An ancient relic chamber has been discovered at Nateshwar village in Munshiganj district’s Tongibari upazila.
Two large 180 square-metre octagonal mounds, a 17-metre protective wall and carved bricks were also found there. State Minister for Culture KM Khalid imparted the information as the chief guest at a press conference in Nateshwar village in the upazila’s Abdullahpur at 11:30am yesterday.
Reading the press release signed by Dr Nooh-ul-Alam Lenin, director of archaeological excavations and research in the Bikrampur region, and Dr Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, director of research, the state minister said the earlier discovery of Nateshwar Deul at the level of the second civilisation (950-1223 AD) and the contents of the discovery clearly indicate that in the 10-11th century, there was a large and rich mound complex at Nateshwar archaeological site, which is the first in Bangladesh.
Among last year’s discoveries, there was a large, aesthetic central octagonal mound of 25.2 square metres. It is surrounded by four mound-halls of 18 square metres. In each hall there are four mounds of 2.5 square metres.
A special architectural “relic chamber” at the centre of the octagonal mound is a rare and significant discovery. Belongings of Gautama Buddha and his important disciples were kept here, said the researchers in the press release.
The upper part of this relic chamber is round and the lower part is quadrangular. This is the first such discovery in Bangladesh.
The circular part of the relic chamber symbolises zero, or kuu, a core tenet of Buddhist philosophy. The quadrangular part symbolises the four noble truths of Buddhism.
Earlier, parts of the protective brick wall were found, but the details of the structure were not yet clear. The recent discovery clarifies that the protective wall was all over the complex, which is another first in Bangladesh’s archaeological discoveries.
This time, a complete brick design on the outer part of the protective wall has been discovered in its correct position.
Designed bricks have been used instead of terracotta plaques to decorate the walls of the complex in Atish’s birthplace, said the press release. These discoveries will open new horizons for archaeological research.
Prior to the press conference, the state minister visited Raghurampur and Nateshwar archaeological sites in Munshiganj. He saw the antiquities found during the five-month excavation. The museum of Bikrampur Buddhist monastery was inaugurated during his visit as well.
Department of Archaeology Director General Dr Md Ataur Rahman; Munshiganj Deputy Commissioner Moniruzzaman Talukder; Munshiganj Superintendent of Police Abdul Momen as well as Dr Nooh-ul-Alam Lenin and Dr Sufi Mustafizur Rahman were present at the programme, among others.