Features and Origins
Most Hindu temples have a porch adjacent to the sanctum where worshippers may gather to view the diety (darsana) or receive blessed food (prasada). In the Orissan tradition a pyramidal or pirha porch called jagamohana is attached to the rekha deul. This arrangement can be seen in several laterite and brick temples in Medinipur and Bankura. In standardised chala and ratna architecture of 18th-19th century Bengal, however, the porch and the sanctum are usually placed within the same building. But there are many instances where separate (often richly decorated) porches are added to the front. These porches are themselves in bangla, chala, or dalan styles, and are usually smaller than the main temple. Some porch combinations are more common than others such as at Medinipur where there are many instances of a rekha-deul with a char-chala porch. Besides attached mandapas, temple complexes sometimes contain subsidiary mandapas such as bhogamandapa, natamandapa, and sometimes a ceremonial nahabatkhana. Some complexes also contain elaborate gateways with attached porches.
There are some unusual instances of porches that are larger than the main temple, such as the Raghunatha temple at Chandrakona (pirha porch attached to rekha deul) and the Nandadulal temple at Chandannagar (massive ek-bangla porch attached to a small dalan temple). Other notable temples with richly decorated porches are the Krishna temple at Baidyapur (rekha porch attached to rekha deul), the Lakshmi Janardan temple at Debipur (ek-bangla porch attached to rekha deul), Siva temple at Kasimbazar-Byaspur (ek-bangla porch attached to inverted-lotus-domed temple), the Radha-Govinda temple at Atpur (char-chala porch attached to an at-chala temple), the Krishnachandra temple at Kalna, and the Radha-Govinda temple at Loada (low-pyramidal porch attached to a deul temple). Examples of separate, subsidiary porches within temple complexes are: the bhogamandapa of the Madana Mohana temple at Bishnupur, ek-bangla gateway of the Radha Madhava temple at Bishnupur, and the flat roofed nahabatkhana at the Brindabanchandra complex at Guptipara.