Mahasthangarh, an urban archaeological site.

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  • Post last modified:October 18, 2020

One of the earliest urban archaeological sites discovered in Bangladesh is Mahasthangarh which is situated in the villagr mahasthan in shibganj thana of bogra containing the the remains of an ancient city which was called Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura in the territory of pundravardhana. A limestone slab bears six lines in prakrit in brahmi script which records land grant discovered in 1931, dates Mahasthangarh to at least the 3rd century BC. Under the maurya empire the Mahasthangarh was one of the important city and the fortified area was in use until the 8th century AD.

Mahasthangarh is standing on the red soil of the barind tract, slightly elevated within the largely alluvium area. The elevation of 15 to 25 metres above the surrounding areas makes it a relatively flood free physiographic unit. Mahasthangarh is one of the highest areas in Bangladesh. The land in the region is almost 36 metres above sea level.

Mahasthangarh another name of Pundranagar was the ancient capital of Pundravardhana which locates 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Bograon the Bogra-Rangpur highway, with a feeder road (running along the eastern side of the ramparts of the citadel for 1.5 km) leading to Jahajghata and site museum.

Nowadays It’s become easy to travel having available buses for Bogra from Dhaka and which takes 4½ hours for the journey via Bangabandhu Jamuna bridge across the Jamuna river. From there another buses are available from Bogra to Mahasthangarh. Rickshaws are available for local movement. Hired transport is available at Dhaka/ Bogra. Accommodation is available at Bogra. If you arr travelling in a hired car, you can return to Dhaka the same day, if you Don’t have a plan to visit Somapura Mahavira  at Paharpur in the district of  Naogaon and other places, or engage/stay or in a detailed study.

The meaning of the word Mahasthan is a place having excellent sanctity which was first mentioned in a Sanskrit text of the 13th century entitled Vallalcharita and garh means fort. Mahasthan was also mentioned in an anonymous text karatoya mahatmya, circumstantially placed in 12th–13th century. The same text also mentions two more names to mean the same place – Pundrakshetra, land of the Pundras, and Pundranagara, city of the Pundras.

In 1685, an administrative decree mentioned the place as Mastangarh, a mixture of Sanskrit and Persian meaning fortified place of an auspicious personage. Subsequent discoveries have confirmed that the earlier name was Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura, and that the present name of Mahasthangarh is of later origin. . In 1928–29 under the guidance of K.N.Dikshit of the Archaeological Survey of India, Systematic archaeological excavation of Mahasthangarh had been first started. Mahasthangarh now is considered as a historical tourist place to visit.

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