Saturday, April 9, 2011

The monastery at paharpur

The monastery measured 922' (north-south) by 919' (east-west) and was enclosed by a 16' thick wall which perhaps rose to a height of 12-15 feet. The thickness of this wall suggests an upper stored but no roof of that has been found. The main gateway was on the northern side and proceeded on the outside by a number of structures, one of which could have serve as a waiting hall or a hall for security guards. Two circular structures which stood on square bases and flanked the staircase leading to the entrance hall were perhaps votive stupas. The staircase was built by laying bricks-on-edge over flat bricks. The entrance hall was a pillared one, with its northern side being open. One notes a band of bricks-in-edge on the eastern and western walls at the height of 6' 6" .This was possibly intended merely as a decorative effect. One also notes several cells adjoining the eastern side of the entrance hall. It has been suggested that these cells were used as office rooms of the monastery. It has also been pointed out that the main passage to the cells was originally though one of these rooms showing cor-belled courses on the top of the openings in its eastern and northern walls. This passage was found filled up with debris during the excavations. The outer entrance hall have access to a pillared hall separated from it by a stone step and a stone these hold . There are grooves in the wall, indicating that the door leading to the outer wall was bolted on the side of the inner hall by a wooden log. The inner entrance hall opened on to the inner verandah and from there. There was a flight of steps to the courtyard directly in front of the main temple. The monastic cells which were 177 number and measure approximately 14' by13'.6" were arranged along the 8 to 9 ft. wide inner verandah. There were 45 cells in the northern wing and 44 cell in each wing. There was a central hall in the northern wing and on each of the other three sides there was a projection in the outer wall forming three cells with a passage around them. These central blocks, in fact, divided each of the fur wings into two sections. Apart from the main entrance there was a subsidiary entrance through the eastern segment of the northern side . A small passage across the middle of the eastern block possibly allowed for a private entrance. A flight of steps went down from the inner verandah to the courtyard in the middle of each side. The verandah was supported by pillars and fenced off from the courtyard by a railing except in the sections covered by the staircase. The basement wall of the verandah was decorated with ha single row of terracotta relief’s but this was done possibly during the last stage of construction .The monastic cells were no doubt meant for living but a good many of them had ornamental pedestal to carry images. These pedestals came up in the late phase of the monastery.