Friday, March 25, 2011

Govinda Bhita Western Temple

The western temple complex lasted till the Muslim conquest. In the eastern temple complex there are four building periods. The upper most one belongs to the Muslin period and the next one which cannot be dated is fragmentary and insignificant. The period below this shoe a temple which is contemporary with the western temple that was built in the eighth-ninth century .The temple in the earliest period of the site is 56' square with a central altar and surrounded by a 3'-4' wide procession path. This also seems to have been raised on a high terrace because its basement wall with several offsets and ornamental moldings goes to a great depth. The Govinda Bhita mound lies straight on the river bank an this obviously necessitated some steps to prevent river erosion at this spot .There was a 150' long stone revetment wall against the northern slope of the mound on the river bank which also possessed a stone landing ghat on the eastern side. A number of complex walls including an outer massive wall with offsets and a semi circular retaining wall have been noted in this area in the context of the early pala period .It has been reported that during this period the eastern temple was divided into a number of small cells by partition walls which were 1'' 6' wide.

In the excavations conducted in 1928-9 the section of the rampart which was explored covered roughly the northeastern part of the eastern rampart. The north-south running rampart wall takes at this point a turn of about 100 to the west before regaining its regular north-south alignment. The high mound at the re-entrant angle here is locally known as Munir ghon. Incidentally, this place is close to a bathing place on the karatoya , known as sila Bevir ghat which was known also to the karatoya mahatmya as siladwipa and marks the spot of a holy dip for the Hindus. The pala period rampart wall here was 11' wide of which 2' on either face consisted of brick work, the rest being filled with rammed earth. There were two semi-circular bastions at the outwork of the angular re-entrant projectction. On the inner side a terrace was found associated with the whole thing ,possibly to provide access from the inner side to the bastion area .The whole complex might have serve as watch tower on the river bank. The archaeological work since then seems to have been concentrated on the northern rampart. It is important to remember that an inlet of the Karatoya separates the fortification wall on the northern side from the modern archaeological guest house and the Govinda Bhita complex beyond that. The northeastern part was likely to have suffered from the erosive effect of the river in high flood, and thus considerable care was lavished at this spot to make the fortification secure. Two massive parallel walls have been noted at this point, apart from a semi circular bastion. Inside the bastion area there were a number of guardrooms on either side of a 8' 2' wide passage. These have been dated to the pala period .There is a plethora of disjointed and fragmentary walls in and around this spot.