Raghunath Singha Dev

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Raghunath Singha Dev
Terracotta work on Shyamrai Temple Bishnupur 8.JPG
Terracotta work on the Pancha Ratna temple dedicated to Shyamrai (Krishna) built by Raghunath Singha Dev in Bishnupur in 1643
51st king of the Mallabhum
Reign1626 - 1656 CE.
PredecessorDhari Hambir Malla Dev
SuccessorBir Singha Dev
FatherDhari Hambir Malla Dev

Raghunath Malla Dev also known as Raghunath Singha Dev, was the fifty-first king of the Mallabhum (now in the Indian state of West Bengal). He ruled from 1626 to 1656 CE.[1][2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Because Kalaram, son of Dhari Hambir Malla Dev, was unfit to become a king due to his physical inability, his mother, who was Dhari Hambir's wife, enthroned her husband's young brother Raghunath Malla Dev, who later got the title of Singha.[1]

During his regime a very friendly relationship with the Mughals meant that Bishnupur operated as a free and separate state. Public works that were completed during his reign include five sayars (large size ponds) and temples such as Jor Bangla, Shyam Rai, Kalachand and stone Chariot were built.[1]

Singha title[edit]

The king's family got the title of Singha as an honour due to the strength of Raghunath.[1]

Mallabhum temples[edit]

Jor-Bangla temple[edit]

Bishnupur Jor-Bangla temple, built 1655 by King Raghunath Singha Dev. It is richly ornamented with terracotta carvings. The roof has the classic chala style of Bengal architecture.[4][5]

Jor Bangla Temple, Bishnupur
JOREBANGLA.JPG Jor Bangla Temple 3 Bishnupur.JPG Terracotta work on Jor Bangla temple, Bishnupur 3.JPG

Pancha ratna temple[edit]

The Pancha Ratna temple (five towers) was built by King Raghunath Singha in 1643. It stands on a low square plinth and consists of an ambulatory pathway with a porch opened by three arches on the four sides of the temple. The central sikhara is octagonal, while the other four are square. The walls are richly decorated with terracotta carvings featuring aspects of Lord Krishna’s life.[5]

Pancha Ratna Temple
Shyam Rai Temple.jpg Shyam Ray Temple (Shikhar 1) Arnab Dutta 2011.JPG Terracotta work on Shyamrai Temple Bishnupur 7.JPG
Pancha Ratna Temple (Deity Shyam Ray (Krishna)) One of the five Shikhars of Pancha Ratna Temple Terracotta work on Pancha Ratna Temple

Malleshwar temple[edit]

This is another temple of laterite stone, built by Raghunath Singha Dev in 1622. It is a deul type of temple and the earliest temple of Lord Siva at Bishnupur. It is square in plan, its height is 10.7 m, and each side is 6.9 m. Its original sikhara was ekratna and have rekh deul style. An octagonal tower later replaced it. This monument is declared to be of national importance under the ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains act 1958.[6]

Shyam Rai temple[edit]

Shyam Rai Temple, Bankura.JPG
ShyamRai Mandir Bishnupur WB Description.jpg

Built in 1643 by king Raghunath, Shyam Rai temple has the most intricate sculptural details amongst all the Bishnupuur temples. Shyam Rai Temple is an example of the Pancha Ratna (meaning five gems) architecture. The gems in this temple are the four small towers and one main tower that build the Temple. The architecture of this Temple is unique in its own way and is one of the highest prioritized monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).[7]

Kalachand temple[edit]

Kalachand Temple (side view 2) Arnab Dutta 2011.JPG

The Kalachand temple built in 1656 by King Raghunath Singha in ekratna style (one tower) with laterite stone.[8]

Terracotta art in Bishnupur[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Dasgupta 2009, p. 25 & 37.
  2. ^ Malabhum, Bishnupur-Chandra, Manoranjan; 2004; Kolkata. Deys Publishing ISBN 8129500442
  3. ^ Mallik, Abhaya Pada (1921). History of Bishnupur-Raj: An Ancient Kingdom of West Bengal (the University of Michigan ed.). Calcutta. p. 130. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  4. ^ Dasgupta 2009, p. 37.
  5. ^ a b "Bishnupur Sub-division". bankura.gov.in.
  6. ^ Dasgupta 2009, p. 50.
  7. ^ "Take a drive back to the 7th century into Malla Dynasty along with serenade nature" (PDF). bankura.gov.in. Government of West Bengal. p. 5. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Bishnupur Sub-division". bankura.gov.in.