Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mahasthangarh: Earliest History of Bengal

Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site in Bangladesh. It dates back to 700 BCE and was the ancient capital of the Pundra Kingdom. The extensive city ruins of Mahasthan spreading along the western bank of the river karatoya. It is situated about 12 km north of the Borga town. It is consists of a massive fortified oblong enclosure measuring 5000 feet long and 4500 feet broad and rises to an average heights 15 feet from surrounding crop field. On its south west and part of north, it appears to have been originally encircled by a deep moat, while river karatoya guarded its eastern and part of northern flanks. Beyond the fortified citadel, other ancient ruins and mounds fan out within a radius of about 5 miles in a semicircle which testify to the existence of extensive suburbs. It was first describe by Buchanan Hamilton in 1808 and later by O, Donell, Beverage, A Cunningham.From literary source know that Sir A Cunningham visited this place in 1879.A famous Chinese Pilgrim Yuang Chwang who visited Pundra Vardana between 638   to 645 A.D.

The Present name of Mahastan literary means simply great Place. It is also believe some people that its correct name is Mahasnan or great Bathing place. According to local muslim the place is called Mahasthangarh which merely echo the story of Shah Sultan Balkhi Mahesawar, the first muslim saint who occupied the place by subverting the last hindu king Parsuram and whose alleged tomb occupies a part of the south eastern corner of the citadel on a high mound. The name Mahasthan was first occurs in a sanad dated 1096.

Other Archaeological Remains of the Mahasthangarh:
It is the perimeter of the citadel where isolated mounds intervened by comparatively low grounds. It is covering the entire eastern half of the area each bearing a local name such as;
  • Khodar Pathar mound
  • Mankalir Kunda,
  • Jiyat Kunda (The well of Life)
  • Parasuram’s Place and Jiyat Kunda,
  • Bairagai Bhita,
  • Munir Ghon and
  • Narasingher Dhap

Excavation and Artifacts:
The first excavation was conducted by the department of Archaeology under the guidance of Mr. K.N.Dikshit at Mahasthan in 1928-29. A large collection of various antiquities through this excavation as follows,
  • Huge collection of Potery
    Terracotta plaque
  • Ornamental bricks
  • Stone objects
  • Beads and buttons of semi precious
  • Iron, bronze and copper objects
  • Ornaments
  • A large collection of sling ball
  • Terracotta Missiles and Kauris
  • Punch-marked and cast coins (circular and oblong). These coins bear’s symbols on either side such as swastika, wheel, cross, deer, elephant, bull and plant design with in a railing.
  • A limestone tablet from Mahsthan in 1931 bearing six lines emperor Asokan Brahmi inscription about famine of Ancient Pundra Nagar.

Finally we may conclude the earlier history and Pre history of Mahasthangarh reveals that people of that place received royal patronage from some important ruling dynasties like Emperor Asokan, great the Maurya, Pala rulers, and the Sena Kings. The researchers, scholars and archeologist deeply studied in Mahasthangarh artifacts, they seem that it was significant civilization where dawn in wide ranges. Archaeologists of a French excavation team started excavation at Mahsthangarh during a Bangladesh-France joint excavation at Mahasthangarh.