Sunday, May 1, 2011

The discovery in the lalmai hill

The fact that, except for the chance find of a single palaeolithic tool from Chhagalnaiya, on palaeolithic site could be located in the territory of modern Bangladesh comes as a surprise.One must remember that there are large Pleistocene deposits in Bangladesh and that palaeolithic men had lived during the Pleistocene period. One must also recall that, although there is an almost total absence of suitable rocky material for  palaeolithic implements in Bangladesh, fossil wood occurs in reasonable quantities in many of the areas with Pleistocene deposits.The Barind tract of the northern part of Bangladesh, the Madhupur tract of the Mymensing and Dhaka districts, the Comilla-Noakhali hills of which the Lalmai hills are a part, and the Chittagong hilly areas are the major instances of Pleistocene deposits  in Bangladesh. The hypothesis could be checked in the field in the Lalmai area only in the early part of January 1989, and on the very first day of my personal exploration of the area it was possible to locate a stratified palaeolithic occurrence. The next spell of fieldwork, this time with the support of the archaeology project of the Jahangirnagar University, took place in April 1989 and resulted in the discovery of ten more palaeolithic occurrences.The Mainamati-Lalmai complex of hill, about 8 km long and 4.8 km wide at its maximum, extends from the Ranir Bangla ridge on the Comilla-Brahmanbaria road in the north to the vicinity of the Dhaka-Chittagong railway track in the south. The average height of this upland from the level of the surrounding  plain is about 12 m, with some individual spurs rising up to a height of 30-50 m. The northern part of this complex of hills is known as the Mainamati hills whereas the southern section is called the Lalmai hills. Basically this tract shows a spread of rolling uplands intersected by depressions. wherever the cliff- like formations are cut they show a clear cross-section of yellowish sandy material which is leached a little red towards the top. One can also observe some small nodule concretions and very rare small quartz pebbles in the section. Formerly, the area was given over to the jhum or slash –and-burn method of cultivation by a group of trials called the Tipras. Now the settled farmers use this area for vegetable cropping on the slopes and tops of the ridges and for normal rice cultivation in some of the depressions between the ridges. Vegetation has worn thin but one can notice stumps of sal, jack fruit and mango trees, apart from bamboo groves, etc. The area explored by us falls in the south and southeast  parts of the ridge. Our search for prehistoric tools was conditioned primarily by the distribution of fossil wood chunks which were used as raw materials. At the same time, we noted that not all types of fossil wood were preferred as raw materials. There was a distinct preference for only those pieces which showed below the cortex or surface skin a rather hard and flinty deep brown or darkish material. This shows that the prehistoric people concerned were closely familiar with the properties of fossil wood chunks of the area and their distribution.

Mound of Bihar

The mound of Bihar is only a kilometer south of Bhasu vihar and encircled y the Nagar river .It was excavated in 1979-83.The major discovery has been that of a monastery, the plan of which has been full obtained .It measures 57 m by 61 m and contains 37 monastic cells in all around the open courtyard: 10 each in the northern and southern wings 8 in the eastern wing and 9 in the western wing . The gateway projects outward from the center of the eastern wings. It was flanked on the outside probably by two guardrooms which survive in the form of two structures, each measuring 6.33 m by 5.9 m. A staircase led to the outer hall which also contained a brick platform with a semi circular structure at the base .The inner entrance hall is linked to the inner verandah from where a staircase with 3 steps goes down to the open courtyard .The monastic cells measure 3.3 m -4.5 m by 3.3 m. The partition walls are 1.5 m thick. The outer wall of the monastery which also the back wall of the monastic cells is 2.6 m thick while the thickness of their front walls  2 m . The lone surviving example of a door is 1.4 m wide.  In two cell s of  the eastern wing pedestals for image shave been found .The verandah is uniformly  2.7 m wide , with the western part of the southern wing showing  a brick platform . The thickness of the retaining wall of the verandah varies from 1.3 m in the eastern and western wings to 1 m in the northern  and southern wings . Deep digging revealed to conductional phases of the monastery, one built on the top of another without any alteration in the layout .The ruins of possibly another monastery were exposed to the south of this monastery the outline of which could not be fully obtained. Five monastic cells were excavated. One of them was found to possess a 2.2 m square platform . The back wall of these cells id 2.5 m thick and the thickness of the front wall is 1.8 m. The partition wall is 1.2 m thick. The southeastern portion of the mound showed the ruins of a temple with a high superstructure based on an irregular series of blind cells. It appears that the sanctum of the superstructure was built over the massive squares central cell of the cellular structure. This central cell internally measures 4.6 m N-S by 4 m E-W and externally 9.6 m N-S 9 m E-W. The massive eastern and western walls of the cell are 2.7 m wide and northern and southern walls are 2.5 m wide. Other subsidiary cells encircle this central cell in several rows on its four sides .The major antiquities discovered at the site are  one silver coin  of Sultan Sikandar shah , thirteen terracotta plaques , two terracotta seals, a few decorated bricks , miniature earthen pots , oil lamps , lids , glass bead ,terracotta beads balls toys,, net sinkers, bronze pieces , red , ochre’s , and iron nails.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mainamati- Lalmai hill

More than 20 mounds have been listed in the Mainamati- Lalmai hill area on Mainamati. These mounds have been ‘protected’ the existence of more than 50 sites in the area. The details of these additional sites seem to be unrecorded. The location of these mounds is to the west of the Comilla-Brahmanbaria road, a little beyond the crossing of the road with the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. The highest of these mounds is 30’ high from the level of the surrounding plain.Which is only a few feet high from the flat level, lies to its south. Mound no. 1B is a little further to the south and marked only by a scatter of old bricks and potsherds.These two mounds are near the Brigadier’s bungalow in the cantonment, mound no. 2 being to its west and mound no. 2A being to its east. The first one whose height is said to be 100’ including the height of the natural ridge is higher and larger than the second one.This Mound is about a mile to the northwest of kutila mura. A big water tank of the company line lise on the northern fringe of the mound. It is located about 3 miles to the north of salban Vihar and the west of the main road of the cantonment. A big mound 650’ square and about 15’high, this is about a mile to the north of the Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development outside the southern gate of the cantonment. Although unexcavated, the mound, about a furlong to the south of Ananda Raja’s Palace, showed the outline 250’ square of a monastery surrounding a central shrine.This is about half a mile to the south Ananda Vihar orAnanda Raja’s Palace yielded the surface indications of a 400’ square monastery with a central a shrine with massive walls, 6’ square chamber might have been created on the raised foundation and possibly as a part of cellular sub-structure, as at Gokul near Mahasthangarh..This mound is to the north of the Kotbari road and stands on a 60’ high ridge. A fairly large mound about half a mile to the west of Rupban Mura , this has been cut across by the Comilla-Kalir bazar road. This is the first site to have been discovered in the Mainamati-Lalmai complex. The indications of a 300’square monastery enclosing a cruciform temple with about 100’ long sides were noticed here. Situated immediately outside the eastern boundary of the Bangladesh Rifle’s office, this mound stands on a 60’ high ridge. Brick-robbing during the second world war led to the discovery of a 400’ square monastery enclosing a cruciform central shrine with re-entrant angles and recessed corners, embellished further by terracotta plaques and mouldings. Among other things, seven post containing hundreds of bronze votive images were discovered here, but only 13 of them reached the archaeologists. ‘The iconographic details and workmanship of these images are similar to those of the inscribed votive bronzes recovered from jewelry in Chittagong District, assignable to the ninth-eleventh century.This apparently undisturbed mound about 150 yards square is to the west of the Kotbari mound.: This mound is located almost in the central part of the Mainamati-Lalmai village and the name of a neighbouring village is still called Salbanpur.About a mile to the west of salban Vihar, this mound is located on the western fringe of the Mainamati hill. This mound is in the area of Ujirpur Mura , being about half a mile to its south.This mound is situated close to the village of uttar Vijaypuar, about 3 miles to the south of Salban Vihar.About 5 miles to the southwest of salban Vihar , this mound lies on a ridge in the eastern fringe of the Lalmai hills. This mound is located near the crossing of the Comilla-Chandpur and Comilla –Barura roads, about half a mile to the north of Lalmai Railway Station. This marks virtually the southwestern there have corner of the Lalmai ridge. On the top of the hill from where a good view is obtained of the dark and placid water of Daitya Dighi lying at its feet, there are some modern temples. Stone images here : Manjuvara, a variety of Bodhisattva Manjusri, and Surya. These two images are missing these days. It is near the Brigade Headquarters of the Bangladesh Regiment. This is the northernmost mound, also known as Queen Mainamati’s palace.

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.

Patharghata complex of paharpur

The site, or rather, a complex of sites, located in a large and undulating valley on both sides of the Tulsi-Ganga rivers, is in the panchbibi police station in the Bagura district and about 15 miles to the northeast of Paharpur. The remains apparently comprise some small mounds and a main settlement site. A number of solid stone blocks scattered along and in the vicinity of the river banks imply the existence of a stone-built bridge or a landing stage at this point. This has been dated to the pala period, although there is no positive proof in support of this dating. The reference point in the exploration report on Patharghata is a modern catholic mission, and a number of mounds have been reported in its vicinity. One of these mounds is 25 ft high and the whole area is strewn with ancient potsherds, bricks-bats, fragments of terracotta plaques and stone sculptural and architectural pieces. A small mound 50 ft across also near the Catholic mission, shows traces of a small temple with basement walls made of dressed and polished stone blocks. The carvings on the surviving architectural fragments suggest the pala period. A stone lintel piece with a frieze of garland-bearing dwarfs was found lying on the other side of the river. In the same area a mound called the Kasia Bari seems to be important both because of its size high and the number of Brahmanical black-stone images lying under a banyan tree on its top. The mound of Naupukuria is a little away from the mission to its west. It has been called an extensive settlement site. ‘Here extensive remains of stone and bricks walls, foundations, landing stages and probably a workshop for dressed and squared stone blocks are found ruthlessly exposed and mercilessly damaged and removed by brick-hunters, thus revealing some plans of large buildings one called Dhanabhandar potsherds, brickbats, terracotta and worked stone fragments are found all over the ruins. Recovery of some stone images from here mounds are also found in the neighbouring villages, and one of them, called the Uchai mound, perhaps shows the basement of a Buddhist stupa or shrine. This circular mound is almost fully occupied by a solid structure with thick cross-walls, the core being solidly filled with brick-bats.What is significant from the point of view of the present chapter is that in the collection of antiquities kept in the catholic mission house one could see pieces of gadrooned NBP pottery. What is of further interest is that the Dhaka museums shows in its sculpture gallery a female torso which is listed from Patharghata and rendered unmistakably in the kushan style. This seems to be an unpublished specimen. The NBP pieces and this female torso unmistakably establish an early historic antiquity for Patharghata some where below the mass of later structural ruins.

Kantanagar of the Dinajpur

The kantanagar temple is situated about 22 kilometers north from the Dinajpur town at the western side by the Dhepa river. Terracotta plaques has a unique emblem bearing this Noborotno temple in subcontinent architect. There were no terracotta plaques found in bangle at that time. The temple is established on a one meter high stone-platform in square and width build. Every sides of the temple are square length 60'-3" and in square built length 51 feet. Around the temple has 8 feet width veranda. Every veranda has 2 gigantic pillars. There are 3 entrances on biggest pillar and wall on every side. This opening entrance has help of arch like leave in built. The main room of the temple is smaller and its darkness.kantagi’s Idol is situated in this room. There are several small room in the around .The western side of veranda from the north that The shirked stair going upward from the northern part of the western veranda is the way of riding the second story. There are four small rooms at the up stairs. The up stair of the temple that is made as the dol stage is smaller than the down stair. There is no room. At the center there is a fifteen feet high apex. Other than this apex there are also nine more apexes. So it was called the nabaratna temple. In 1897 in an earthquake the apexes were broken down.The archeology department can not repair those for lack of model. It is said that the central apex of the temple was 70 feet high. Mr. Fergusson admired this temple a lot. The most remarkable characteristic of this temple is its terra-cotta plaques. Ramayan, mahavarat and many historical stories are made in pictures with terra-cotta. With this there is also the Bengali social life picture. Every pictures of the terra-cotta was unique.The wall of the temple from top to bottom is furnished with various plaques.The plaques are of very high quality. Earthquakes and various natural disasters harm the temple a lot. But even the plaques are made of mud but are still ok. The famous land leader king Prannath rai started the construction work of this temple before his death and his step son great king Ramnath rai ended the work. The king prannath rai died in 1722.king ramnath rai dead in it is accepted that the construction of this temple was completed in 1752. There was no existence of the kingship of dinajpur in 1452. in 17th century the kingdom was established and king prannath was the second king .

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bhasu Vihar and Bihar

The name Bhasu Vihar was first used by cunningham and since then it has been current in the archaeological literature ,The mortee common name is ‘Vasu Vihar’.The site of the complex is about 3-4 miles to the northwest of mahasthangarh , There are two villages Bihar and Bhasu Vihar- both across the Nagar river which is a branch  of the karaoya which has formed a loop along the whole of the eastern and southern boundaries of these villages .Bhasu Vihar lies in the north while Bihar lies toi its south.Three mound s and a large number of tanks in these two villages . The mound in Bihar is listed as 300' by 200' by 6' . The two mounds in Bhasu Vihar are reported to have measure 60 by 60 by 7 and 800 by 750 by 40. The smaller mound lies to the west of the Bhasu Vihar mound. About he place and the mound. The Nagar was once a much larger river with a river port alled Bihar Bangar nearby . The undated but presumably pala period earthwork which begins in the Pabna area and can be traed intermittently up to the Rangput district also passes through this region. This earthwork is known  Bhimwe Jangal, The larger of the two Bhasi Vihar mound is locally known as Narapatir Dhap. It is a complex of five mounds  , three  large and two small. The ancient occupational remains are said to have extended considerably beyond the limit of the mound proper . The site site is surrounded by a moat-like depression on all sides except for a part of the west but one cannot be sure of the issue. The one reported by cunningham has now been filled up but the tank to the south of the site still exists and is known as Khingrailer Dighi. On the basis of his wide experience of Buddhist sites in Bangladesh, There have a large water tanks are invariably found associated with ancient ruins in Bengal . specially of the Budhist culture , In fact, a large Budhist establishment without a tank of comparable size is almost unheard of in bangladesh .The second mound which lies less than half a male to the west northwest of Bhasu Vihar is known as sannyasir Dhap There is  tank known as sasanker Dighi to the south of the mound. This possibly contains the ruins of a small temple.a monastery named po-shi-po was situated 4 miles to the west of Mahasthangarh and this tallied with the position of Bihar in relation to Mahasthangarh .This brought that it was this name which was related to the chinese pilgrin’s po-shi-po :here the pilgrim found a grand monastery ,remarkable for the size and height of its towers.It was occupied by no less than seven hundred monks,who studied the Mahayana and men famous for their learning flocked here from the eastern districts,At a short distance from the monastery there was a stupa built by asoka , on the site where Buddha had explained his law to the Devas.Near this was a spot where the last four Buddhist had taken exercise and rested.

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.

The main temple at paharpur

The main temple at paharpur stood approximately in the center of its monastic quadrangle and rose to its extant height of 72' in two terraces between the top and the basement An extensive staircase provided access to the two terraces from the north. The ground plan was in the shape of across with angles of projection between the arms. In the two upper terraces there was a circumambulatory walk enclosed by a parapet wall around the monument. The central element in the composition of this temple was a hollow square shaft rising high above the terraces .Projections containing an ante-chamber and a mandapa were added to each of the four faces of the second upper terrace ,leaving out a portion of the whole length of the square at each of the four corners. This outline was cruciform with one projecting angle between the arms of the cross. The circumambulatory walk on this level was made to conform to the outline of this plan which became more marked with the addition of a rectangular projection to each of the four sides in the first upper terrace .The alignment of this terrace was repeated at the basement level and this meant that the angles of projection in the plans of the first terrace and the basement were three each between the arms of the cross, apart from the projection caused by the staircase landing in the middle of the northern arm. There was also an enclosure wall properly aligned with the basement plan with only a slight deviation near the staircase . around the monument. The main shrine of the edifice was located at the top, comprising a square chamber with a circumambulatory passage around it. First, the main sanctuary ought to have been on the same level of the ante-chambers and the mandapas , there is no evidence of entry to this from them. Sarawati thinks that the brick-paved floor was meant to make the foundation of the lofty walls more solid, He believes that so far as the arrangement of the temple goes , the sanctuary could have neither been situated at the top no inside the central square pile. It is quite reasonable to infer that the temple was capped by some sort of superstructure . The arrangement of the superstructure at the lower terraces would appropriately suggest a roof rising in receding tiers over the vaults spanning the different corridors. The square masonry pile in the center , on the analogy of the pagan temple, may be said to have supported a curvilinear Sikhara as the crowning element of this colossal edifice. At pagan the central pile is solidly designed and constructed ,But at Paharpur , probably to reduce the weight of the stupendous building and to guard against resultant sinking , it was left hollow ,though sufficient stability for the accumulating weight as the monument rose up has been ensured in the enormous girth of each to the four walls.