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Kalna  

Walter Smith

Town and temple site in West Bengal, India, about 80 km north of Calcutta. Located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, it was once an important port and commercial centre, but by the late 19th century its importance had declined owing to the silting up of the river and the opening of the East Indian Railway. It is now best known for several temples built during the 18th and 19th centuries by wealthy landowners, merchants and officers of local governors. Many are dated by inscription. Built of brick, they are decorated with dense arrangements of terracotta reliefs depicting scenes from the Rāmāya ṇa, the Krishna legend and scenes of everyday life, including figures in European dress. A variety of temple types are seen; the most common have squat, curvilinear superstructures, sometimes double-storey, or upper levels consisting of several towers (see Indian subcontinent §III 7., (ii), (d)). The Lalji Temple (...

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Quilon  

M. E. Heston

[Skt Kōḷamba; Malayalam Kollam]

Port and capital of Quilon District in Kerala, south-west India. The Kollam Era, established in ad 825, was the ancient chronological system of the Malayalam region; as it is named after the city, its inception may reflect the date of the foundation of Kollam. While some scholars believe it was an important port even before the 9th century, epigraphy suggests the city attained prominence only after the Chera or Kulashekhara dynasty of Mahodayapuram (c. 800–1124) made Kollam the headquarters of their southernmost district, Venadu. The city subsequently became the capital of the independent Venadu dynasty after the disintegration of the Kulashekhara empire in the 12th century.

In the earliest copperplate documents issued from Kollam in 849, a governor granted the Syrian Christian community privileges to build the church of Tarisa, indicating the importance of this community in the commercial growth of Quilon (the church has not survived). Inscriptions of the 10th and 12th centuries refer to the Panamkavil Palace of the local ruler, but no traces of this monument have been found. Although an inscription of ...