Pirs and Temples in Bengal

In 16th century Bengal, people started to migrate from the less fertile lands of West Bengal.

They started to settle in the forested and marshy lands of south-eastern Bengal.

They started clearing the forest for rice cultivation.

Slowly, the local communities of fisherfolk and Jhum cultivators also mixed with the peasants.

During the same time, Mughals expanded their rule in Bengal and choose Dhaka as their capital.

Mughal officers started using lands in their own way.

They received lands and used them for setting up mosques.

There were some community leaders who provided assurance to new settlers.

They also functioned as teachers and were sometimes related to supernatural powers.

These leaders were referred to as Pirs.

The term Pir included Saints or Sufis, and other religious personalities.

Pirs and their culture became very popular and their shrines could be easily found in Bengal.

From the late fifteenth century, temple building also started in Bengal. Let us study about it.

From late 15th century, temples were started to be built by powerful people.

Temple was built with bricks and terracotta with the help of low caste groups.

Some of these low caste groups were Kolu (oil pressers) and the Kansari (bell metal workers).

Later, the coming of European trading companies gave them new economic opportunities.

As their social and economic status improved, they started to build temples.

The local deities once worshipped in huts in villages were shifted to large temples.

The temples began to copy the double roofed or four roofed structure of the thatched huts.

The thatched hut is a kind of hut in which the roof is covered with straw or other plant material.

In the four-roofed structure, four triangular roofs placed on the four walls move up to converge on a curved line or a point.

The interior of the walls was plain and the outer walls were decorated with paintings, ornamental tiles, etc.

Such decorations can be seen even today in the Vishnupur in West Bengal.

Revision

In the 16th century, people started to migrate from less fertile lands to forested and marshy lands.

They settled in south-eastern Bengal and started rice cultivation. Soon the local communities also mixed with them.

During the same time, Mughals established their power in Bengal and made Dhaka as capital.

The Mughal officers received lands from the rulers and used them for religious change in Bengal by setting up mosques.

There were some community leaders who provided assurance to people. These leaders were called as Pirs.

Pirs were the teachers and it was believed that they had some super natural powers.

During the 15th century, various temples were built with bricks and terracotta with the help of low caste groups.

The temples began to copy the double roofed or four roofed structure of the thatched huts.

In four roofed structures, four triangular roofs were built on the four walls move up to converge on a curved line or a point.

The interior inside the temple was plain but outside walls were decorated. One of the finest examples of it is the Vishnupur temple.

The End