Saturday, February 15, 2014

Two ancient temples unearthed at Bhitargarh, Panchagarh

An excavation have been going on in the “Fort City” at Bhitargarh, Durgonagar in the Panchagarh district of Bangladesh. This year’s excavation has unearthed the remains of two ancient temples from the 8th century AD.  However, excavation of the full structure of these two temples is likely to take two more months. The site is 16 KM from Panchagarh.
A team led by archeologist Professor Shahnaz Hosne Jahan of University of Liberal Arts (ULAB) discovered these temples. Excavation at this site started five years ago, in January, 2009.
One temple was discovered at Khalpara area, just outside of the second boundary wall of the ancient city and is thought to be a monastery. The upper portion of this 9 metre long and 9 metre wide temple, along with the east portion have been destroyed.  The other temple is situated at Dhiboridanga area, outside the second boundary wall and by a moat. This one is 25 metre long and 20 metre wide. Construction style of these two structures is different from the previous ones because stones were also used as construction material beside bricks. However, no artifact has been discovered yet from the on-going excavation works.

Photo and News Courtesy : The Daily Prothom Alo (26.01.2014)

Professor Shahnaz Hosne Jahan, thinks that these temple ruins are from the sovereign reign of “Fort City” of 6th or 7th century AD. This “Fort City” (locally known as “Durgo Nagar”) was part of an important ancient trade centre and route. The city conducted business with faraway countries such as Sikim, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Bihar, West Bengal and Pundrabardhan by land and water ways. The artifacts discovered in this “Fort City” are different from those found in Assam, Kuchbihar, Moinamoti, Paharpur and Mahasthangarh. The city was encompassed by four walls. The two outer walls are made of soil and have moats around them. The inner two walls are made of bricks.  Full excavation of this Fort City in Bhitargarh will take a long time even if resources can be mobilized.
The structural architecture of these two temples points to their being part of a bigger monastery, Professor Jahan said. The excavation in this area started in 2009, and 8 archeological sites including Stupas and Temples have been discovered so far. The previously discovered Stupa and Temple in this area are thought to be around 1, 400/1, 500 years old.

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