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Bangarh

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Bangarh

Devkot (Bengali: দেবকোট) (also known as Kotivarsha, Devikota, Devakota or Diw-kot) was an ancient city which was the administrative centre of Kotivarsha Vishaya (territorial division), itself part of the wider administrative unit of Pundravardhana Bhukti, which had Mahasthangarh as its capital[1] in the period of Chandras, Varmans and Senas. The earliest mentions about the Kotivarsha town are found in the Vayu Purana (XXIII,209) and the Brihat Samhita (XI,II). Lexicographers, Hemchandra (the Abhidhanachintamani IV,977) and Purushottama (in his Trikandashesha) have mentioned the city by several names – Uma(Usha?)vana, Banapura, and Shonitapura. Sandhyakara Nandi in his Ramacharita described at length about the temples and the lakes of the city.[2] The ruins of the city are found in Bangarh village, about 45 km south of Balurghat town, in Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal state in eastern India. It has variously thought of as part of Pundravardhana or Rarha regions.[3] There was a Brahmin densities at Devikota.[4]

Afghan rule was first established in Bengal in 1204 by Bakhtiyar Khilji. The kingdom was called Lakhnawati or Lakhnauti. The capital was located sometimes at Lakhnawati and sometimes at Devkot. Bkahtiyar Khilji died at Devkot in 1205-06, possibly murdered by Ali Mardan, who was governor of Naran-Koh.[5]

Excavations at Bangarh

The earliest excavations at Bangarh was carried out by a team led by K.G. Goswami during 1938-41. Located on the bank of the Punarbhaba, the excavated site reflects its urban character. The site has its core in the form of a citadel surrounded by mud ramparts (area about 25 hectares) which dates from the earliest phase of the site.It is said and believed to be most haunted place in India, there have been reports of numerous paranormal activities in the area and for that reason entry in Bangarh is restricted after sunset and before sunrise. The earliest phase remains uncertain, as the excavations could not reach the natural soil.[1] The citadel area revealed five cultural phases dating from the time of the Mauryas to the medieval period. The initial phase (the Mauryan period) indicates that the city had a modest beginning in which it had probably a mud rampart wall. It was only in the following phase (the Kushana period, 200 BCE - 300 CE) a brick built wide rampart wall is found with drains, cesspits and residential buildings made of burnt bricks of a very large size, showing distinct signs of prosperity and burgeoning urbanism. The excavated materials of the Gupta period are not comparable with the richness and diversity of those belonging to Kushana cultural phase. Though the late Gupta phase of Bangarh is marked by decadence, particularly in terms of building activities, the Pala period (mid 8th century -12th century), in sharp contrast, indicates a picture of efflorescence. Rampart walls, compound walls, residential quarters, temples with ambulatory path and its enclosing walls, damp proof granaries, bathrooms, drains and ring wells suggest a prosperous condition of the city.[6]

References

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