Features and Origins
The ek-bangla (or do-chala) structure consists of two sloping roofs with curved edges or cornices meeting at a curved ridge. Internally, there is a single rectangular chamber covered by a vaulted roof. This style imitates single-celled domestic huts in Bengal and was first adopted in Islamic architecture, the earliest example being the 17th century mausoleum of Fateh Khan at Gaur. Although simple in structure, temples of this style were rare. A more preferred variant seems to have been the jor-bangla temple, with two adjacent, connected do-chala temples, with a central upper turret.
The best-preserved group of Bangla temples is at Baronagar near Murshidabad, where Rani Bhabani built many temples in this style, including char-bangla, a group of four bangla temples facing each other across a courtyard. A popular variation of this style is the jor-bangla where two such bangla huts are conjoined, one as a porch, and the other as a shrine. Of the few surviving examples of this conjoined style, one of the earliest and yet the most impressive is the Keshtaraya temple, seen in this picture, built in Bishnupur in the mid-17th century. This majestic temple is remarkable for the quality and subject-matter of the terracotta panels that cover all visible surfaces. Baronagar also has a fine example of this style, the Gangesvara temple, which is remarkable for the extent and quality of terracotta art on its facade and on the porch pillars.