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Kalna Rajbari Complex

Ambika Kalna (Bengali: অম্বিকা কালনা Ambikā Kālnā), or simply Kalna, is a town in the Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal, India. Situated on the western bank of the Bhagirathi River, it is also called the Temple City for the number of old temples found here. The town got its name from the deity Ma Ambika (incarnation of Goddess Kali) of Siddheswari Temple. The 108 Shiva temple signifies the Sun and Mother Ganges location at establishment time.


Nava Kailash (108 Shiva Temples)
Siddheswari Kali Temple

Ambika Kalna (OHM-bih-kah KAHL-nah) is a town on the west bank of River Bhagirathi. It reached its pinnacle of glory during the late 18th century under the patronage of the Maharajas of Bardhaman, who built several magnificent temples with intricate terracotta ornamentation. The maritime trade has long stopped and Kalna has lost the status of a flourishing port city, but many of the temples have survived the test of time and stand to this day. Most of this temples have intricate terracotta ornamentation along with detailed stucco work. The temples still remind one of Kalna’s glorious past. Kalna houses three of the five 25 pinnacled temples of West Bengal. Apart from the temples, Kalna has several religious structures dedicated to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one of the greatest social reformers of Bengal. In spite of housing some of the finest temples of West Bengal, Ambika Kalna lacks basic tourist infrastructure. There are no guides to tell you about the history of the temple. There are only a few basic eateries and a handful of hotels. The town lacks adequate toilet felicities.

Get in

Ananta Vasudev Temple
Jagannath Mandir

By bus


By train


2 Ambika Kalna  Eastern  Ambika Kalna railway station on Wikipedia is connected to the loop line route from Howrah to Katwa. It can be reached by several local as well as express trains which travel in that route. Direct trains to Ambika Kalna are also available from Kolkata's Sealdah station.

By plane


The nearest airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU IATA) at Kolkata.

By boat


Ganga Vilas, India's luxurious river cruise, has a stop at Ambika Kalna.

Get around


Totos (three-wheelers run by electricity) and autos (three-wheelers run by diesel or CNG) are the only mode of transport within the town. Both can be booked for the entire trip. For people who are interested in details in the temple can break up the journey by booking auto and toto for shorter trips. In both cases, there is no fixed fare, so bargaining is absolutely essential.


Pratapeswar Temple
Ras Mancha
Lalji Temple
Radha Krishna Idol, Lalji Temple

The city is known for the various old temples with terracotta works. The temples are active temples and open early morning and are open till noon. They are closed from noon to 4PM and again open at about 4PM. They remain open till 7PM.

  • 1 Nava Kailash (108 Shiva temples). The temple complex of Nava Kailash consists of 108 Shiva Temples built in aat - chala style. The temple are arranged in two concentric circles. The outer circles consists of 74 temples while the inner circle consists of 34 temples. The outer temples have alternate black and white shiva lingas while the all the inner temples have white shiva linga. At the very centre of the complex is a large well and the space between the circles is laid out with manicured lawns complete with flower beds and other trees. The complex was built in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja Tej Chand Bahadur. Nava-Kailasha Temple (Q31727758) on Wikidata Naba Kailash Mandir on Wikipedia
  • 2 Jalesvar Temple. The Nava Kailash complex is flanked on either side by two pancha ratna (five-pinnacled) temples. The Jalesvar Temple lies on the west. Jaleswar Temple (Q56163081) on Wikidata
  • 3 Ratneshwar Temple. The Nava Kailash complex is flanked on either side by two pancha ratna (five-pinnacled) temples. The Ratneshwar Temple lies on the east. Ratneswar Temple (Q56163455) on Wikidata

Rajbari temple complex


The Rajbari temple complex consists of several temples and other religious structures built over a period of more than a hundred years. It lies bang opposite the Nava Kailash complex. The complex houses two of the three 25-pinnacled temples of Kalna (incidentally there are a total of five 25-pinnacled temples in West Bengal). The complex is laid out with well manicured lawns crisscrossed with walkways. The lawns are laid out with flower beds and trimmed hedges.

  • 4 Pratapeswar Temple. Kalna is known for its terracotta temples and the Pratapeswar Temple definitely stands out among the numerous temples of Kalna. Located at the left of the entrance of the Rajbari Complex this small deul styled temple, whose outer walls are covered with intricate terracotta works. The 1849 built temple stands on a high podium. The Pratapeswar Temple is built in rekh deul style, with curvelinear sikhara and single arched entrance. All the four sides of the temple has rich terracotta ornamentation depicting images of gods and goddesses to scenes from the great epics. It also contains panels depicting war scenes and also scenes from day to day life. On the left of the Pratapeswar stands a small cannon and on the right is a Ras Mancha. Pratapeswar Siva Temple (Q31727767) on Wikidata
  • 5 Ras Mancha. Just north of the Pratapeswar Temple is the Ras Mancha. The octagonal structure has triple arched entrance on all three side and at the centre is a hexagonal pavilion crowned with a dome.
  • 6 Lalji Mandir. Built in 1739, the Lalji Temple is the oldest temple in the Rajbari Complex. It was built by Braja Kishori Devi, the wife of Maharaja Jagat Ram. It houses the idol of Radha – Krishna. Lalji Mandir is a 25-pinacled temple. The Lalji Temple once had elaborate terracotta panels but only a handful have survived. The temple also has traces of elaborate limestone stucco ornamentation. Just in front of the Lalji Temple is a Char – Chala (four sloped roofs) mandap, which served as a gathering platform for devotees visiting the temple. Lalji Mandir is housed in a complex in side the Rajbari Complex. The complex also houses several other structure including the Giri Govardhan Temple with a mountain-like roof. Lalji Temple (Q56163070) on Wikidata
  • 7 Rupeshwar Shiva Mondir. Rupeshwar Shiva Mondir, a flat roof structure with a triple arched entrance. The temple had beautiful stucco work most of it no longer exist. Rupeswar Temple (Q56163482) on Wikidata
  • 8 Pancharatna Temple. A collection of five hat - chala temples standing on a single raised platform. The temples are not identical. They not only differ in size but also in proportion. Pancharatna Temple (Q56163293) on Wikidata
  • 9 Krishna Chandra Temple. This like the Lalji Temple is a temple complex situated within the Rajbari Complex. The Krishna Chandra Temple is a 25-pinnacled temple. The Krishna Chandaraji Temple was built 1751–55 and has a three-arched entrance on all sides. It also has a rich terracotta ornamentation in its front facade, depicting scenes from mythologies, epics and even day to day life. The temple also has its share of stucco work. The Krishna Chandra Temple Complex also houses other temples and several other structures, including Vijay Vaidyanathan Temple (a massive at-chala temple), Badrinarayan Temple, Radhavallabh Temple and Ramsita Temple. Krishna Chandraji Temple (Q31727762) on Wikidata

Temples and shrines dedicated to Sree Chaitanya


Sree Chaitanya (1486–1534) was a great social reformer and Hindu guru from Bengal. Sree Chaitanya have visited Kalna twice. The city houses several temples and shrines realated to the life of Sree Chaitanya. None of these temples or sites have any terracotta and stucco ornamentation.

  • 10 Mahaprabhu Mandir. This temple is dedicated to Sree Chaitanya and his friend and disciple Nityananda. Both the idols are made of neem tree.
  • 11 Shyam Sundar Mandir. This is a temple dedicated to Nutyananda, friend and disciple of Sree Chaitanya. The shrine also contains a foot print of Sree Chaitanya.

Other temples

  • 12 Ananta Vasudev Mandir. Ananta Vasudev Temple lies just north of the Siddheshwari Kali Temple and on the other side of the road. It is a huge aat chala temple, which was once covered with intricate terracotta. The temple was constructed by Trilokchand Rai, nephew of Chitrasen Rai, and was originally known as Baikunthanath’s Temple. The temple houses a four feet black stone idol of Vasudev and hence the name Ananta Vasudev. It was once covered with intricate terracotta. Sadly that has been lost due to unscientific restoration work.
  • 13 Baidyapur Jora Deul. A pair of temples built in 1550 by Subhananda Pal. The two brick-built temples, with square bases probably had domed top in their original shape. Their façads are of carved bricks. The main temple faces east and the small north and they are interconnected with a passage. The larger temple has an inscription over its domway. It is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Twin temples (Q56248822) on Wikidata Baidyapur Jora Deul on Wikipedia
  • 14 Gopalji temple. This is the third 25-pinnacled temple of Ambika Kalna. The temple is approached by a dochala porch with a triple arched entrance. Built in 1766 the temple has intricate terracotta panels of the front surface and luckily most of it has survived. Gopalji Temple (Q56162991) on Wikidata
  • 15 Jagannath Temple. The twin temples of Jagannath Bari in Ambika Kalna are located on the banks of the Hooghly River. Built in 1753 by two queens of King Chitrasen –Chandakumari Devi and Indukumari Devi , these two temples are in a dilapidated condition. Although in crumbling conditions the terraoctta works in both the aat chala temple have survived and can still be seen. Three is also a smaller aat chala structure near the temple.
  • 16 Siddheswari Kali Temple (The temple of Ma Ambika). Siddheswari Kali Temple houses the deity of Ambika Siddheswari, after whom Ambika Kalna got its name. The idol is an incarnation of Kali and is said to have been made out of single branch of a neem tree. An inscription on Siddheshwari Kali Temple mention that the temple was constructed by Chitrasen Rai, the then King of Bardhaman in 1740. But historian opine that the temple was originally constructed in 1663 and it was renovated by the Bardhman King in 1740. Siddheswari Kali Temple follows the Jore Bangla Temple of architecture. It has a triple arched entrance and is approached by a long flight of steps. Siddheswari Kali Temple is part of a temle comple which also houses 3 aat chala shiva temples. Siddheshwari Kali temple (Q18989156) on Wikidata Siddheshwari Kali Mandir on Wikipedia


  • 17 Datankathi Tala Mosjid. Nothing much remains of the Datankathi Tala Masjid. Acoording to the foundation plaque the mosque was constructed in 896 hijri, which corresponds to 1490. A few arches and pillars is all that remains of the over 500-year-old structure. None of the floral and geometric terracotta designs have survived. A coat of newly added blue paint have robbed the ancient mosque of its antiquity.


Giri Gobardhan Temple
Krishna Chandraji Temple

Apart from the temples, Kalna is famous for its Saraswati Puja and draws huge crowd from other parts of the state. Large decorated pandals, beautiful lighting and artistic idols are the reason people visit Kalna during this festival.

Another important festival of Kalna is the Mahishmardini Puja. The festival is observed for 4 days and a huge fair takes place.

Eat and drink

Gopalbari Temple

Ambika Kalna is known for confectioneries like nōṛa pantuẏa (নোড়া পান্তুয়া NOH-rrah PAHN-too-ah) and makha sondeś (মাখা সন্দেশ MAH-khah SHAWN-desh).

Unfortunately there are not too many places for a proper meal in the city.

For snacks, there are sweet shops all over the city, where you can have sweets as well as snacks like kachori (কচুরি KOH-choo-rih), samosa (শিঙাড়া SHIHNG-ah-rrah) and paratha (পরোটা PAW-roh-ttah).

For lunch or dinner, there are few small shops and roadside stalls around Chowk Bazar near the Kalna temple complex. There you can have rice, vegetables, meat or fish. None are hygienic, so if you are concerned, avoiding these places will be better. Bringing your own food is a good option.

For a more hygienic and proper meal, Hotel Priyadarshini near the bus stand is a good option for Bengali lunch and dinner.


  • 1 Hotel Priyadarshini. Situated near the bus stand, this is a standard hotel. Tasty Bengali food is served.
  • 2 Ramkrishna Lodge. This lodge is beside the 108 Shiva temple complex. If you want to stay near the main attractions, this is a good place. The lodge provides clean rooms and shared washrooms. Food is not available, but with prior order they can arrange home delivery.

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