Built in the 6th century, this temple is believed to be the oldest remaining terracotta Hindu shrine.
More than a thousand years ago, someone moulded lumps of wet clay into rectangular bars, fired a brick-kiln and let the heat solidify the block. Well, this is not an imaginary story because the living proof for this exists in Bhitargaon, some 50 km away from Kanpur city. The Bhitargaon Temple has been standing in the very place it was built during the Gupta period and has survived more than fifteen centuries of dense human inhabitation around it. Let's explore the architecturally rich fringes of the Kanpur district with a virtual tour of this temple before you embark upon an in-person visit!
Architectural testimony of an era gone by
A terraced brick building fronted with a terracotta panel, the Bhitargaon Temple was built in the sixth century, during the reign of the Guptas. It is believed to be the oldest remaining terracotta Hindu shrine which has a roof and a high sikhara. This temple was noticed by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1877, when Alexander Cunnigham and his associates visited the site, on the invitation of a local landlord.
This east-facing temple is built on a square plan with double-recessed corners with a tall pyramidal spire over the inner sanctum, also known as the garbhagriha. Further, the walls of the temple are decorated with terracotta panels, depicting aquatic monsters and Hindu gods, among other things. After lightning struck this temple in the eighteenth century, the upper chamber was damaged and the structure that is presently seen in its place, is largely a reconstruction design.
Take a trip down the annals of history with a visit to this archaic establishment near Kanpur for an adventurous road trip to a scenic location. Also, don't forget to document this place in your travel journal so that the old-world charm experienced here can last a lifetime in your memories!