January 7, 2015

1404 BANGLADESH - Mahansthangarh and its Environs (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)


Located 11km north of Bogra, Mahasthangarh, the ancient capital of Pundravardhana, home of the Pundra, a group of people not speaking languages of the Indo-European family, is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in Bangladesh. Mahasthan means a place that has excellent sanctity and garh means fort. A limestone slab bearing six lines in Prakrit in Brahmi script, discovered in 1931, dates Mahasthangarh to at least the 3rd century BC, and the fortified area was in use till the 18th century AD. The site is protected by the Karatoya River (now only a small stream) on the west and a deep moat on the south, west and part of the north.

Till the 1920s, when excavations started, the inside of the citadel was higher than the surrounding areas by over 4m and was dotted with several straggling elevated pieces of land. The rampart looked like a jungle clad mud rampart with forced openings at several points. The rampart was 11-13m higher than the surrounding area. At present there are several mounds and structural vestiges inside the fortifications. Besides the fortified area, there are around a hundred mounds spread over an area with a radius of 9km.

Systematic archaeological excavation of Mahasthangarh was first started in 1928–29 under the guidance of K.N.Dikshit of the Archaeological Survey of India. The areas around Jahajghata, Munir Ghon and Bairagir Bhita were explored. Excavation was resumed in 1934-1936 at Bairagir Bhita and Govinda Bhita. Excavation was carried out in 1960s around the Mazhar, Parasuramer Prasad, Mankalir Dhap, Jiat Kunda and in a part of the northern rampart. In the next phase excavation was carried out sporadically in parts of the east and north ramparts but the final report is yet to be published. In the period 1992–98 excavation was conducted in the area lying between Bairagir Bhita and the gateway exposed in 1991 as a Bangla-Franco joint venture, which is now in its second phase with excavation around the mazhar in the western side of the citadel.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Industry, issued on December 15, 1979. About the following two I don't know anything. The last stamp is part of the series Save Tiger, designed by Anowar Hossain and issued on July 30, 2013.

References
Mahasthangarh - Wikipedia
Mahansthangarh and its Environs - Wikipedia

Sender: Sumanto 
Sent from ??? (??? / Bangfladesh), on 18.08.2014

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