Monday, March 24, 2008

Structure with artefacts found below Paharpur site temple

Archaeologists have found another ancient brick-built structure with floor and artefacts under the basement of the main temple at world heritage site Paharpur.

Earlier, two brick-built structures of Gupta dynasty were found during an excavation, according to archaeologists of the Department of Archaeology.

Dr Md Shafiqul Alam, director, Department of Archaeology, said the recently excavated structures were built in pre-Pal period.

"Most probably the structure of temple was built by followers of Jain religion," Alam added.

Nahid Sultana, custodian, Rabindra Kacharibari, Sirajganj and member of the excavation team, said the 2.1-metre width brick-built structure crossed the basement of the main temple built by King Dharmapala in the eighth centaury.

The structure was found in the northeast corner of more than 1,200 years old main temple "Somapura Maha Vihara", which is locally known as Paharpur Monastery.

Md Mahabub-ul-Alam, assistant custodian, Paharpur Museum and excavation team member, said a huge number of potsherds have been found under the monastic cell no-21 in the northeast corner of the Vihara.

Probably, these were used over 1,500 years ago, said Mahabub, adding that it is likely to be the first habitation over the virgin soil in this area.

World famous archaeologist Dr KN Dikshit believes there was a Jain monastery at Paharpur but no traces have survived.

Archaeologists of the archaeology department believe the recently discovered structure was the part of the Jain temple.

There has so far been no structural existence of Jain temples in Bangladesh. But Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang saw several Jain structures during his visit to Pundranagar in Bogra and adjacent areas in 639-645 AD, said Mahabub.

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