Maharajah Curly Toes

 Maharajah Curly Toes
 Takes you on 'PILGRIMAGE' to a consecrated kingdom................. 



Bishnupur, formerly known as Mallabhum, is an ex-principality in the Bankura region of West Bengal. Once the seat of great power & patronage for the Malla kings (7th-18th century), their 1,000-year rule coupled with a fervent devotion to Vaishnavism (a branch of Hinduism that sees Lord Vishnu as its primary subject of veneration) reached its apogee through the creation & building of exquisitely decorative terracotta temples. 

These temples demonstrate not only the unique & ever so charming, Eka-Ratna & Chala styles of Bengali architecture of that period, but also the intricacy of terracotta bas-relief and sculpture in general. They also help elucidate the beliefs, legends and social mores of the Mallabhuri people. Carvings depict popular rituals and the interplay between subjects & their gods & goddesses, most notably Bipodtarini Devi, an avatar of West Bengal's most beloved goddess, Durga. The divine worship of Lord Vishnu and the goddess Bipodtarini (amongst other deities) makes Bishnupur a stage for significant religious festivals and thus an important cultural center. Add to this a history of majestic (rural) artisanship (famous for pottery/terracotta tiles and hand-painted, imperial saris), staggering temple structures, sacred elements and serene rural setting, and you have yourself a place of true pilgrim's providence and peaceful allure.

 Once a walled imperial city, ancient
 remnants remain, forming part of the vast temple enclosure

Temple edifices of an earlier era 
are looked upon by fading facades of the fifties

Curvaceous, compact & richly decorated with 1,000's
of individually carved terracotta tiles - 
 Jor-Bangla Temple (c.1655)

Ornate octagonal collumns 
supporting the arches

A sumptuous section of wall

Close-up/detail of one of the tiled
deities adorning the temple exterior 

Another temple of carved terracotta, stucco
& oxidised chatris (domed roofs)

Blue doors & baskets for Vishnu

 Rasmancha (c.1600) -
A perfectly-proportioned pyramid temple

Bipodtarini Devi & Narasimha (avatar of Vishnu)

Rasmancha - a maze of low, tiled arches 
& smooth domes upon a raised plinth

Richly woven Bishnupur baluchari sari with depictions
of mythological scenes. Pieces like this were patronised by the Mala kings, 
responsible for the temple building, & mirrored the same artistic inspirations.

Airy, cool & cavernous contours

Pretty Pancha-Ratna Temple (c.1643) - with its
ambulatory pathways, arches & doll-house-like dimensions

 Smaller shrines, for personal
adoration, lie outside the temple enclosure

 Elegant Radhamadhab Temple (c. 1737)

 Many fixtures & figures of the deities have 
long been removed from inside the temples

 Locals mingle in the village centre
surrounded by history, relics & red earth

 The 'Rasa Mandala'- A veritable wheel of deities.
Highly detailed bas-relief from Shyam-Rai Temple

Towering Lal-Ji Temple (c.1658)

A resplendent Howdah of Hindustan (Carrier)

Frontal view of Jor-Bangla Temple.
Every square inch, a consummation of carving 

Priceless, painted, silk baluchari saris. 
Months in the handloom mastery & making  

 A zoom-in on the elaborate craftsmanship
of Pancha-RatnaTemple

(There are more sights to see below)

Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to me.
#All writing & photography by Rani.Cee
#These are just some of the temples in the Bankura/Bishnupur region.


Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a 'TEMPLE' Walk.................. 


The town of Ambika Kalna is located in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal. A rarely visited agricultural area & once prominent port-town - its name derives from the worship of the powerful deity 'Kali' or 'Maa Ambika'.  Most notable is the 'Rajbari' temple-complex of 108 Shiva-Lingas, built in the 18th Century by Maharajah Tej Chandra Bahadur to celebrate the acquisition of a new Imperial centre. Comprising two concentric circles of 74 outer & 34 inner temples which house the cosmic representations of Lord Shiva. (The 'Lingam' sees the regenerative energies of male & female combined in a universal, phallic formation) The beautiful, well-formed temples showcase the distinctive Bengali 'Ath-Challa' style of Architecture, which incorporate slanted/domed roofs, shapely rotundas & delicate use of clay/terracotta tiles.

Sun shines on three domes at Rajbari Temples Kalna West Bengal
The Gods are smiling brightly

Entrance doorway to Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
A 'Fixed' abode for 'Shiva'

Etching of man preying, Rajbari temple entrance, Kalna, West Bengal
Imperial etching rests on a lintel

Garden around inner Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
An intimate space of calm & serenity

Curving section of 74 outer circle Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Beautiful, though modest 
ornamentation by Indian standards

Old woman with small prayer water bowl at RAjbari Temples, West Bengal
Pilgrims & pundits

Sacred tree dominates courtyard at Rajbari Tempes, Kalna, West Bengal
A consecrated courtyard

Arched entrance to parayer room with white Shiva Lingam, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengalin
One-on-one, with Shiva

Close-up of white Shiva lingam in Rajbari Temple prayer room, Kalna, West Bengal
White lingam is said to be reserved 
for the most pious/serious worship

Garnder around inner circle of 34 Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
The temples welcome a well-tended garden...
& a wheelie-bin!

Flowers, incense and other offerings to stone engraving of figure riding sacred cow, India
Where there are flowers....
there's fervour & festivity

Two ath-challa-style domes with sun emblems on top at Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Blazing burnt orange against 
a brilliant blue sky

Pot of holy basil (tulsi) in Rajbari temple courtyard, Kalna, West Bengal
Holy Basil (Tulsi)

Three-doemed prayer rooms and doorways, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Bengali domed roofs were devised 
to manage/direct the monsoon rains

Outer ring of 74 temples, Rajbari complex, Kalna, West Bengal
Outer-temples house a combination 
of white & black lingams

Three faded, old wooden devotional planquins, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Pretty palanquins used for deity devotion


Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.
#Writing & photography by Rani.Cee


Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a PALACE Walk..................


A remote, enchanted, walled city, south of the state, famous for its exquisite paintings, water-wells & extensive underground tunnels. Home to centuries of proud Rajput warriors as well as notable author Rudyard kipling, who's 'Jungle-book' was inspired & written in this charming town.

A section of the decadent but decaying 
edifice of Bundi's 'Taragarh (Star) Fort'  
(C. 1354)

Original, intricate frescoes 
depicting some Rajput revelry

Majestic Stone silhouettes

The 'Bundi school' of 
Painted palace facades

Solid stairway to Palace heaven
A Vista fit for a king

The power of a fierce mono-brow!
Maharaja Raghubir Singh Bahadur of 
Bundi (1888) Fancy & formidable**

Triumphant Arches, pillars, 
lattice-work & carving
Endearing elephant eaves

Magnificent Moghul murals

Turbaned & bejewelled 
Prince or Princess?

Sloping ramparts & a turret with a view

Sublime salmon-colored sandstone

Bundi surrounded by the lush Aravalli hills

Jali screens of heart-piercing beauty

Palace on high

Serene sari-scenes below


(**) Is courtesy of  'The unforgettable Maharajas' - Roli Books. (Personal Copy)
Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.
#All writing & photography by Rani.Cee


Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a PALACE Walk..................


Located on the east bank of Lake Pichola & considered the Largest Royal Complex in Rajasthan, the City-Palace stands as a symbol of mighty Mewar Rule, flamboyancy & romance. A long history of Majestic kings, whimsical art & sculpture, with the current Maharajah, Arvind Singh still in occupancy. Startlingly beautiful & often referred to as the 'Venice of the East', Udaipur will leave you simply breathless.

The Wondrous City Palace (C.1559)

 I need to ask my daddy first!!

Rajasthani - Mughal, Magnificence.

 A Turret of love

Elegantly crafted marble & stainglass

A 'real deal' bonafide, Palace interior.



Back to the drawing-room 

The Pleasure-principle

Enamel & mirror panelling

All the king's horses.

A warm elephant welcome.
The 3 trunk salute!

Floating 'Monsoon Palace'
in the background
Tranquility in the foreground.
#All writing & photography by Rani.C (Char)
Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.


  1. Another fabulous walk through the Palace leaves me utterly speechless! Except for " Arches….. such beautiful arches. Thinking of you lots Rani xo

    1. Many thanks for your visit & appreciation dear Benita!
      Thinking of you too sweet lady <3

  2. Beautiful! Thank you very much for these walks! I love them and all your photos are simply amazing. I have to see India, can't stop thinking about it and your blog is helping me. Cindy

    1. Dreadfully late & ashamed of myself ....but very glad you stopped by Cindy.
      Hope your interest & fascination is one day met & matched by the reality -- as in the vivid 'realness', & inexhaustible beauty of the Motherland.
      Appreciate your wonderful compliments Xx

  3. Wow wow wow !!!
    Amazing photography and incredible info. I've been reading from your Blog page today - damn extraordinary Ms C ..and yeh you're stunning :)
    Why not more pictures of you? You're very talented and crazy beautiful.
    Congrats x.x Greig

    1. Thank you Greig for your time & keen interest.
      I'm delighted that you enjoyed some of my posts.

  4. This is good news - just got an notification. Gteat to see you back and doing what you do best - making the world smile with your mega-beauty, talent and fantastic brain. You are missed Char,but then you mysterious princess, can't be tied down. Excellent as always and from a true goddess - - would walk with you any time any place. Write again soon

    xxx Julian

    1. Blog Feedburner is working I think but no signs of twitter these days?? Just checked.

    2. Ahh my friend, just the prod I need to awaken & reconnect! Thank you for these precious words. I'm heartened.
      I've been more remiss than 'missing' ...& pretty much switched off all notifications for the longest time. So many things & feelings & reasons.
      I will post again when I can collect my thoughts & when feeling fully inspired.
      Hope you're happy, well & kicking goals in all the right directions
      Hugs & shimmies
      The not-so princess Xx

  5. Wowzer! What a brilliant blog. These places are amazing and maharaja curly toes is so cool Lolol
    Love your photos and words so much oxo Maura

    1. So glad you enjoyed this post & like the Maharajah! He's a handsome devil don't you think?
      Thank you so much Maura Xx

  6. OMG I just checked my emails n saw an update and thought ya!! So happy to visit the beautiful palace again. In fact I got two of your old posts in my feed, my fave 'eastern belonging'and the one on kalkota. Well I love them all and seeing these photos is the best.
    You and your pics, writing, walks are a dream. The most beautiful, different and exciting stuff.
    Love you Princess C cant wait for your next post
    Big Kiss xxxx Amanda

    1. Hello loveliest Amanda, I am smiling all the smiles!
      Great to see you here & read your gracious comments.
      Ah, the old posts you received were published randomly by blogger, not by me. It was a glitch, apparently. Sorry for that.
      But not sorry to 'chat' now. I'll send you a little email after I reply to the eleventy thousand comments I've failed to respond to!!!!!
      My mojo diminished on, & then disappeared completely, after April 21st. I haven't been able to write anything since my last post on the purple-one.
      An addendum is much needed.
      Signing off now, but not before saying a huge thank you for your uplifting words.
      Love & shimmies dear Xx

    2. Sensitive, beautiful woman. That's why you are so loved
      Hugs xxxx Amanda

  7. Outstanding. Loved taking a walk ! Great name, My palace walk, ANd reading som of your posts. I especially loved your soul page because I got to see the amazing person behind all this. Such a gorgeous exotic face you have and so many talents. Your writing, descriptions and photography are superb.
    Many will want to take a walk with you!
    Lisbeth x

    1. SO kind of you. Thank you Lisbeth.
      I am eternally grateful for the generosity of people I've never met, who share, care & connect like old friends.
      Wishing you happiness & many magical moments Xx

  8. Oh how beautiful and spectacular. I've never seen buildings like these teracotta temples. So fascinating and I love the write up.
    You have a real way with words and are a very artistic and creative lady. I'm definitely going to read more. Thank you xo Hacic'

    1. And a sincere thanks to you Hacic!
      Makes it all seem worthwhile and truly wonderful to cross paths with beautiful people like yourself.
      So pleased you liked this. Appreciate your every word Xx

  9. Amazing, captivating, mesmerizing >>> err I forgot about the temples and am just describing you!
    Stoked to see an update gorgeous girl. Missing your sparkling wit and infectious personality.
    Come back. Life is dull without your brilliance and radiant beauty :( Mitchell

  10. Always charmed & ever charming my friend!
    Thanks for having faith in me in my blogger-absence & believing in 'time-out'.
    It has made all the difference Mitchell.
    Hope you're doing good & giving em hell where they need it. Hehe!
    Buoyed by your beautiful words. Keep in touch & be happy wonderful man Xx

  11. Awesome architecture and fab to see you posting again. I read a few oldies and laughed out loud at your humor :)
    You are the full package babe - talented, classy, beyond stunning and brainy as all get out!!!!!!
    I miss your words and our chats xxxxx Chelle

  12. Gorgeous walks with you and photographs that transport. Lovely work sweet Char.

    And about hopping time you put that exquisite face on display. What a great day!

    Even more of a beauty in the flesh and so clever XOXOX Lots of love, Bec


#Thanks for bringing some extra sparkle & cheer to the Palace today. I'm delighted to read your comments (& Shimmying too!!!)