Top 12 Archaeological sites in Bangladesh you must visit
Archaeology is one of the must-see things in Bangladesh. Various sources advocate that there are about 2500 archeological sites in Bangladesh. But researchers have located 452 archaeological sites in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Archeology Directorate works to preserve, discover, and maintain these archaeological websites. Likewise, let’s know approximately a number of the maximum well-known archeological web sites in our country.
To be sure, the foundation of Archeology from the Greek words â€˜Archaiaâ€™ and â€˜Logosâ€™. It means antiquities and knowledge or technology. In general, archeology is the â€˜expertise of antiquitiesâ€™.
Although archeology presently represents the department of science employed in identifying, analyzing, preserving, and supplying material information in a specific way within the lives of historical peoples. The most important career of archeology is records and tradition. The examination of archeology advanced mainly within the eighteenth century. The study of archeology in Bengal began within the second part of the nineteenth century. The archeological journey started in Bengal by identifying and excavating numerous archeological websites of present-day Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Bangladesh is a rustic considerably wealthy in archaeological wealth, in particular of the medieval period both throughout the Muslim and pre-Muslim rules, though most of its far nevertheless unexplored and unknown.
From ancient times the Bengal region has attracted tourists from different parts of the world for various purposes ranging from missionary and business objectives to serving their curiosity. And in modern-day Bangladesh, many of the archaeological sites still attract many local and international visitors who get attracted by the historical and cultural significance of these establishments. So if you are looking for sites to visit in Bangladesh the following ones would definitely make it to the top of your list.
Bangladesh is a country of rich culture and heritage. Lets go through the Famous archaeological sites in Bangladesh:
Year of Establishment : 1685, Location: Mahasthan, Bogra
Mahasthangarh is the largest of the archeological sites in the country. This place has the relics and ruins from the ancient city of Pundranagar, situated some thirteen kilometers away from the Bogra town. At first in 1879, Sir Alexander Cunningham identified the site as the city of Pundranagara. A rectangular plateau of 1500m North-South and 1400m East-West is bordered on its sides by walls measuring 6 meters in height above the river level. There is a grave at one corner of the site of Sultan Mohisawar beside a mosque built by the Moghul ruler Farrukh Siyar. The mosque has been modernized in recent years.
All the sides except the eastern side used to be enclosed by a deep ditch. The traces of the ditch is still visible on those sides. The river Korotoya, flowing in the eastern portion of the site, and the ditch served the function of defense against adversaries at crucial times. There are also several mounds just at some distance away from the fort city. These corroborate the existence of the provincial capital at this site.
This city was most likely established by the Mauryan Empire. This is apparent from the reading of stone inscription written in Brahmi script that mentions Pundanagala.
The timespan of this place existence can be divided into 7 phases in a chronological basis. In the phase one before the Muryan the place had local cultural relics characterized by Northern Black Polished Ceramic ware, Rouletted Ceramics, BRW, stool querns, mud houses and several hearth in huge quantities. It seems that the earliest of the settlers were from 4th Century BC as some radioactive tests have suggested. These people could be from the pre-Mauryan Nanda culture. The phase two is characterized by archaeological relics such as broken tiles that were most likely used for building roofs, brick bats for building mud walls and using in fireplace and well. Red color ceramic ware, bronze mirror and lamps, copper coins were also in use in this time phase. Radioactive dating of these wares place phase two in the Mauryan period.
The latter phases are also characterized by various items of archaeological and historical significance. As the phases turned the structures items and cultures became more complex and rich in construction. Notably, the last phase of the timeline of the site is characterized by the Muslim culture of which the mosque and the tomb stand as evidence.
The city seems to have been built and rebuilt. All the gateway buildings has guardrooms. With many isolated mounds pointing to the existence of suburban localities, the Mahasthangarh site is rich in cultural heritage and archaeological significance. It should definitely be on the top archaeological sites to visit in Bangladesh.
Paharpur is widely considered the most spectacular and magnificent monument in Bangladesh and the second largest single Buddhist monastery south of the Himalayas.
This ancient Buddist vihara located to the north-west of Bangladesh in the district of Naogaon, the heart-land of ancient â€œVarendraâ€. These ruins of the Buddhist monastic complex are considered one of the most spectacular and important pre-Islamic monuments in Bangladesh. A world heritage site, the place was first built during the ruling of the king of Varendri-Magadha in 770AD. This Sompur Bihar is considered as the striking architectural form introduced on a grand scale for the first time in Asia.
3. Shalban Vihara Mainamati:
Another amazing architectural site known for its ancient ruins and buddhist viharas in Mainamati comilla. According to the legends, the Shalban Vihara is believed to have been destroyed by 12th Centuries. The Paharpur-style Buddhist viharas with 115 cells for monks is an outstanding example of master architecture and art work dating back to the 7th century. Mainamati is a great archetectural region in Bangladesh that is worth including in your itinerary.
4. Panam City Sonargaon:
Panam Nagar Sonargaon are considered to be amongst the greatest masterpieces of rich bengal history. During the fifteenth-century Bengal ruler Isa Khan a leader of Baro-Bhuyan this city was built. The architectural brilliance of these buildings amazed the tourist. This panam city became center of touristâ€™s attraction due to its true mastery of the craftsmanship of the establishments of the bygone era. Sonargaon Panam City is just 20km away from Dhaka city And it has very easy access from other districts of Bangladesh.
5. Lalbagh Fort:
Year of Establishment : 1678, Location: Old Dhaka, Bangladesh
Lalbagh fort is one of the most important Mughal monuments in Dhaka Bangladesh. The term â€˜LalBaghâ€™, meaning â€˜tulip gardenâ€™ in Farsi, also suggests this complex to be more like a garden or entertainment area. And â€˜Kellaâ€™ meaning â€˜Fortâ€™ which is a defensive structure. The construction of the Lalbagh fort was initiated by Prince Azam in 1678. and later on Shaishta Khan continued with the construction but in 1688 the construction work has been closed to end for unknown reason. The fort covers around 18 acres of land which is located nearby the river of Buriganga. there are many things in the complex. It has a mysterious secret tunnel in original archietect. Lalbagh Fort also features, Diwan-I-Aam & Hammam, Tomb of Pari Bibi, The Mosque, Residence of the Governor Rooftop Mughal garden & The South Gate. Itâ€™s best to visit the Fort from October to March as the weather is pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing.
6. Sixty Dome Mosque:
Year of Establishment : 1442, Location: Bagerhat, Khulna
The sixty dome mosque is one of the most prominent Islamic architectural establishment in the Indian subcontinent. This is the biggest Sultanate mosques in Bangladesh. It was built by Ulugh Khan Jahan, the conqueror of the southern portion of Bengal and later renamed this area as Khalifatabad. Although the mosque felt into decay since the time of Khan Jahanâ€™s death in 1459, renovation took place during the time of British administration in subcontinent. Later on Bangladeshâ€™s Archaeology Department also repaired many parts of the mosque. Some part of the mosque is also supposed to have been used for administrative purposes and used by caliphs or governors.
The mosque is situated there miles away from the present day Bagerhar town. Originally it was surrounded by a wall and is now beside the east bank of Ghoradighi. The gateway on the East side of the mosque, with archways of 2.44m span, is also prominent in the site.
Although the mosque is called Sixty Dome Mosque (Shatgombuj Mosque), the mosque has a total of eighty one domesâ€”77 on the roof and 4 on the corner towers.
The main structure of the mosque is built of bricks and is rectangular in shape. The inside of the mosque can be entered through its eleven gateways on the east and seven gateways on north and south walls respectively. There are seven aisles and eleven bays inside the mosque along with ten Mihrabs on the west wall. The central Mihrab is bigger than the Miharbs on its side. The cornices and battlement of the mosque is curved in shape. The four towers on the four corners of the mosque are huge in shape and tapers off to the top. The front towers has spiral staircases inside them.
The central nave of the mosque is the most impressive. There are seven oblong bays that divided the interior of the mosque into two equal portion. And the side wings have square bays. The roof of the mosque is built of 10 rows of pillars with 6 pillars in each row. Among the pillars, six are bigger compared to the others.
The mosque was mostly decorated with terracotta and bricks. Much of the ornamentation is still visible even after the decay with the passage of time. There are also designs of lotus flowers in loops, palm trees, overlapping squares with rosette and a triangular pediment.
Overall the mosque gives a spectacular view of the most magnificent creation by Khan Jahan and should make it your list of sites to visit while in Bangladesh.
7. Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat:
Bagerhat, a district from Khulna divison was blessed by the Turkish general Ulugh khan jahan in the 15th Century. Bagerhat infrastructure reveals magnificent rich culture, archietecture and an exceptional number of mosques and early Islamic monuments. This Mosque city represents the evidence of medieval city. This magnificent city include 360 mosques, public building, mausoleums, bridges constructed using baked brick. Sixty Dome Mosque is one of the largest and famous mosque which represents the sultanate periodâ€™s establishment. Tomb of Khan Jahan Ali, is an another example of amazing architecture as well as calligraphic parlance from that period.
8. Kantaji’s Temple:
Year of Establishment : 1722 CE, Location of Kantajew Temple: Dinajpur
Kantaji’s temple is situated some 12 kilometers north of Dinajpur town. It is bide of bricks and is located in Kantanagar. It is a magnificent piece of terracotta design. The Nine-spired Hindu temple has garnered a lot of attention among the tourists in Bangladesh.
The construction of the temple was started by Maharaja Prannath in 1722. It is pyramidal in shape. After the earthquake of 1897 the temple was later on restored by Maharaja Girijanath. But the spires were lost in the event.
The temple is open from all sides by arch openings through which the devotees could see the deity inside. The pyramidal shape is defined by the three receding structures on top of each other. A small worn out temple is situated at a distance of 100 yards from the main temple.
There is a square cell on which the main fabric of the temples pivots around. It is almost 15.24 meters in height. The temple has four rectangular space around the prayer chamber at the centre. The cornices of the ground floor are curved in shape and drops at the centre. The multi-cusped arched entrances are separated from each other by ornate brick-pillars.
All the walls of the temple are rich in terracotta design featuring both floral and figurine designs. Many Hindu mythical stories are also depicted in the designs. It is astonishing that the whole of the temple walls pulsates with such amazingly ornate design of unbroken succession. The intricacy of the design surpasses any other terracotta designs of this kind in Bengal. Many hunting scenes depicted with amazing precision carving of animal figures is also a treat to the eye. It is to be mentioned that the temple has observed noticeable restraint in depicting erotic scenes, unlike the terracotta temple of Orissa or South-India.
The overall design of the temple and its astonishing terracotta decoration imbues it with a vitality that is felt when seem in context of the silt-laden soil of Bangladesh. The temple is an example of sophisticated art and architectural mastery and is bound to be considered as one of the treasured archaeological and cultural site. You should definitely consider putting this in your sites to visit in Bangladesh.
Year of Establishment : 1450, Location: Chapai Nawabganj, Rajshahi
Gauá¸a was the capital city of Bengal during 1450 AD to 1565 AD. It was one of the largest cities of the Indian region back then. It is situated in between the river Ganges and Mahananda. Located south of the Malda town of present day, the city stretched to nearly 20 miles and 4 miles in length and width respectively.
The city had its market, bridges, canals and other structures. Archaeologist found the remains of the Kotwali gate of the city. The city had two roads running beside the river. It also had canals that still are in sight. Remains were also found of many city structures in the 20 kilometer length.
Mr. Creighton discovered the remains of the principal gate of the city called Dakhil Darwza. A little distance from the Dakhil Darwaza a canal used to flow under another gate.
A palace and a citadel was constructed in the city. The first compartment on the north was the Darbar. In north the second compartment was the living quarter of the Sultan. Many poets described the beauties of these places. The wall of the citadel had two gates in the east side. Near the Adam Rasul building there were a number of pavilions of which the ruins still remains. Further north away from the citadel there is a tower that was probably used as a watch tower. From the commercial center of the city some Buddhist and Hindi icons have been found.
It is thought that the city was dense populated. There are also many number of mosques. As the river shifted it course away from Gaur, the city gradually went into decline. Overall the city of gaur is significant for its historical importance as a medieval city of Indian subcontinent. The present day area of the ruins should definitely make it to your list of archeological sites to visit while in Bangladesh.
Year of Establishment : 1823, Location: Puthia, Rajshahi
Puthia is situated in Rajshahi district of Bangladesh. The zamindari establishment in Puthia was constructed in the seventeenth century by the Mughals. It is one of the oldest estates in the region. Of the total share of the estate, the eldest son of Nilambar (who was given the title Raja by the Moghul Emperor Jahangir) received 5.5 anna and the others received 3.5 anna each. And in this measure the estate was divided in 1744. Formally, the estate was abolished later on by the then East Pakistan administration under the removal of Zamindari system.
The most prominent structure in the estate is the Rajbari. It is two storied, and there is a four-storied â€˜dol monchoâ€™ in front of it. The central part of the Rajbari has a grand portal of about 15.24 meters wide. The long veranda and balcony rood added light grandeur to the Rajbari. The central bay and parapet is well decorated with floral designs. The long verandahs are constructed with Corinthian columns. The grand palace that is now used as a Degree College was established by Hemantakumeri Debi in 1895 AD.
The total estate has a moat inside it and has terracotta designed sculpture and temples. Pancharatna Govinda Temple, Jagaddhatri Temple, Shiva Temple at the entrance are the noticeable temples in the estate. Notably the Shiva Temple is 19.81m square building and was built by Rani Bhuban Mohini. The Puthia palace is now in a state of decay as the passing of time as taken its toll on it.
Overall the Puthia estate is a reminder of the Zamindari past of this region and has some noticeable architectural items that is considered significant. It can definitely make it to your list of sites to visit in Bangladesh.
11. Kusumba Mosque:
Year of Establishment: 1558-59 AD, Location: Naogaon
The Kusumba mosque,the Black Gem of Bengal is an amazing establishment of example of the integration of Badshah-ka Takth. The mosque is widely considered as one of the magnificent ancient monument of Bangladesh in Manda upazila at Naogaon. It was constructed with a Bengal style. At the eastern central entrance, inscription mentioned the time period of construction of the mosque to 966 AH(1558-59 AD). The archeitectural design of this mosque amazed the tourist. It becomes a great attraction for tourists from local & foreigner. Kushumba situated beside the Atrai River which makes it very amazing place too.
12. Ahsan Monjil:
Year of Establishment: 1859 AD, Location: Old Dhaka
Ahsan Monjil is located on the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was built for using it as residence and administrative space for the nawabs of Dhaka. It is now a museum. During the time of the Mughals, Ahsan Monjil was used as the Rang Mahal of Sheikh Enayetullah. The construction of the palace commenced on 1859 and was finished in 1872. Abdul Ghani named the palace Ahsan Manjil.
Ahsan Monjil is one of the most important architectural sites in Bangladesh. The palace is established on a 1 meter raised platform. It is two storied palace measuring 125.4m in length and 28.7 meters in breadth. In the north and south side of the palace there are porticos. From the southern portico, a wide stairway running through the front garden is stretched upto the bank of the river. The verandas of the palace has semicircular arches above them. The floor is built with marble.
White, green, and yellow ceramics are used to construct the floor of many important room of the palace including the dining room. There are spacious Jalshagor and square rooms in the west. A gigantic Darbar hall is situated in the western side. Beautiful wooden staircase is attached with the room under the main dome. Wooden ceilings are designed with intricate geometric shapes.
Ahsan Manjil also placed significant part in seeing many political developments in the region. Notably, Nawab Salimullah’s political activities was directed from this place. The palace was used as the organizing center for All India Muslim League. Overall, Ahsan Manjil is a place of significant architectural and historical significance to Bangladesh and should definitely be on your sites to visit in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh offers some of the most interesting archaeological and architectural sites in Indian subcontinent. With beautiful designs and rich history, these sites stand as testimony to the times gone by. They will certainly satiate your thirst for coming in contact with sites of great cultural and archaeological significance. The description of the sites mentioned in this write-up will can definitely serve as the starting spot for you to arrange your visit and further research.