who built these mass of terracotta temples with archetypal Bengal architecture of Navratna style.  



The relaxed ambiance of the place is embroidered with the plethora of sophisticated craftsmanship- be it the murals as testimonials to the historic episodes or the statuette and the figurines outside the temple structures. Wandering through the once intricately decorated relics of the past, one could easily sense the muffled echo of the marvels and legacies of this unsung repository of art.


Lately Pathra has been undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India and the rehabilitation is being taken care of. We started off on a trippy wintery morning, boarding down at Midnapore station, followed by a ride on an e-vehicle through the ruddy village roads. After a few detours and a way through a dilapidated bridge, the first brown and white of the temple peered through the abundance of bamboo greens. Walking past it opens the doorway to the assembly of the temples. Another set of temples are a bit away from the main road and not by the river and requires a bit trek through the ruddy roads.




A closer look at the wall panels delivered the architectural finesse of the bygone period, although now being reduced to rubbles owing to the ordnances of time. Some wall panels have carvings of godly figures while some have developed human features. A day spent amidst the crafts of these ancient terracotta is undoubtedly a crisp nourishment to the wanderer's yearning.

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