|The front wall
of the verandah, and also, to some extent, of the sanctum, is covered with brick panels
finely carved in the best style of Bengali art, with figures of gods and goddesses and
scenes from theepics and Puranas,chiefly Vaishnavite.The temple is said to have been built
by Harishchandra Rai of Sheoraphuli,probably towards the end of the 18th century. It
contains painted wooden images of Ram- chandra, Lakshman (to the right) and Sita (to the
left), the images being the largest of all those at Guptipara. Just opposite this shrine,
on the other side of thequadrangle, stands thefourth temple ofKrishnachandra, with small
images of Krishna and Radha. * It is said to have been built by Dandi Madhusudan inthe
time of Nawab Ali Vardi Khan.
The story is that the
Dandi, who was in charge of the math, fell into arrears with his revenue, upon which the
Nawab summoned Sri Brindabanji toMurshidabad. The Dandi fearing desecration and losing all
hope of getting the god back, set up a new image of Krishna and Radha, and built this new
temple for it."The chief Vaishnava festivals, viz., Ras, Dol, Rath and Ulta-rath, are
observed by large crowds atGuptipara. Guptipara is also noted for introducing a community
Puja where the rich and the poor combine, pool their resources and celebrate a puja.This
sort of puja is known in Bengal as Barwari puja.
'The Friend of India', a monthly magazine of Srirampur in
its issue for May 1820 mentions: "a new species of pooja which has been introduced
into Bengal within the last thirty years, called Barowaree
About thirty years ago, at
Gooptipara, near Santipoora a town celebrated in Bengal for its numerous Colleges, a
number of Brahmins formed an association for the
celebration of Pooja independently of the rules of the Shastras. They elected twelve men
as a Committee from which circumstance it take its name, and solicited subscriptions in
all the surroundings villages." This is probably the first Barwari puja in Bengal.
Barwari puja has now spread throughout Bengal.
* Bengali Temples, M.M. Chakravarti, Journal of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1909, pp. 141-146, and figs., 3 and 9.