bangla
ARCHITECTURE

“BANGLADAAR ROOFS”- ARCHITECTURE OF BENGAL

ROOF STYLE ARCHITECTURE

Bengal Roofs- a classic set of the architectural element, is a great example of Bengal’s vernacular architecture. Its roots dates back to 15th-16th century AD and these structures are first seen in Terracotta Temples of Bengal.

Bengali architecture is elaborate and includes-

  • Ancient urban architecture,
  • Religious architecture,
  • Rural vernacular architecture,
  • The famous bungalow style,
  • Roofs (Ratna, Ek-Ratna, Dalan, Rasmancha) and much more.

However, in this post we will draw our attention to the traditional raw Bangladaar style of architecture.

BANGLADAAR ROOFS- JAISALMER
BADA BAGH- MEMORIAL PAVILLIONS OR “CHATRIS” OF THE PRINCELY FAMILY ON A HILL IN JAISALMER HAVE BANGAL ROOFS

ARCHITECTURE OF BENGAL ROOF

BENGAL ROOF is actually a curved structure forming canopy or dome shaped roof with drawn-down corners. Possibly, the inspiration is taken from ancient rural Bengal huts which used to have curved roof made with local materials like straw or reed supported by the bamboo or wooden posts forming a dome.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
BANGLADAAR ROOF, ANTPUR, CHANDIMANDAPA

This dome protects the hut from intense sun, strong winds and torrential rains. Later, the materials were replaced with more durable options like- bricks and terracotta.

MUGHAL AND RAJPUTI BACKGROUND

The structure is significantly used in Terracotta Temples of Bengal as a symbol of reviving Hinduism after a powerful Islamic influence during medieval times. Thus, we can say that BANGLA ROOFS are associated with late Mughal and Rajput architecture of Northern India.  These temples showcase domes from Islamic architecture combined with very personal BANGLADAAR ROOFS shaping together traditional Bengali architecture.

Though Rajput architecture mainly glorifies JHAROKHA- but some of the later monuments built during 18th and 19th centuries are inspired by Bangla roofs. Example cited are those of Hawa Mahal, Jaipur and Khas- Mahal, Delhi.

HAWA MAHAL
Details of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur- windows inspired from BANGLADAAR style of architecture
khas mahal agra
Khas-Mahal in Red Fort of Agra (in 1635)

Lately, Banglaroofs became an inspiration for modern day architects and are largely adapted in residential bungalows and houses of Bengal.

TYPES OF BANGLADAAR ROOFS

The Bangladaar or Gable roof is popularly known as CHALA STYLE (rural Bengal huts) of architecture. In Bengal, roofs with typically two, four or eight curved edges are popular forms used. These roofs are comparatively not luxurious, but are simple and raw.

They are prime examples of how simple traditional thatched-roofs of Bengal are transformed and adopted as a permanent architecture element and a symbol of Bhakti and Revival of Hinduism in Bengal.

1. Do-chala

Also known as ek-bangla or twin-hut, it is the most common type of structure that has two sloping roofs with curved cornices meeting at curved ridges. In Bengal, this form was majorly used for entrance gateways to temple enclosures.

Jor Bangla Mandir displays an excellent example of do-chala roofing.

BANGLADAAR ROOFS
Jor-Bangla Temple or Keshta Roy Temple (c. 1655), Bishnupur, Bankura dist., West Bengal, India

This architectural feature was even adopted by the Mughals and carried to other parts of India. Ek-bangla became a prominent feature of 17th-century architecture of Delhi, Lahore, Gulburg and marked its way to the palace balconies and garden pavilions of Rajashtan during 18th century.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
Do Chala Architecture- Tomb of Fateh Khan. Kanakpur, West Bengal

2. Char-chala

The Char-chala temples have four rectangular roofs meeting at one point, giving a dome-like structure, The edges and cornices of the chala are ornamented and carved.

It is quite a rare roofing style. For construction of a char-chala roof, a square plan is covered internally by a dome on pendentives to give it a hut shaped roof.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
 Char Bangla Temple at Baronagar in Murshidabad District. This Temple faces South. This has the most exquisite terracotta panels.

Some examples of char-chala roofs are still can be seen in the districts of Faridpur, Pabna, Jessore in Bengal and also in the district of Birbhum, Murshidabad, and Nadia in west Bengal.

3. At-chala

The At-chala style of roof is vastly popular in 18th or 19th century Bengal described as a variation of the Char-chala temple. It is a roof constructed with two Char-chala truncated roof placed upon each other with a further miniature roof structure repeated above to gain height.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
Aatchala temple and Dalan Temple of Ghosal family at Patrasayar, Bankura district, West Bengal, India

This style of roofing is widely noted in Hugli, Medinipur, Howrah, and Bankura districts. The Malancha Dakshina Kali temple in Medinipur is the finest example of the At-chala roofing style.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
At-chala Dakshina Kali temple at Malancha at Paschim Medinipur district in West Bengal

The 18th centuries Rameswari Temple at Naldanga is richly embellished on two sides with terracotta art and has a fine entrance. Some good examples of this type are the Gunjanth Siva Temple, The Jora siva temple, Bagerhat (18th c), Siva Temple at Chandina in Comilla (19th C) etc.

BANGLADAAR ROOF
Aat Chala Shiva temple of Chowdhury family of Putunda at Purba Bardhaman district in West Bengal

STURDY BENGAL ROOFS

These Temples have drawn inspiration from the rural Bengal and so they are unique in their own way. Interesting variations can be seen in detailing of these structures throughout Bengal. Being made up of stone and wood, black basalt, sandstone , granite and black marble, some of these temples are still preserved but most of these temples have not survived to this day and have destroyed either due to climate or by invaders.

IMAGE SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_roofs

1 thought on ““BANGLADAAR ROOFS”- ARCHITECTURE OF BENGAL”

Leave a Reply