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Friday, April 29, 2011

Sitakot of Nawabganj of Bangladesh

The site lies in the Nawabganj police station of the Dinajpur district. It is 2 miles to the southwest if the police station on the Nawabganj-Charkkai road and located at the southern edge of the village Fatehpur Marash. A preliminary work was undertaken in 1986 with a more thorough works in 1972-3.The excavations have revealed Buddhist monastery built on a square plan. The northern and southern wings have large projections on the outside. The northern and southern wing had large projection of this wing which projected 24' 6" outward from the alignment of the cells. The complex included two guardrooms or vestibules separated by an open space of the same size. The approach to the monastery was through this open space. The main gateway led to an entrance piercing the back wall. The outer projection on the south measured 85' by 16' 6" and was added later. It was built as a kind of hall and there was an entrance hall and a staircase at its eastern end and 11 cells each in the three other wings . The inner courtyard measured 139' by 135' and the retaining wall separating it from the inner verandah was 4' thick . The cells were 3-4' thick and the thickness of the back wall was 8' 6" . The inner verandah was possibly open right from the beginning. The central cells in the east, west and south wings were larger than the rest and each of them possessed a substantial brick platform which was possibly used to install a votive image . A religious function of these cells is undeniable. For instance, the main altar in the central cell of the western wing was built against the back wall in multi projected tiers, the top tier being 4' long and 2' 9" wide . The central cell of the southern wing might have served as the main shrine . A pillared pavilion built in front of this in a later period was intended to serve as the mandapa. The outer projection of the southern wing was also burnt during yard.The monastic cells at sitakot were provided niches in the back wall and the partition walls. The roofing material was rammed lime-surkhi supported by wooden beams and rafters, Large chunks of this material have been found in the excavated. Five small rooms fronted by a verandah and linked to the main building by a covered passage apparently constituted a toilet complex in the southeastern wing of the monastic complex, projecting well out of the main structure, A 9 wide staircase in the northeast corner led to the roof .Alternate projections and recesses marked the outer wall at intervals of 10 to 20 ft. There were projected mounding and offsets at the plinth level The stratigraphy of the site has not been discussed but two building periods have been postulated. Some cells were discarded during the late period The site does not seem to have been rich in major finds , which included only two Buddhist bronze images and about 132 ornamental bricks. These bronze images, one of Bodhisattva Padmapani and the other Bodhisattva manjusri , have been dated in the seventh –eighth century ,which seems to be the accepted date of the monastery as well.

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