Thursday, December 5, 2013

Excavation in East Pakistan

If u remember a country named East Pakistan, you would not have forgotten Mainamati. "East Pakistan is a fascinating country. Though lacking in some of the physical aspects of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, it has a unique charm of its own." Says a booklet on Mainamati published by Department of Archaeology in Pakistan. Well, well, there is not any intention of creating suspense. East Pakistan is what today known as Bangladesh.
The sites mostly found in Mainamati are mostly Buddhist. The evidences indicated that the importance of Mainamati as the nerve-centre of South-East Bengal remained undiminished till the coming of the Muslims at the end of the twelfth century. During the excavations, various things were found. The ensemble of evidence from the copper plates, terracotta sealings, inscribed potshreds, gold and silver coins, bronze images, stone sculptures, terracotta plaques and other various objects indicate that the excavated monuments on the Mainamati hills belonged to a period between 7th nad 12th centuries A.C. The three main sites were: Salban Vihara, Kotila Mura and Charpatra Mura.
The booklet was published in 1963.Just have a look upon various things.

This map of East Pakistan indicates various archaeological sites.

 This is a monastery cell at Salban Vihara.

 These are the terracotta plaques found which clearly depicts Goddesses.

And these are the stupas at Kotila Mura. Excavation started here in 1956. There are three principal stupas here which perhaps represent the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Three hoards of 227 gold and silver coins were found in the earthen pots at Salban Vihara. However, no copper coin was found. 

The inscribed copper plate was the most important found here.

These are the terracotta plaques at the basement wall of Central shrine at Salban Vihara. These plaques provide an interesting study of the popular folk-art of Bangal. Animals like lion, elephant, wild boar, monkey etc can be seen here. 

A large quantity of pottery was found from here. This is some of the household potteries. 

Many of the excavated objects have been put in the Mainamati site museum. But tourism and Bangladesh makes a stark contrast. With Bangladeshis encroaching the Indian Border on and off, hardly is Bangladesh considered a tourism destination. Till then, this is a photo journey of the place.  

(images courtsey: Mainamati, Department of Archaeology, Govt. of Pakistan) 

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