Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lakshmindarer Medh

There are numerous mound in the vicinity of Mahasthangarh and the Bagura district as a whole.These mound will be briefly reported in the next chapter .Here we are concerned only with the excavated data .One may, however,note in passing that all there mounds give the impression of being structural mounds containing the ruins of stupas, temples and monasteries. They are all fairly compact and high mounds with plenty of brickbats on the surface. one may legitimately infer that they harbor the remains of burnt-brick structures.Chronologically,most of these structures probably belong to the period between the sixth seventh century and the twelfth-thirteenth century,roughly between the Gupta-post-Gupta period and the time of the pala-senas. Regretly only two of these sites have been excavated,the first one, lakshmindarer Medh in 1934-5 and the second one bhasu vihar, in the mid-seventies. The village of Gokul lies about a mile to the south of mahasthangarh, on the western bank of the Karatoy a which has formed a clear loop in its flow in this section.The village could have been the ancient village of Gopagriha, the name of which figures in one of the inscriptions found at mahasthangarh .There are two mounds in the village. lakshmindarer medh and netai dhopanir pat  mahasthangarh and its Environs lists their sizes,respectively,as 200' by 110' by 54' and 300' by 300 by 30' .The height of 54' for a mound is very high indeed in this part of the subcontinent and perhaps because of this the mound of lakshmindarer medh was excavated in 1934-6 by N.G. majumdar, The modern reports, however , put the height of the mound at 43' from the level of the surrounding plain . The mound, when excavated, revealed a single structural complex.It is essentially a polygon of 24 sides with a central shrine raised on an octagonal plinth .This central shrine could have been a stupa but no tease of it was found in the excavations, The most significant feature here is the cellular architecture in which 172 blind rectangular cells of different dimensions were packed solidly with earth and arranged in gradually rising tiers to support the lofty and massive podium of the central shrine, The shrine is place more than thirty feet above the ground level on a solid foundation raised by means of four massive walls forming a quadrangular platform, the intervening spaces of which were same compact by erecting cross-wanks and by filling up the cell-like enclosures , thus formed, with earth, subsidiary smaller quadrangles were also add on fort sides to lend further strength to the high and solid foundation supporting the shrine, These subsidiary quadrangles were also reverted on four outside by additional rows of walls and cells, they being of shallower and of less height as they reach the ground level , The western quadrangle is longer than those in the other three sides, and from the remains of the flight of steps it may be assumed that the main approach was from the west. This movel arrangement of buttress quadrangles not only let stability to the whole monument but also are to the grandeur and imposing character of the building level that once stood on it .Terracotta plaques and other associated objects date the first phase of the shrine in the sixth-seventh century. The original shrine of stupa on the central octagonal plinth gave way in the Sena period to a square shrine with a porch on the outside .Later on the door way of the shrine and porch was blocked and the floor level further raised to an known height. A small cell containing a human skeleton was found inside the shrine. A brick-lined pit was found to underlie this cell. A stone slab found in the center of the shrine carried 12 shallow holes . and a larger hole in its center yielded a gold leaf which was an inch square. The figure of a recumbent bull was engraved in relief on this gold leaf and this at least suggests that the Sena period shrine was devoted to the worship of Siva.