Visit Maluti Temples in Dumka, Jharkhand: Where History Meets Architecture (2023)
Located in the Dumka district of Jharkhand, the Maluti temples are some of the most underrated temple complexes in India. One of the main reasons why this temple complex is not well known is that it is located in the Naxalite region of Jharkhand. The entire temple complex has more than 72 terracotta temples. You will be surprised to know that these temples were built in the 17th century. The Maluti temple complex is located in the tiny Maluti village of Jharkhand. Most of the houses in this gorgeous village are built of mud. Some intrigued historians and travelers keep visiting this area to get more information about its history. Even though there are 72 temples located in the complex, but earlier there were 108 temples situated over there. The terracotta designs on the temples are so breathtakingly beautiful that they helped in making Maluti a historically important place in Jharkhand. As the temple complex is located at the border of West Bengal and Jharkhand, most of the tourists visiting there are from the said states.
Among the 72 temples located over there, the most important one is dedicated to Goddess Mauliksha. Now, you might have never heard about Goddess Mauliksha as it has no evidence in any Hindu mythology. But the inhabitants of Maluti worship the Goddess as a form of Goddess Durga. There are other temples located in the Maluti temple complex that is dedicated to more well-known deities like Vishnu, Kali, Shiva, and others. If you visit Maluti, you will notice that most temples over there are in a ruinous condition. That is why the Global Heritage Fund has decided to restore the temple so that more tourists visit there. The Global Heritage Fund has declared the Maluti temple complex one of the most endangered heritage and cultural sites in the world. Now, even though this temple complex was founded by the rulers of the Baj Basanta dynasty, there are many stories related to its history. If you are interested in spending your weekend exploring the mysterious and awe-inspiring Maluti temples, then this travel guide will help you a lot. Here, you will find every necessary information connected to Maluti. By studying this blog, you will have no problem in planning the trip to the said enchanting temples.
The History of the Maluti Temples
Before beginning the history of the Maluti temple complex, we must discuss the region it is located in. As we have mentioned earlier, Maluti is situated in the Jharkhand-West Bengal border of Santhal Pargana and that is why the region has always been quite familiar to the people of Bengal. But did you know that there has been found evidence regarding inhabitation by human beings in Maluti from the Paleolithic age (2.6 million to 10,000 years)? There have been traces of human inhabitation and stone tools by the Chila river in Maluti. So, you can understand not only the temple but the town itself is exceedingly mysterious.
The story behind the temple complex’s formation is quite interesting. In the 15th century, Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah, the then Sultan of Bengal was hunting in the area that is now known as Maluti. While hunting, he lost his pet falcon. Now, a young man named, Basanta Roy recovered the Sultan’s falcon and returned it to him. The Sultan was so overwhelmed by this gesture that he decided to gift the entire land surrounding the forest to Basanta Roy. Now, the said region is known as Maluti, and the young lad went on to become Raja Baj Basanta. He became the ruler of the region and his dynasty’s capital was located in Maluti. The Baj Basanta dynasty constructed the Maluti temple complex between the 17th to 19th centuries. As there are around 108 temples, it took more than 200 years for the completion of their construction.
In the region where Maluti is located, Terracotta’s work is one of the most prestigious and common designs. That is why each of the temples in the complex has Terracotta designs. The clay used for the creation was obtained from the nearby Chila river over there. If you visit the temple and notice everything closely, you will see that the temple has almost no stonework. The main reason behind this exclusion is that stones were not readily available in the area. Soon, the family started collapsing, and it became difficult for them to maintain all the temples. That is why right now there are only 72 temples erect over there and not 108.
Important facts surrounding the temples
One of the most astonishing things about the temple is that it has its primary temple dedicated to Goddess Mauliksha that has no evidence in Hindu mythology. Many people believe, the Goddess might have been a Buddhist tantric in the 15th century. The entire region of Maluti was well under the influence of Buddhism in the 15th century and Goddess Mauliksha may have been incorporated into the Hindu temples from there. While exploring the 72 temples in Maluti, you will also notice that one of them is dedicated to Lord Shiva. But the people over there worship him in the form of Bhairava. This also signifies that the folklore of Maluti revolves around Tantric rituals and spirituality. One of the most renowned Tantric of Bengal, Bamakhapa also, resided in the temple complex. He resided in the temple dedicated to Goddess Mauliksha.
You will be shocked to know that this temple complex was hidden from the outside world until 1979. When the Director of Archaeology of Bihar, AK Sinha published reports about Maluti temples, people started to learn about it. But the popularity of the temple did not last long. As the region of the complex was the hotspot of Naxalites, people never set foot over there. A local villager named Gopaldas Mukherjee wrote two books on the forgotten temples. He is one of the few people who were responsible for the rejuvenation and restoration of the Maluti temple complex. Even the Chief Minister of Jharkhand recognized Gopaldas’s work and made Maluti temples the main item in the official tableau for 66th Republic Day.
How to Reach Maluti?
There are many ways to reach the enchanting temple complex of Maluti. The easiest way to reach there is by getting on a train to Rampurhat. If you live in West Bengal, you will find many local and passenger trains to visit Rampurhat. You will find many trains to Rampurhat from major Indian cities pretty easily. As the distance from the Maluti temple complex and Rampurhat is only 13 km, you will have no problem in reaching there.
In case you do not want to visit Maluti by train, you can go there by availing of an airplane. The nearest airport from Maluti is located in Kolkata, and it will take you over five and a half hours to reach there from the airport. But do not worry, you will find cabs to hire from Kolkata international airport that will take you to Maluti.
The Best Time To Visit The Maluti Temple Complex
As Jharkhand is a pretty warm state, it will be better for you if you visit the temple during the winter months. You will be able to explore the temples and the adjacent locations quite comfortably if you visit there from November to March.
Top Places To Visit Near Maluti Temple Complex
As the Maluti temple complex is situated in the Dumka district of Jharkhand, there are many interesting places located over there. Some of the most famous ones are provided in the following.
1. Tarapith Temple
Even though the Tarapith temple is located in West Bengal, but it is situated quite close to the Maluti temple complex. You will have no problem in exploring this world-famous temple. Located near the Rampurhat town of West Bengal, Tarapith temple is one of the Shaktipeeths in India. It is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Tara Devi. One of the main reasons why this temple is so famous in India is because renowned Tantric Bamakhapa worshiped over there. There is also an Ashram located near the temple that is quite famous in India.
The distance of Maluti temple to Tarapith temple: 18 km.
2. Maluti Village
Maluti village is one of the unique places in Jharkhand. Once, it was home to the Naxalite movement in Bengal. But now, it is quite safe to visit. To understand the history of the location, you will have to explore this village. As the area is situated by the beautiful Chila river, the scenic view of the locality is quite beautiful. Maluti has been recognized as a heritage village in India. One of the most famous festivals that take place in the village is Kali Puja. Sadly, more than 100 goats are sacrificed over there still now.
The distance of Maluti temple to Maluti village: 1 km.
Best Hotels To Stay Near Maluti Temples
As Maluti is located quite close to Rampurhat town, most of the hotels mentioned in this section of the blog are from Rampurhat. They are provided below.
1. Hotel Sonar Bangla
Hotel Sonar Bangla is one of the best hotels in Tarapith, and it is located only 18 km from the Maluti temple complex. You will only need half an hour by car to reach the temples of this hotel. With swimming pools, an in-house restaurant, and excellent services, this hotel is a great place to spend a few days.
All the rooms of this establishment are quite well-maintained. It is a three-star property, and you will be quite satisfied while staying over there. Moreover, the temple is located right by the Tarapith temple. So, you can visit there whenever you like.
Address: Kabi Chandrapur, Tarapith Temple Road, District Birbhum, Tarapith, West Bengal 731233.
Phone Number: 03461 253 128.
Website: Not available.
Price of a room per night: INR 2100.
2. Hotel Yashoda International
With a swimming pool, beautifully landscaped garden, and impeccable rooms, hotel Yashoda International is one of the most reasonable hotels to stay near Maluti temples. You will be quite surprised with the quality of service offered over there given the reasonable price asked.
You can relax on the lawn of the hotel and explore the temples at your pace while staying over there. Moreover, the hotel has an in-house restaurant that is pretty popular for serving lip-smacking delicacies.
Address: Kavi, Chandrapur Rd, Tarapith, West Bengal 731233.
Phone Number: 091636 11110.
Price of a room per night: INR 1000.
3. Amantran Hotel and Resorts
Located only 14 km from Maluti temple, Amantral hotel and resorts are a great option to stay for a few days. Even though the tariff asked by the hotel is pretty cheap, the services provided by them are quite good. The hotel has a swimming, restaurant, luxurious rooms and impeccable services.
Moreover, the property is located quite close to the Rampurhat railway station. So, you will have not a problem locating it.
Address: Tarapith Road, Belia, Birbhum, Tarapith, West Bengal 731233.
Phone Number: 98328 39652.
Price of a room per night: INR 1200.
Maluti temple complex is one of those hidden gems in India that is full of history. When you will see the Maluti temples for the first time, you will get the idea of how big a deal they were at their time. You will still be able to see the pieces of evidence of the dynasty that was once prosperous and rich. We hope, by reading this blog, you got all the necessary information regarding the temples.