Features and Origins
Although octagonal temples are rare, there are sufficient numbers to warrant separate discussion. Several richly decorated octagonal temples with rekha deul superstructure were built in the mid-19th century in the Bardhaman-Birbhum area. This is one example (amongst many) of a specific late-medieval Bengali architectural substyle becoming popular for a brief period in a certain region. Less decorated examples with chala and duplicated-chala superstructures also exist, but ratna superstructures are not usually seen. For rasmanchas, however, octagonal plan with ratna superstructure is the most common style. Another octagonal style specific to a single patron (Rani Bhabani) consists of large open temples with inverted lotus-dome.
The best examples of richly decorated octagonal rekha deuls are at Sribati, Ilambazar, and Supur. Naldanga in Bangladesh has several examples of the large octagonal stucco-and-terracotta-decorated style typical of that region. The Chandranatha Siva temple in Hetampur is an unusual example of an octagonal temple with a navaratna superstructure. This temple is also unusual for the style and subject-matter of sculpture on its walls. The best example of the special octagonal temple style patronized by Rani Bhabani is the Bhavanisvara temple at Baranagar in Murshidabad but examples also exist elsewhere in her domains such as at Pabna.