Pakhna Village of Bankura District : The Story of an ancient capital.

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IMG-20180214-WA0007Written by Subham Mukhopadhyay

It’s been long time when Maharaaja Chandravarma carved his own immortal achievement on the smooth surface of the Susuniya hill, with ten words in its entirety-

“Chakraswaminh Dasagrenati sristah

Puskaranadhipati maharaja Shree ShinghaBarmana putrasya

Maharaja Shree ChandraBarmanah kritih.”দ্বিভুজ বিষ্ণু

The script was first decipherd by Professor Nagendranath Basu. Although, later, some other word description have been given by experts. But, of course, these ten words are rarely written in the history of any person or country. History never stops, nor the research of historians. The study stabilized, written in the Gupta Brahmi script in the Sanskrit language duration of the period of the fourth century AD. Chancellor Sunitikum Chattopadhyay said,”The oldest Brahmi inscription in Bengal.” Later, however, the lipi received in Mahasthangarh (now in modern Bangladesh) has been identified as the oldest script of Bengal. However, the Susuniya’s script is famous as the only mountain script of Bengal. Ten words of the scripture indicate a historic capital of ancient Bengal. The king of the kingdom ‘Chakraswami’ is the son of Vishnu Das Maharaj Singhbharma Chandra Barma and the ruler of Pushkaran.

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There was a difference of opinion among the scholars about the current position and identity of this ‘Pushkaran’ mentioned in the script. In 1927, according to the report of K. N. Dixit, people started to look for Pakhnna village on the southern bank of the Damodar river, northeast of Susunia hills is ancient Pushkarna. The reason for his hypothesis was primarily a distortion-one, nameless unity. There is no doubt that the name emerged in the linguistic evolution of Pushkaran. And secondly, there are several mounds and antic thing scattered throughout the village of Pakhna. K. N. Dakshit’s pleasant article attracted the attention of the scholars in today’s Bankura district’s Pakhna village of Barjora police station.

সাতবার ডাঙ্গা পুরাক্ষেত্র।

Bangla Chancellor Suniti kumar Chattopadhyay and Harekrishna Mukherjee came to the village of Pakhna in Bakura during field trials. Suniti kumar Chattopadhyay collected a terrible terracotta statue of ‘Yakshini’ from here. Many people believe that the idol is a symbol of ‘Shunga’ era. He donated the statue to the Ashutosh Museum of Calcutta University. Then the survey was conducted from Ashutosh Museum. Their studies found various printed coins, copper coins, terracotta utensils, terracotta statues etc.

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After this, excavation work started at Pakhna by the Department of Archaeology, Calcutta University. In the first phase from 1996-97 to 1999 and in the second phase from 2001 to 2003, excavation was carried out in Pakhna Ite-Para, Kalyanpur, Birahimpur, Shitalpur, Gargar Danga or Rajgarh, Sat Bar Danga, Bhairab Danga etc. Due to this excavation, there were found colour utensils, bone-made utensils, multiple terracotta dolls, metal and stone materials, multicoloured beads, terracotta spheres used in ancient wells etc. This village is on the banks of Damodar, and due to the infamous flood of Damodar, Pakhna’s archaeological sites have been destroyed. But from what has been found, there is a conception that an uninterrupted and advanced civilization of pre-Mauryo era to post-Gupta era period was hidden under the soil of the Pakhna.

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In Pakhna there were statues of Pal and Sen era found without digging the soil. There are only few statues  left today. Some collections have been collected in the Ashutosh Museum of the University of Calcutta, some have been abandoned in the hands of thieves. In such a remarkable artistic sense, the statue of Vishnu and Jain pilgrims is preserved in the museum.

Let’s give a brief introduction to the statues that are still in Pakhna. An eight-handed statue of Goddess Durga is worshiped in the village temple. The statue is archaeologically very significant. On the face of a gray cast stone, the face of the Durga becomes elegant. Historians decided it as eighth-ninth century. There is only head-part left behind a Vishnu statue in ‘Bisalakshi-Tala’. Although presently eroded, it is said that the idol that was beautiful ornamented earlier. Many monuments in the monastery of Bagdiparara were worshiped. In this one can see a large Jain quadrant. The quarry is commonly rear.  Here pilgrims are sitting in meditation. There is also a ‘Parshwanath’ statue and the lower part of a small Vishnu statue.

অষ্টভুজা দুর্গা (1)

There are several broken statues placed in the Dharmaraj Temple of Pakhanna. Most of them are not known. There is a Parasnath and lion statue. There is an important archaeological heritage in small Shiva temple of Poddar para. Professor Rupendra kumar Chattopadhyay identified this image as the sun, but in reality it is the statue of Buddhist Avalokiteshwar. The lower part of the image is broken. In both of his hand, we can see Lotus. The statue has many ornaments. ‘Pancha-Dhyani-Budha’ on the head, this is the biggest proof of Buddhism. In a nearby house, two small statues of pink stone are worshiped. Quadruple maternal statues, the other two-handed male statue. Many people have identified the second statue as Bhishjhanu. This idol was found in almost all ancient civilizations of Bengal.

 

Buddhism and Hinduism were almost stymied by the influence of Jainism in Bankura. Compared to thousands of Jaina pilgrims and idols, there are very few Hindu statues found there. The number of Buddhist figures is even lower. But there is a field in Pakhana, Bankura where there is a coexistence of Hindu-Buddhist-Jainism, these idols are its symbols. From the pre-Mauryan era to the modern era, the expanse of a civilization of Bengal, from an ancient capital to a modern village, is the result of which the result is a result of a civilization.

Photo courtesy Subham Mukhyopadhyay.

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Post Author: Subham Mukhopadhyay

Subham Mukhopadhyay
Student of Bengali Literature. Member of Team Koulal.

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