Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
About 200 yards to the north of mankalir Dhap the mound known locally as parasuramer bari .It was briefly excavated in 1907 but the excavations in 1961 brought to light a modern building which was constructed not earlier than the later part of the eighteenth century ,There was building phase bating from the fifteenth/sixteenth century below this and still below there was a building phase of probably eighth century ,as the terracotta plaques of typical pala school and other associated objects indicate.To the east of parasuramer bari is a well known as Jiyatkunda. A huge granitic rectangular stone block ,measuring 6 ft.10 ins. Long , 1 ft.8 ins. Broad and 1 ft. 6 ins. in thickness, lies across the eastern side, with 2 ft.1 ins.projecting inside , seemingly intended for the facility of drawing water, and quite evidently formed part of the original construction of the wall . The stone is carved with beautiful floral designs in relief and must once have formed part of a the original construction of the wall. The stone is carved with beautiful floral designs in relief and must once have formed part of a door sill of some Hindu temple of probably the later builders of the well because the well is of comparatively modern origin , dated in the late eighteenth early nineteenth century .A small Tank outside the Eastern fortification . This tank is due east of the Mankalir mound and outside the fort wall. This yielded a fragmentary stone inscription of ninth century which mentioned some members of a Nandi family, one of whom is said to have Gojul near Mahasthan.This mound which lies to the north of parasuramer bari and is not far from the northern rampart wall was excavated in 1928-9 . Apart from the remains of two pala period temples ,ascribed to the early and late period temples. Ascribed to the4 early and late periods of the excavated deposits , the excavations shows some subsidiary structures in the o pen court to the north. The earlier pala temple was supposedly constructed in the eighth century and measure 98 ins.from the east to the wet and about 42 ins.from the north to the south , Its southern half was obliterated by the construction of the late temple but the basement of the plinth could be traced on the north and east. The entire length of the basement wall was decorated by a band and two plain moldings. The northeastern and northwestern corners of the temple have recessed angles. The sanctum must have been located at the center .A drain carrying the libation water of the sanctum was constructed partly of bricks and partly of stones collected from an earlier building phase This drain is 36 ins.Long from the north to the south and almost bisects the temple. This discharged itself in to a sock jar with pottery rings placed below. Two rectangular stone pillars were placed lengthwise near the discharge end. The pillars, square in section with chamfered corners, are decorated with halt lotus medallions, the kirtimurha and floral scroll mounding in low relief, characteristic of the late Gupta period of sixth-seventh century.
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.
The mound called Govinda Bhita is on a bend of the karatoya to the northeast of the fortified city. The mound is across the ditch outside the northern rampart and about a couple of furlongs beyond. It was excavated in 1928-9.According to the Sanskrit text Karatoya Mahatmya or the greatness of the river Karatoya .Which has been dated to the twelfth-thirteenth century, a temple of Govinda of Vishnu marked the northern limit of the city . As the mound is known as Govinda Bhita of the house of Govinda even know in the local tradition. There is no reason to doubt the evidence of this text. The building remains excavated within a massive enclosure wall show four period between the late Gupta period and the Muslim occupational phase of the site. The 6 ft. thick enclosure wall western side where it stands up to a height of 8-11 ft. and is 114 ft. long. There are two distinct sets of buildings inside the enclosure. These have been named eastern and western temples in the archaeological literature. The earlier phase of the western temple goes back possibly to the sixth-seventh century . Its western wall is marked by 16 offsets and is said to bear close affinity with the fabric of the basement wall of the main temple at Paharpur. The western temple was apparently entered from the west. A 30 ft. long and 9 ft. wide porch marked this entrance. The later temple was partly built on the ruins of the earlier one in about the eleventh century .The enclosure wall of the temple complex came to be built during this period. The temples of thee two periods were both constructed on high raised terraces but in the case of the second period temple the excavated evidence is detailed. An elaborate high terrace structure was created in the center after raising the earlier level of the plinth to several feet. The central walls of the upper terrace are connected on their exterior by a series of parallel walls by means of short cross-walls, thus forming an outer row of cells in the foundation. In the same way , a row of 5 superficial cell in the interior on each side except east were found arranged around a solid rectangular brick platform which must have originally formed the foundation of the high superstructure. In three of these cells ring-wells have been found ,which were also probably of superficial nature. This curious cellular style of construction, we now know from other development in building arts in ancient
Bengal. These superficial cells ,arranged in different terraces around a central platform, were filled in with compact earth and rammed so as to strengthen the surrounding area capable of securely raising a towering superstructure of in other words, these cellular structures had the advantage of raising the high structure with high plinth visible from a great distance and thus gained for it a commanding prospect.
Friday, March 18, 2011
The individual mounds which have been excavated in mahasthangarh and its vicinity have generally revealed structures which are not earlier in any case than the late Gupta period . most of these structures in fact belong to the later periods. The Gupta-post-Gupta and later structural evidence from these mounds will be considered in a later chapter .Here we are concerned with the excavated data from the earlier levels.In an excavated fortified city the history of the defence wall is a major item of interest.The published literature on Mahasthangarh does not suggest that any co-ordinated and determined effort has ever been made to know the history of its fortification wall. The following extract from the published literature will support our inference . the nature of the fortress wall and its bastion was ascertained by operations on a high mound at one of the re-entrant angles of the eastern rampart, locally known as mnunir ghon, situated not far from sila Devi’s ghat .The rampart wall here was found standing to a height of 10 feet and at least 11 feet broad , of which about 2 feet on either face was brick work and the core built up of brick bats laid in mud mortar . The general direction of the wall is north-south but before it turns to the west for a distance of 100 feet and resumes its course to the north.The outwork at the re-entrant angular projection consisted of two semi-circular bastions , both of which were later encased in a superficial brick-work.The floor associated with the great wall, which points to the bastioin’s later date of construction.The structure was probably intended to serve as a watch tower to guard the river bank.A terrace was also constructed along the inner side of the outwork. The date of the rampart wall here was ascertained by associated antiquities ans characteristics of the pala period.The foregoing is Nazimuddin ahmed’s summary of the work done on the rampart in the archaeological survey of India excavations at the site in 1928-9.This earlier defense composed of conspicuously large sized bricks has a pronounced barrier on the outside.An inscribed clay seal of the Gupta period found associated with the earlier defense wall indicates its date , but their mutual relation remains yet obscure . considerable extent of the northern fortification wall, dated to eighth century was exposed during the operation. It shows several repair and rebuilding phases, and in average measures about 13 feet width and still stands to general height of about 4 to 5 feet Deep digging seems to have been done Lin two area ahmed .The Govinda Bhita area outside the northeastern corner of the fortification and the north eastern area within the fortification . In the Govina Bhita area the virgin soil was reached at a depth of 25 feet from the surface.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The site is located about 8 miles to the north of the district town of Bagura .It is a large and rectangular fortified enclose on the west bank of the Karatoya river .It measures 5000 ft. from the north to the south,4500 ft. form the east to west and rises 15ft. high on the average from the level of the surrounding plain. At the corner bastoons the rampant rises to a height of 15ft. there are a few isolated mounds insides the area surrounded by the brick ramparts but the area as a whole has been reduced to agricultural fields. when Alexander Cunningham visited the site in 1779-80 he observed :The rampant generally are covered with rather thick jungle and so also are most of the brick mound, but all the rest of the place has been cleared and divided into fields .Within a radius of five miles from Mahastangarh there are more than 30 mounds of various sizes. This feature lends a great interest to the site, and as Nazimuddin Ahmed writes,'the present extent of its ruins with its suburbs is unparalleled by any other ancient site in Bengal .The Karatoy was once a major river .There is an early mediaeval text called the karatoya-mahatmyam of the greatness of the karatoy,which sings the praises of the river and the sacredness of the site of Mahastangarh and its environs on its bank . The place is still held sacred by the Hindus and is visited by thousands planets, known as the Narayani-yoga, which occurs in the north of Pasha or December once in about twelve years. And the fair is also held here every the last day of the Bengali year,about the middle of April. On the eastern side the site was protected by the karatoya and on the other three sides by a moat the remains of which are still visible .The moat on the south is now known as the Baranari Khal, that on the west as the Gilatola Khal, and that on the north as the Kalidaba sagar the last being an offshoot of an extensive bill of that name khal in Bengali means a canal whatever bil denote a large swampy tract. There are traces of gateways of entrances on all side of the ramparts the main one is on the west and called the Tamrasvara or Tamba entrance probably of later date. There are at present three entrance on the eastern side The main one which is Known as the Dorab shah gate is almost at the southeast corner,but at the southwest corner it salt inside the fortification at this spot.