Bishnupur was ruled under the Gupta period by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to Samudra Gupta. Following a long period of obscurity, where the land oscillated between being a minor independent principality and a vassal state. The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur.
Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km), now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura district, is a seat of crafts and culture.
For almost a thousand years it was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned during the times when Mughal Empire weakened under the last monarchs of the dynasty.
The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha Dev and Bir Singha Dev made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which town is justly famous were built during this period.
Mrinmoyee temple of kings is treated as a valuable historic place.
Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is also famous for its terracotta craft and its own Baluchari sarees made of tussar silk.
Royal patronage also gave rise to Bishnupur Gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music in late 18th-century and the Bishnupur school of painting. Since 1997, the temples of Bishnupur is on UNESCO World Heritage Site's Tentative list.
By bus - Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) and South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) buses ply regularly between Dharmatala/ Esplanade bus stand of Kolkata and Bishnupur. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach Bishnupur.The road distance is shorter than the rail distance, it is about 150 km.
By road - From Kolkata travel to Dankuni, take the Durgapur Expressway, at Ratanpur crossing turn left and take the Sheoraphuli-Tarakeswar road, go straight through to Arambagh and Bishnupur.
By train - It takes about 3:30 to 4:15 hours from Kolkata, distance 201 km. Convenient connections - Rupashi Bangla Expressdeparts from Santragachi at 6.25 am, Purulia Express departing Howrah at 4.50 pm and Siromoni Fast Passenger departs from howrah at 5.45pm andSantragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express Departs From Santragachi at 21.25hrs only sunday. and arrive at Bishnupur at 00.02hrs and Rajjyarani Tri weekly Express Departsfrom Shalimar at 6.40hrs and Aranyak Expressdeparting Shalimar at 7.45 am. To come by Aranyak Express from Howrah to Bishnupur,1st one has to come at Santragachi by local train & then by Aranyak Express.All these trains are via Kharagpur,Midnapur. You can also opt for Howrah-Chakradharpur passenger which leaves Howrah at 23:05 hrs. This train has sleeper class provision.
Other option, come at Kharagpur/Midnapur/Bardhman/Durgapur by train form Howrah.Then by bus.
One can also take a bus to Midnapore or Arambag and then change over to another local bus to Bishnupur which are more or less frequently available every 30 - 45 minutes. Arambag is about 3 hours and Midnapore about 3 1/2 hours by bus from Bishnupur.
From other places - By bus from Tarakeshwar, Durgapur, Kharagpur, Bardhman, Asansol.