In a village called Ayodhya, some 10km or so north of Bagerhat, is a 17th century, shikhara-style Hindu temple called Kodla Math, named after the alternate name for the village Kodola.
This ancient temple, whose design is distinctive from styles commonly seen in the subcontinent, is made from terracotta. Standing at 18.28 metres, this tall structure has a square base. It has a 3.048 sq m chamber with 2.74m thick walls. It has three entrances, one on each side, except the north side, and the building itself faces the south. The main doorway has corbelled arches, although the pendentives are built with true pointed arches, which support the semi-circular dome inside.
The exterior face of the temple is polygonal with five recesses on either side of the central face, making six plans and eleven recesses. Covered with terracotta tiles arranged in parallel ridges, the temple rises to a tapering point. The façade with its terracotta motifs make the main attraction of the site.
Once a majestic structure, the Kodla Math has been in gradual decline over the centuries. The fragmentary remains of the inscription fixed over the cornice tell us that the Math was erected by a Brahmin, dedicated to Taraka Brahma, around the 17th century. Little else is known about the builder. Much of the decorative motifs have been eroded with time and neglect, although the intricately carved floral patterns that survive on the central band of the false doorway on the northern façade speak of its glory days as an architectural marvel.
Photos: Syed Zakir Hossain