ULAB team uncovers 1500 year old Buddhist temple Panchagarh.
History Revealed from Beneath the Soil -
An archeological site approximately 1500 years old has been discovered in Panchagarh by a ULAB team working under the guidance of ULAB Associate Professor and archeologist Dr. Shahnaj Husne Jahan. The site consists of a monument and a temple which was built to commemorate the memory of Buddhist leaders. The site is located in the Bhitargarh area in Amarkhana union of Sadar upazilla which is 16 k.m south from Panchagarh town. With the assistance of the students of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh studying under the course “Experiencing the Past,” the workers have recovered the part of the monument and the temple. The full structure of the monument and the temple is expected to be excavated by the next March.
During the excavation work, Custodian of Rangpur Taj Hat Museum Mr. Jahurul Haque was present as the representative of the Archeological Department of Bangladesh. Mr. Haq said, “Thirty four students of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh have discovered the site after conducting archeological survey and excavation from Jan 10 this year.” Observing the structure of the monument and the temple, it is estimated that the structure was built in seventh century.
Dr. Shanaj Jahan said, “Seeing the type of the structure it seems like a place for religious worship. Although Bhitargarh has many archeological values, it is yet to be declared as the heritage site.” She asked the government to declare Bhitargarh as an heritage site.
Dr. Shanaj Jahan also said, “Established in the sixth or seventh century, Bhitargarh fort city was a sovereign administration. Built on important trade routes, the fort city had trade link with Tibet, Bhutan, China as well as with West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and Punhdrabardhan of India. The samples of this site are not similar to the various samples found in other archeological sites like Kuchbihar, Moynamoti, Paharpur, and Mohasthangar. The city was well protected by four walls. Among the walls two outer walls were made by soil. In the front it has two trenches. The inner walls were made by bricks.”
Professor Sufi Mostafizur Rahman of Archeology Department of Jahangirnagar University has said to Prothom Alo “The Bhitargarh archeological site could be the biggest fort city in Bangladesh. Even it may prove to be the biggest fort city of this subcontinent.” Mr. Rahman belives that through more archeological research it will be possible to know more about the Bhitargarh’s history of defense, trade and economy.
The excavation work started in Jan, 2009. The digging work took place over several times. During the digging, twelve archeological sites have been discovered including monuments and temples. The last digging work resumed on Jan 10, 2010.
Last Tuesday a discussion meeting was arranged in front of local Maharaja Pond on the occasion of presentation of the primary report of the excavation work. Dr. Shanaj Jahan gave a speech on the archeological values and the importance of preservation of the site. She asked for the assistance of the local people and the local administration to preserve this precious archeological site.
Originally published in Prothom Alo, February 3, 2010. Click here for original article. Translated from the Bangla by Javed Ibne Hossain.