Features and Origins
The term mancha is used to denote subsidiary structures located outside the main temple, and built (mostly in the 18th-19th centuries) specficially for use in certain Krishna festivals when idols were (are) ceremonially moved from the main temple to the mancha so that the gathered devotees can see them. The two most common types of manchas are rasmanchas and dolmanchas, used respectively in the ras and doljatra festivals. Both structures have high plinths and are open on all sides, but the dolmancha is usually stands on four columns or wall sections, while the rasmancha is usually octagonal with arched openings and large terracotta figures flanking each entrance. Dolmanchas are usually char-chala or pancharatna, while rasmanchas are usually straight-edged and pinnacled, eight turrets surrounding a large central turret being the most common style. In Medinipur, a special type of turret was developed for rasmanchas, with a bulging vase-like base capped by an inverted flower. The daspur sutradharas called this rasunchura. While manchas are usually smaller than the main temple, an unusual, large pyramidal architectural style was used in some cases, particularly where the rasmancha or dolmancha served as the site where idols from various temples in the vicinity congregated on festival days as at Puthia and Bishnupur.
Notable examples of terracotta decorated dolmanchas are in the palace-complex at Bainchigram (ridged rekha), near the Nandadulal temple at Gurap (ridged rekha), near the Damodara temple of Ray family (at-chala), at Talchinan (pancha-ratna). There are very large pyramidal dolmanchas at Rajshahi (three terraces) and Pabna (two terraces). Ornate rasmanchas are particularly common in Medinipur with examples at Saulan and Alangiri (navaratna with rasunchura turrets). A notable example outside Medinipur is the rasmancha of Bara-taraf at Hadal-Narayanpur (seventeen-pinnacled). Examples of large rasmanchas are at Narajol (twenty-five pinnacled and in three tiers) and the famous rasmancha of the Malla rajas at Bishnupur (pyramidal).