Features and Origins
Temples of identical style and size are often grouped together, arranged in a recognized geometrical pattern. The most common layout is twelve atchala Siva temples arranged in two separate sets of six temples and placed along a straight line, often along a river bank (called baro- or dvadasa-siva temple). Two identical temples (also usually atchala and dedicated to Siva) placed side by side, is called Jora Siva temple and is very common. Some temple complexes have four temples (often of different designs) facing inward onto a courtyard. The panchayatana arrangement of a large temple with four smaller temples at the corners of the plinth or courtyard, common in northern India (e.g. at Khajuraho) is rare in Bengal. And the most elaborate grouping that exists is of a hundred-and-eight Siva temples arranged geometrically.
Twelve-at-chala Siva temples along a riverbank are fairly common. Famous examples are at Dakshinesvar and Talpukur (attached to the large navaratna temples there), but baro-siva temples also exist independently, as at Konnagar. Twelve temples (2 pancha-ratna, 10 at-chala) are also attached to the twenty-five ratna Anandabhairavi temple at Sukharia. Group of four facing inward onto a courtyard can be seen at Baronagar and at Guptipara. The panchayatana arrangement can be seen at Panchthupi in Bardhaman. There are two instances of one-hundred-and-eight temples both in Bardhaman district and built by the Bardhaman rajas: at Kalna they are placed in two concentric circles, and at Nababhat in Bardhaman town, they are in a large rectangle.