Shiv Mandir in Kurumvera is an ancient landmark of the West Medinipur district, West Bengal. It known to most people as a broken fortress.  Kurumvera Shiv Mandir is twenty-seven kilometers from Kharagpur. From there along the Beldar road passing Kukai village to Gaganeshwar village. The name is like a temple. Temple architecture covers a large area of ​​this remote village.

Shiv Mandir in Kurumvera


The place surrounded by a wall about twelve feet high. There is only one stone door to enter. The Board of Archeology of India placed in front of the door. This shows the importance of the place. But surprisingly, despite being under the Archeology Department of India, like many other places, no history or description of the place in the Board of Archeology Department. As a result, very difficult to know the architecture here. First of all, the place very secluded, no houses nearby.

According to some, there used to be a fort here. which established about five and a half hundred years ago, probably between 1438 and 1469. Then this region belonged to Orissa. This fort and temple were built during the reign of Gajapati Kapilendradeva, the Surya dynasty king of Orissa. Entering to smell the history, it seen that a huge one placed in the middle of Shiv Mandir. Although the temple no longer exists as such, only a block of black plaster can be seen on the ruins of the ancient foundation. Covered in Oil-Sindur. A few flowers on a stone block. This is the Shiv Mandir in Kurumvera.

view of the temple/fort


One will be surprised by the interior size and arrangement. A large rectangular field, surrounded by a long terrace. The porch lined with rows of arches, each arch and the upper roof supported by a myriad of square pillars and stacked stones on top of those pillars. The place looks like a fort. But seeing a Shiva temple in the fort surprising at first, but later remembered that there nothing to be surprised about. The Kalimandir and a huge vermilion headstone in the Akbar Fort west of Dallek in Kashmir which worshiped daily in Devajnana. As known, Emperor Akbar himself had arranged this puja for Akbar’s Rajput wife Jodhabai.

That’s what comes to mind while circling the massive terraced verandah here, like the Rameswaram temple in the south. Passing by the huge, deserted stone pillars, a hint of mystery somewhere in the mind, as well as a sense of dread at every moment. The question arises what the main purpose of this huge architecture five hundred and fifty years ago – was there really a huge fort here, or this huge architecture built around the temple?

Because temples usually built for the worship of the public or the king to maintain punishment and well-being in the kingdom. If that temple built within a cantonment, that purpose does not succeed. Most importantly, there is no general access.

It may also be that five hundred years ago, pilgrims, monks, and local residents took temporary shelter during natural calamities in the great atriums of this grand structure. But it  also true, later it used as a cantonment. According to history, in 1691 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, one of his generals, Tahir Khan, occupied the place. Then he has a three dome. He built the mosque, which still visible.

Whereas the broken Shiva temple is just the opposite. Perhaps at that time that the temple destroyed by the persecution of the pagans. After the fall of the Mughal Empire, this place was occupied by the Maratha bandits for some time. But one day when they also left, the place gradually became completely abandoned.

Shiv Mandir in Kurumvera
Ruins of Shiv Temple

The Temple:

There is nothing in the ruined sanctum sanctorum of the ruined Shiva temple at Kurumbera. There is a total of 69 Pillers around the Parikrama of the temple. From this, it can be assumed that this temple  the largest temple in India at that time. The Archeology Department of India has taken great pains to preserve what left, with occasional new shrines built between the columns, which intended to save the five hundred and fifty-year-old grand structure from collapsing.

A plaque written in the Oriya language can be seen embedded in the wall while proceeding along the circumambulation path. Although the history of this place has been written, due to long-term carelessness and neglect, many of the plaques cannot be read today. After saying so much, one more thing must be said here.

Shiv Mandir in Kurumvera

Although the ruins seen in the center of this fort mentioned by most sources as the ruined Shiva temple, there is another version. What believed to be the sanctum sanctorum in the ruins is not very big. In that case, the space in the middle of the square may be the remains of an ancient well, which later buried. But it is also right, right near the mosque but no sign of the temple is visible. And if the ruins in front a well then why would there be such a place for water discharge – which usually can be seen in the sanctum sanctorum of a temple? But for whatever reason, the actual history of the place and the location of the ancient temple nowhere so clearly known.

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