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Kantaji Temple: A terracotta heaven

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'The terracotta beauty' of Dinajpur is popularly recognised as The Kantaji Temple, an outstanding example of ancient beauty and architectural skill. This temple is about 20 kilometres north of Dinajpur, near the Dinajpur-Tetulia highway in the small town of Kantanagar, isolated from the mainland by the Dhepa River. 

It is a masterwork of artistry and commitment that dates back 300 years. The temple belongs to Lord Krishna and his wife, Rukmini. It was built mainly by Maharaja Pran Nath and ended with his son Maharaja Ramnath. The journey started in 1702 and completed in 1752. Tragically, in 1897, an earthquake devastated the temple's nine different towers, also known as Navaratna. 

This unique icon is a real example of temple architecture in Bangladesh for its amazing design and the mixture of architecture and sculptures. The most important aspect that makes this temple unique and significant is the Terracotta design. 

Terracotta is a Latin word that means baked earth. Terracotta is a form of ceramic that is made of plain or coated clay and has an absorbent fired body. It is a widely common term for sculptures. 

The majority of terracotta is brownish orange in colour, and the phrase is often used to describe the natural beauty, which differs the authenticity significantly. 

The captivating attribute of the terracotta tiles is covered in such a way that the walls explain the story of the holy Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

In Kantaji temple, all the doors, windows and pillars, as well as ceilings and walls, are highly decorated with terracotta designs. In this temple, the decoration of the walls highlights Hinduism's popular gods and goddesses in their artwork. 

Both animal figures and floral decorations are eye-catching. Not only do they explore the social life activities, but they also gather in the traditional, cultural scenes that are visibly painted in the terracotta design. This temple is an extraordinary example of terracotta artwork in Bangladesh.    

The terracotta ornaments represent the stories of mythology and scenarios from literature and battles from the 18th century. 

The whole temple contains about 15,000 terracotta tiles. The inner area of the temple is rectangular, whereas the main temple's structure is square and measures 50 feet high on a stone foundation. This place provides religious significance for the fellows of Hinduism. 

In 1960, the Kantaji temple was declared by the Bangladesh government as an ancient beauty. Two festivals are highly celebrated in Kantaji Temple: one is the Raas, and the other is Dol-jatra. The visiting hour is quite flexible; anyone can visit anytime. 

As this is a religious site, it doesn't charge any money or ticket for a visit, but if a person owns a car, they charge only 20 taka for the car parking service. People give donations to the temple while they visit it. 

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