Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bara Bazar

Numerous scattered mounds littered with old bricks and other cultural debris cover an area of over 6.44 km. The site is particularly notable for a large number of ancient ponds (about 126) choked with weeds and silt, which provided sweet water to the old settlement in its halcyon days. Among these ruins many stone columns and bases of obliterated Hindu-Buddhist buildings can still be traced. Local people point to a mound which they believe contains the buried remains of the palace of the legendary Sri Ram Raja, the king of Champaknagar or Champa Nagar, who is believed to have been defeated by a certain Gorai Gazi.
An elegant single domed ruined square mosque (6.12m sides) of the Sultanate period with three arched entrances on the east and one each on the north and south sides having curvilinear cornice and a veranda on the east, is located about 4.8 km east of the metal road in Bilat village. The little mosque was beautifully embellished with terracotta floral art on the wall surface. The monument has now been largely renovated.
The name of the old township is believed to have originated from certain bara or twelve obscure Muslim saints who settled here in some remote and unspecified time. But it is likely that its original name was Bada Bazar, that is to say, a large market place, which might have flourished here once upon a time. Some scholars believe that Khan Jahan with his followers temporarily settled here before proceeding to Khalifatabad (Bagerhat) via Murali-Qasba.
Close to the Gorar Mosque and south of a dusty road, there are a couple of low mounds overlooking an old tank; locally known as the site of a Jor Bangla structure. To the farther north Pir Pukur Mound, Hitampur Old Mosque, Galakata Dighi Mound, Sri Ram Rajar Dighi Mound, Sadikpur or Cheragdani Mosque and Pond, Gazi Kalu-Champavati's Grave Mound, Kotali Mosque, Satgachia Gayebana Adina Mosque etc are located. To the southern side too there are many ancient mounds among which Manohar Mosque, Hasil Hasil Mosque, Mithapukuria mound and tanks etc are noteworthy. Among these monuments, the satgachia mosque, Manohar Mosque and Sadikpur Cheragdani Mosque are important pre-Mughal remains and have recently been excavated by the Archaeological Department.
In 1978, while local villagers were excavating a large mound at Satgachia for reclamation of arable land they discovered by chance the remains of a 35-domed pre-Mughal mosque under the mound overlooking a pond known as Adina Pukur. They named it as Gayebana Adina Mosque, or a covered mosque perched on the bank of Adina pond.
The Manohar Mosque in Sadikpur Mauza was probably covered with 35 low domes. Although this relatively more dilapidated monument could not be fully excavated, it seems to have a ground plan similar to the Satgachia Mosque and is probably its contemporary. These two large multi-domed (35 domed) pre-Mughal mosques are the second and third largest of the series of which the first is the imposing shatgumbad mosque.
Another interesting but smaller mosque of about the same period is located in Sadikpur Mauza and is locally known as Cheragdani Mosque. It is a square structure with 6.12m sides and has three arched doorways on the east and one each on the north and the south. As such it was probably roofed over with three squat domes. On the western wall there were three corresponding mihrabs decorated with terracotta floral art. According to an inscription salvaged from here, it was built by a certain Muhammad during the reign of Sultan husain shah in 925 AH/ 1519 AD. Excavations at Bara Bazar has yielded another terracotta Arabic inscription from the Jor Bangla Dighi, dated 800 AH/ 1397 AD, which probably was also fixed over some mosque of that mound.

No comments: