TEMPLE OF CHATURDASA DEVATA, RADHAKISHOREPUR


SOUTH TRIPURA, TRIPURA
RADHAKISHOREPUR (Lat 23° 31’ N; Long.91°- 9’ E)
Airport: Agartala; Railway Station: Kumarghat; Bus Station: Udaipur.

ChaturdasaDevata temple of brick masonry is situated adjacent to Mahadev Bari temple in the area of Radhakishorepur(Udaipur). It is located at a distance of 55 km from Agartala, the capital city of Tripura.

There are two different sources of which one source states that the deciphered stone inscription suggests that the bigger temple is Gopinath temple. It was built by Maharaja KalyanManikya in 1650 A.D. (5thAshada, Tuesday, 1572 Saka era) dedicating it to Lord Gopinath or Krishna. However, there is hearsay that it had been the temple of ChoturdashDevtathe idols of which were shifted at a later stage of historical time. The local people refer to the smaller temple as Lakshmi Narayan temple. But historical anecdotes attest that it was actually a Vishnu temple constructed by Ramdev son of Maharaja GovindaManikya in 1673 A.D. This part has also been attested by stone inscription, which suggest that the temple dates back to 1595 Saka era (1673 AD).

Another source mentions that “the temple of ChaturdasaDevata was originally erected by Gopinath and dedicated to the fourteen gods of Tripura as evidence from a dedicatory inscription. The present two edifices of brick and stone masonry were erected by KalyanManikya of Tripura in the saka1572, corresponding to 1650 AD. The temples are popularly known as ‘ChaturdasaDevata’ and ‘Lakshmi-Narayana”.

The architectural style of the ancient Tripura temples bears the pan-Indian traits assimilated in a new style of terracotta chala temples with votive stupa finials. Both the temples are similar in plan and architectural features. The temple on the western side is smaller in plan than the eastern one. These temples are built in the charchalastyle of Bengal architecture facing southern direction. It has tetrad slanting roof, the core chamber is semicircular in plan and the vestibule is rectangular in plan. Both the core chambers and vestibules are surmounted by a finial resembling votive stupa/ hemispherical anda. There is an amalakaresembling a small pitcher/ghantaand a flag above the hemispherical andaon the chamber. The temple also features a bow shape vault arch above the gateway. It has a pradakshinapatha; i.e, circumambulatory path around the temple. Furthermore, there is a bhogamandapa/natmandapa(dancing hall) of brick masonry, topped by chalaroof lying in front of the temples. A brick-built wall surrounded the ancient compound on all four sides. There is a pair of rock cut lion at the entrance of the natmandapa.

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