Archaeological dig begins in Raja Virat

OUR CORRESPONDENT | Wednesday, 7 February 2024

GAIBANDHA, Feb 06: The Department of Archeology has recently started an archaeological excavation for the first time in Raja Virat area of Gobindganj upazila of Gaibandha district.
An eight-member archeological team from Rajshahi and Rangpur region believes that some structures of ancient and middle ages may be discovered during the excavation.
Nahid Sultana, regional director of the Rajshahi and Rangpur division at the Directorate of Archeology, was heading the excavation team.
She said that the excavation team found a large piece of infrastructure. So far, fragments of terracotta, terracotta slabs, decorated bricks (usually used in the decoration of religious shrines) and foundation stone pillars have been found here.
At present, the size of the mound is 50 metres by 35 metres and 4 metres high, says the excavation team.
However, it was not possible to say exactly which period the artifacts belonged to and who lived here or whose kingdom it was unless the excavation was completed on a large scale, said Nahid Sultana.
According to legend, there was an ancient fort city here. For the security of which there was a high wall and outside the wall was wide and deep.
However, the current excavation team has so far found no trace of the ancient fort city.
However, it is believed that there were two or three more temples connecting roads with the main infrastructure which is now almost destroyed.
Khanja MA Qayyum, a local researcher who has studied the mound of Virat Raja for 40 years, wrote in his notebook that Virat Raja was known as Matsya Raja in all India. He dug 999 ponds for fish farming in this region.
It is known from 'Puranik Dictionary compiled by Sudhir Chandra Sarkar' - "Virata King was as rich as King Virata Raja Kuba of the Matsa country. His 'cow-dhon' was not comparable.
When the Pandavas completed their twelfth year during their forest stay with Draupadi, they disguised themselves in Virat's royal court during one year of unknown residence. He went by a pseudonym.
Rakhal Raj Bandyopadhyay, in a report in 1925-26, mentioned that even around 1905, this place was covered with forest. A few years ago, Santals cleared and built houses here. The site has already suffered a lot of damage.
However, the regional director also said that efforts will be taken to preserve the place by carrying out excavation work on a large scale, and at the same time, the correct history will be highlighted and it will be opened for visitors.

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