Rasmancha is the oldest brick temple and the only temple of its kind in the whole country. Rasmancha or রাসমঞ্চ is a historical building located at Bishnupur, Bankura district, West Bengal, India. It was commissioned by Mallabhum King Hambir Malla Dev (Bir Hambir) in 1600 CE.
During the Vaishnava Ras festival, all the Radha Krishna idols of Bishnupur town used to be brought here to be worshiped by the citizens. The annual festival was held till 1932 and then it was stopped and this popular festival has been shifted to grounds near a temple.
Rasmancha temple stands on a raised square laterite plinth with a pyramidal superstructure. Three successive circumlocutory galleries, The arches of which are decorated with terracotta lotus motifs. Many images from the neighboring temples were brought at the time of Ras Festival and displayed in the galleries for the public.
The temple was created to celebrate ‘Ras’ festival, when every image, large or small, in the form of Deities was taken in here from each and every adjoining shrine or temple. They were arranged for exhibit to every individual during this event. Similar architecture and building has not been found elsewhere in India and it is considered as the pride of Bishnupur for its unique shape.
The interesting thing about the temple is that it has only a single chamber, the sanctum sanctum, with an elongated tower, surrounded by hut shaped turrets. A passageway surrounds it and some large cannons found here date back to the Malla period.
Rasmancha is no more a temple today, it has now been converted into a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is making sincere maintenance efforts on this masterpiece. There are now lighting facilities and the delicate terracotta craftsmanship that is etched on each and every brick and wall of the Rasmancha is being carefully conserved.