'Buddhist monastery' wall unearthed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 14, 2012

'Buddhist monastery' wall unearthed

A site thought to contain a 'Buddhist Vihara' (monastery) at Raghurampur area in Munshiganj sadar upazila. Jahangirnagar University archaeological department in cooperation with Agrosor Bikrampur discovered the site after days of excavation and announced the finding yesterday. Photo: Courtesy

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Archaeological researchers yesterday announced unearthing a wall thought to be of a “Buddhist Vihara” (a monastery constructed during Buddhist rule from approximately the 8th to 11th century) in Raghurampur area in sadar upazila of Munshiganj.
“We found a wall, 2.5 meters in width and around 3 feet below the surface. We think it is part of a Buddhist Vihara here,” said Prof Dr Sufi Mustafizur Rahman of archeology department of Jahangirnagar University.
So far 30 metres of the wall has been unearthed. “We found three protruding portions from the wall, suggesting the presence of three rooms,” he said.
The site is next to the birthplace of Atisa Dipankara Shrijnana (980-1054), a renowned Buddhist monk and scholar, in the adjoining village of Vazrajogini.
“This means that the discovery will introduce a new dimension to the dignity and historical importance of the birthplace of Atisa and be a significant achievement for the nation,” he said.
Dr Mustafizur was addressing a programme organised at Munshiganj Jubo Unnayan Proshikkon Kendra in Vanga area of the upazila marking a suspension in their excavations till next winter.
Teachers and students of the department, assisted by Agrosor Bikrampur, a social organisation, conducted the excavation and research there under a project, “Archaeological research and excavation in Bikrampur region”.
The excavations were carried out in two phases, from April to June last year and from January 7, 2012 to yesterday.
A total 15 artifacts were presented yesterday, including an around 10-foot by 3-foot wooden boat (thought to be the oldest one unearthed in the country), a 10-inch black stone statute of a woman, a terracotta candle stand and some stone pieces bearing architectural features.
Addressing the programme as the chief guest, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit said, “The discovery of a new Buddhist Vihara here will invite a new era to our history and heritage.”
He said he plans to set up a new museum close by after the excavations end.
The programme attendees demanded allocation of more funds to conduct research in the region and changing the name of Munshiganj to its former Bikrampur.

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