Friday, January 14, 2011
Babu Ahmed and Nazly Choudhury, Selected Hindu Temples of Bangladesh, UNESCO, Dhaka, 2005.
Much has been written about the Islamic period monuments of Bangladesh and also about its Buddhist monuments. But Bangladesh is also rich in its Hindu temple architecture, particularly famous specimens of which are the intricately carved terracotta temples. There have been some writings on the terracotta temples, in which these have been aligned to their counterparts in the West Bengal of India. Of particular notice is the Terracotta Temples of Bengal by S. S. Biswas and Zulekha Haque.
The small volume by Babu Ahmed and Nazly Choudhury on some selected temples of Bangladesh is a welcome addition to this field. They have paid special attention to the octagonal spire found there. Two temples in this volume deal with this particular style. Apart from these, they have also explored the temples of Govind and Kali Narayana, thus illuminating the different cult deities that are housed in these temples. Each chapter deals with a particular temple in this book, which has been published under the aegis of UNESCO, Dhaka.
The temples discussed in this book throw light on the architectural styles prevalent in the specimens described and are useful not only for the students of art history, but also for the students of architecture. For future research on Bangladesh temples, this volume can provide the initial inquiry platform for students who may wish to go for an indepth study of these and other related temples by exploring such issues as patterns of patronage, iconographic forms represented in these temples and their relation to epigraphs, religious history and its relation to the development of temples in the region etc. The present volume does not deal with such issues in detail, but it makes the reader aware of the preliminaries, so that these further questions can be explored at greater depth.