Kalna or Ambika Kalna is a historical town in Purba Bardhaman, situated on the western banks of river Bhagirathi, in the State of West Bengal, India. This temple town is second to Bishnupur in terms of the number of Hindu temples, built by Hindu Rajas and Zamindars during mediaeval Bengal. Rajbari temple complex of Kalna, hosts four terracotta temples, one Rasmancha and the magnificent Lalji temple.
Lalji temple was built in the year 1739 by Brajakishori Devi, wife of Jagatram. Jagatram was the last Zamindar of Bardhaman. This oldest terracotta temple, amongst the group of terracotta temples in Kalna, is an unique Panchabinsati–Ratna temple with twenty five peaks on its roof and it’s exteriors are decorated with beautiful terracotta motifs.
It’s exemplary terracotta figurative art works are there to see, but many of them worn off with time.
This temple is also known for its death creeper (মৃত্যুলতা) plaques. The conjoining walls of the temple are embellished with the ‘death creeper‘ plaques and one can see the events of hunting rituals, horse and elephant with warrior riders, which are the prevalent trait in figurative terracotta panels on the face of Lalji temple walls.
On the outer walls of the inner sanctum of the temple, we can see Durga with her family in a single panel. Here, Durga occupies the central shrine and the other shrines are being occupied by Ganesha, Saraswati, Laxmi, Kartikeya and Jaya & Bijaya. Jaya and Bijaya are the two gate-keepers (দ্বারপালক) of the abode of Vishnu, known as Vaikuntha. This particular type of panel for Durga is a predominant feature of Vaishnavite temples in Bengal.
Lalji temple houses the idols of Radha Krishna. The deities in the inner sanctum, illuminate the divine compassion and the outer walls exposite the ornamental carvings, delineating scenes from daily life, hunting rituals and mythology.