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4.2 Literary Evidence

Secular Buildings/Establishments

The Ramcaritam of Sandhyakaranandi

(The kings)- who were the occupants of well decorated places inside the lofty palaces of cities... (III. 5, p. 80).

Town of Skandanagara... city of Sonitapura. Sonitapura is another name of Bangarh. (III.9., p. 84).

(Varendri) the beauty of the cities, which was charming on account of the excessive grace (of symmetry) in the rows of white palaces, where the large expanses of clouds stuck to the extremities of the golden pitchers placed high (on the palace tops). (III. 23, p. 68).

He (Ramapala) built the city of Ramavati which rivalled Amaravati... (III, 29, p. 101). In Hindu mythology Amaravati is Indra’s capital city and is famous for it’s grace and splendour (Ramavati) which was carrying an immense mass of gems... (III, 31, p. 102). He (Ramapala)... also built (Ramavati) as a city of rows of palaces with plenty of gold therein, and, therefore, made it appear like the peak of Meru (III, 32, p. 103). Meru is

the golden mountain in the center of the earth on which is situated Svarga, the heaven of Indra, containing the cities of gods. Description of the splendour of Ramapla’s palace at Ramavati. (II, 33, 34, p. 104).

Description of music practised in the palace of Ramapala (III, 35-36, p. 104). Description of youthful heavenly courtezans who danced at that palace. (III, 37, p. 105). Ramapala’s palace at Ramavati– full of gold and built with all sorts of works of art and which attained perfection... (III, 40, p. 107).

Ramapala constructed great works of public utility in the shape of large lakes... (III, 42, p. 108).

Ramavati...which was unassailable and appeared like Alaka...(III. 48, p. 113). In Hindu mythology Alaka is the capital city of Kuvera, the god of wealth.

Religious Buildings/Establishments

Temples of Siva in groups of three were given for the benefit of the learned on the tops of a chain of hills. (III. 41, p. 108).

The great monastery of Jagaddala and monasteries. (III. 7, p. 81-82)

Images of gods installed in temples in the city of Sonitapura. (III. V. 9, p. 84)

Aryasaptasati Secular Buildings

Mentions gate of the house (gehadehli) and garden house (kusumbhabati). (V. 16, p. 15). Flag flying on the top of the palace. (V. 57, p. 159).

Mentions palace’s flag (saudhapataka). (V. 79, pp. 163-164).

Reference to palace (prasada). (V. 122, p. 173). Mentions gate of the city (nagaradvari). (V. 146, p. 179). Reference to well (kupa). (V. 164, p. 183).

Dwelling house (sadana). (V. 214, p. 194). Door of the house (kapata). (V. 219, p. 195).

Reference to pillar (stambha) of the house and door of the house (dvaram). (V. 246, p. 201). Hole of the wall enclosure (vrtivivara) of a dwelling house. (V. 267, p. 206).

Wall of the house (vativrti). (V. 281, p. 210).

Dilapidated cottage (jarjara mandira). (V. 297, pp. 213-214). Long Broad window (dirgha gavaksa). (V. 299, p. 214).

Gate of the town (puradvari). (V. 306, p. 216). Every wall of a house (pratibhitti). (V. 345, 224). Walls of the house (grhapracira). (V. 392, p. 234).

Lion face of the palace door (harmya harimukha). (V. 523, p. 263). Hole of the wall (vrtivlvara). (V. 536, p. 265).

Painting in the wall/plinth (bhitticitra). (V. 575, p. 273-74). Dilapidated palace (jirna prasada). (V. 575, pp. 278-79). Plinth of the house (bhavana bhittau). (v. 602, p. 280).

Window (vatayana). (V. 628, p. 285). Dwellings house (sadana). (V. 628, p. 296). A bay window (gavaksa). (V. 686, p. 298).

Vidyakara’s Subhasitaratnakosa Secular Buildings

Triple citadel. (V. 30). Pleasure houses. (V. 170).

Firm roof of a thatched pavilion. (V. 230). Bridal chamber. (V. 469).

Courtyard. (V. 494). Palace door. (V. 521).

Parterre of the garden house. (V. 693). Bed room (vasabhavana). (V. 696).

The palace lotus-pool. (V. 736).

The lattices of the palaces through the openings of which the lamplight of the palaces filtered. (V. 886).

Frieze and cornice– window lattice work. (V. 894). A turret of the palace (prasaddattaka). (V. 951).

A palace (bhavanam). (V. 955).

The parterre of the garden summerhouse. (V. 1135). Pavillions on the roof tops. (V. 1136).

Leaf huts. (V. 1390). Palaces (Saudha). (V. 1390).

Gateway of the capital. (V. 1409). Palace grounds– garden. (V. 1412). Palace peacocks. (V. 1453).

Religious buildings

Temple to the gods built from mountain stone with steeple bearing a thousand heads encrusted with gems. (V. 1571).

Temple. (V. 1633).

Saduktikarnamrtam Secular Buildings

A roof pallion screened by mats against rain (attesu kandapatavaritasikara). (V. 2188).

Grass hut (trnakutira). (V. 1336).

The peasant houses (halikagrha). (V. 13337). Houses of the rich (dhanyanam bhavana). (V. 1178). Bridal chamber (basa bhavana). (V. 516).

Center of the house– front hall- courtyard. (V. 736). White washed house. (V. 765).

The courtyard (prangana). (V. 741). House door (grhadvaram). (V. 776). City’s archway (pura taurana). (V. 362). City (nagara). (V. 1593).

Description of a poor man’s house consisting of wood poles, mud walls and roof of thatch (trna). (V. 2246).

Pavanaduta of Dhoyi

Town of Siva at Sumha (V. 29). Bridge Setabandha (31).

Laksmana Sena’s camp and capital, Vijayapura Palace (saudha). (V. 36, 37, 41).

City’s street (Pauramarga). (V. 43). Palace (prasada). (V. 49).

Foreign Accounts Fa-hien

He was in India at the beginning of the 5th century CE. He visited Tamralipti (a port city; as a region it denotes the area of Medinipur District, West Bengal). In his times at Tamralipti there existed twenty-two Buddhist monasteries. (Fa-Hien. p. 108).

Travel accounts of Hiuen Tsang or Yuan Chuang

The Chinese monk Hiuen Tsang began his pilgrimage to the holy land of Buddhism in

c. 629 CE. and returned to China in c. 644 CE. He visited Samatata (the greater Comilla District and the adjacent low lying regions of Noakhali and Dhaka Districts), and records existence of more than 30 Buddhist monasteries and 300 deva temples. (Watters, Vol. II, p. 187).

Hiuen Tsang’s narrative records the existence of more than 50 deva temples in Tamralipti. He also mentions that there were above 10 Buddhist monasteries. (Ibid, p. 190).

The traveller records the existence of more than 10 Buddhist monasteries and 50 deva temple in Karnasuvarna (situated in Murshidabad District). (Ibid., p. 191). He also mentions the Lo-to-mo-chi (Raktamrttika) monastery, a magnificent and famous establishment situated near the capital of Karnasuvarna. Samuel Beal, II, X, p. 201 ff.

Hiuen Tsang mentions Pun-na-fa-tanna or Pundravardhana (identical with Mahasthan, Bogra, Bangladesh). He records the existence of 10 Buddhist monasteries and 100 Deva temples. He records that to the west of the capital there was a magnificent Buddhist establishment Po-kih-po by name. This monastery had spacious halls and tall storeyed chambers and here resided many distinguished monks from “East India”. (Watters, p. 184).

Hiuen Tsang visited Kajangala (the region round Rajmahal) and saw six or seven Buddhist monasteries there. He further records that “in the northern part of the country not far from the Ganges, was a lofty belvedere built of stone and brick; it’s base was broad and high, and it’s artistic ornamentation was exquisite; on each of it’s sides were carved images of holy beings, the Buddhas and devas being made different in appearance”. (Watters, Vol. 2, pp. 182-183).

I-tsing (635-713 CE)

I-tsing was one of the three great Chinese travellers in India. He came to India in 671 CE. I-tsing visited many places in India including Tamralipti in Bengal. He returned to China in 695 CE. Tamralipti has been described by I-tsing as a port on the coast of Eastern India. There he stayed for some time in a vihara called po-lo-ho (Takakasu I­ tsing, XXX, ch. X-; Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, p. 414).


Abu Mohamed Habibullah Smarakgrantha, edited by Salahuddin Ahmed, Mamtajur Rahman Tarafdar, and Ajay Ray, Dhaka (Bangladesh Itihas Parisat) 1991.

Ashit Boran Paul and Dara Shamsuddin, ‘Geopgraphical provencnce of the find places of the inscriptions of Bengal; JASB, Vol. No. 1, Dhaka (Bangladesh Archaeology, Number 1, 1979, the Department of Archeology and Museums, Govt. of Bangladesh).

Barrie M. Morrison, Lalmai, A Cultural center of ancient Bengal, Publication on Asia of the Institute for Comparative and Foreign Studies, No. 24, Seattle and London (University of Washington Press).

Caryapada, edited by Atindra Majumdar, Fifth Edition, Calcutta 1955.

D.C. Sircar, Select inscriptions bearing on Indian History and civilization, Calcutta University, 1942.

Dinesh Chandra Sarkar, Silalekha-Tamrasasanadir Prasanga, Kolkata, (Sahityaloka) 1982.

Hakim Habibur Rahman Khan Commemoration Volume, edited by. Enamul Haque, Dhaka (ICSBA) 2001. Itihasa, Relevant Volumes, Dhaka Ithasa Parisat.

John Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Calcutta (Rupa Co.) 1992.

J.A. Legge, A Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms, being an account of the Chinese monk Fa­ hien’s Travels, Oxford 1886.

J.A. Takakusu, A Record of the Buddhist Religion as practised in India and the Malay Archipelago by I-tsing, Oxford 1896.

Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta; Relevant Volumes. Journal of the Varendra Research Museum, Rajshahi; Relevant Volumes. Kamalakanta Gupta, Copper-Plates of Sylhet, Sylhet, 1967.

Mainamati-Devaparvata, edited by A. B. M. Husain, Dhaka (Asiatic Society of Bangladesh) 1997.

N.G. Majumdar, Inscriptions of Bengal, Vol. III, Rajshahi (V.R.S. Museum) 1929.

N.B. Sanyal, List of Inscriptions in the Museum of Varendra-Research Society, Rajshahi 1928.

Nalinikant Bhattashali Commemoration Volume, edited by A.B.M. Habibullah, Dacca Museum, 1966.

N.R. Ray, Bangalir Itihasa, Adi Parva, Calcutta (Deys Publishing House) 1993; Pakistan Archeology, Number 3-1966 (The Dept. of Archeology, Govt. of Pakistan, Karachi).

Ramacaritam of Sandhyakaranandi, edited with English translation by R.C. Majumdar, R.G. Basak and Nani Gopul Bagchi (V.R.S. Museum, Rajshahi, 1939).

R.C. Majumdar, The History of Bengal, Vol. 1, University of Dhaka, Second Impression, 1963.

R.R. Mukherji and S.K. Maity, Corpus of Bengal Inscriptions, Calcutta (Firma K.L. Mukhopadhya) 1967.

Samuel Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, translated from the Chinese of Hieun Tsang, London 1905.

T. Watters, On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India, Two Volumes, London 1905.

Vidyakara’s Subhasitaratnakosa, An Anthology of Sanskrit Court Poetry, translated and edited by Daniel H.H. Ingalls, H.O.S, Vol. 44, Harvard (University Press).

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