Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal

by Shubha Majumder | 2017 | 147,217 words

This page relates ‘Abandoned Temples/Structural Ruins Containing Sculptural Specimens’ of the study on the Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal based on the fields of Geography, Archaeology, Art and Iconography. Jainism represents a way of life incorporating non-violence and approaches religion from humanitarian viewpoint. Ancient Bengal comprises modern West Bengal and the Republic of Bangladesh, Eastern India. Here, Jainism was allowed to flourish from the pre-Christian times up until the 10th century CE, along with Buddhism.

Abandoned Temples/Structural Ruins Containing Sculptural Specimens

In the first section we may include twenty nine sites like Pakbirra, Chharra, Deuli, Telkupi, Banda, Kotra (Gajpur), Bhavanipur, Palma, Deulbhira (Haraktore), Lakhara, Nangtir Than, Tatari, Mudidhi, Senera, Chalka, Arsha, Chakolta in Purulia district; Bahulara, Dharapat, Harmasra, Ambikanagar and Deulbhira, Barkola, Chitgiri and Kendua in Bankura district; Sat Deuliya and Punchra from Burdwan district and Jinsar in West Midnapur district. The above examples are with reference to the first context.

The first group i.e. the abandoned temples/structural ruins containing Jain sculptural specimens are evident from different sites mainly in the zone I. During extensive explorations in the different parts of Rāḍha i.e. zone I, we noticed several archaeological sites containing the abandoned temples and in some sites temples are presently in ruins. However, we documented some Jain sculptural remains from these ruins. Among this group the most important site is Pakbirra and in the earlier chapter I have already discussed about the location and other details of the site, however, here I will try to unfold some other important issues of the present site. The context of the large Jain sculptural remains along with the architectural details of the extant three temples of the site needs a more detailed study.

The site possesses a large number of Jain sculptural remains. The work of Bhattacharyya et al (1986) is the only source of information regarding the statistical/ tabulated data of the sculptural specimens. They have documented thirty four specimens of Jain Tīrthaṅkaras, two images of Ambikā, five specimens of Jain tutelary couple, one aṣṭapādatīrtha besides a considerable number of caumukha shrines and miscellaneous sculptures, comprising both complete and fragmentary/broken specimens, whereas the site now contains only thirty to thirty five sculptural specimens and architectural members. It clearly hints towards the rapid degree of decay of the cultural heritage of the site.

At present thirty one sculptural specimens along with few broken sculptural parts are kept in the permanent shed to the east of the temple no 1. Four Tīrthaṅkara images are kept in the three temples (Pl.VII.A) of the site and presently they are worshiped as Brahmanical deities. The site is very famous among the local villagers due to the massive image of Bhairava. This image of Bhairava is actually the image of a Tīrthaṅkara (Pl.VII.B). Till today this image was identified as Tīrthaṅkara Padmaprabha, however, a close examination of this image helps us to identify the image as that of Tīrthaṅkara Neminātha. At the centre of the small pedestal, a wheel is depicted which is actually the lāñchana of the Tīrthaṅkara. This image along with an image of Yakṣī Ambikā is kept in a newly constructed open temple and is regularly worshiped by the local villagers.

In this temple compound I also noticed a large number of architectural members including āmalakas and kalaśa scattered here and there (Pl.VII.C). Some structural foundations made of stone are also exposed in this temple compound which indicates temple remains as mentioned by J. D. Beglar (1878: 193-5). However, Beglar in his report mentioned about the three mounds in this site which unfortunately cannot longer be located. Some Tīrthaṅkara images are also kept in a modern brick temple just outside the boundary of the temple complex (Pl.VII.D). These images are also worshiped as Brahmanical deities.

At present only three temples (Pl.VII.A), all of them in a badly ruined condition are still standing at this site on a low mound (McCutchion 1961: 389). According to the local villagers whenever they dug this mound they unearthed complete or fragmented Jain sculptural remains. However, till today this mound is not excavated and any type of protection is not taken to save this huge archaeological ruins. These plenty number of archaeological ruins are open to local villagers and the smugglers.

Out of the 21 temples, which Beglar (1878: 193-4) saw as well as mentioned, at present there are only three extant temples they have been renovated. Two temples are standing on the south and facing north and are in somewhat perceptible shape up to the bāḍa portion while the third one standing on the western corner and facing east is nothing more than a confused heap of stones. On plan all of them are tri-ratha, the rāhā (ratha) in front being wider and deeper than at the sides. In every instance, the thickness of the wall enclosing the garbhagṛha seems to be half the length of the sanctum chamber.

These two southern temples which are same type of temples, a rough idea can be gathered about the basic features of the stone temples of Pakbirra. Recently, when repairs to the temples were undertaken by the Public Works Department of Purulia under the directive of the Directorate of Archaeology, West Bengal, casual digging was done in search of buried stones near the plinth of the southern-most temple. As a result, the complete pābhāga portion so long buried underground came out and a large number of stone images of Jain Tīrthaṅkara were also unearthed.

Beglar (ibid; Pl. XV) in his report gives a drawing of the base mouldings and as drawn by him, they are four in number, exhibiting as they do in a vertical sequence khura, kumbha, two khuras clasped face to face and khurii. This drawing may have a bearing to any or both of temples 1 and 2.

The jāṅgha of these two temples were treated identically in both of them. It consists of three rathas or divisions. The central rāhā has an oblong niche at the base above which there vertical rows of six khurā mouldings. The anurāhā in each side has pilaster in the shape of miniature temple built with khurās and crowned by āmalaka. The kanika is in the form of a pilaster consisting of vertical bands the central one of which has at the base a khurā and an inverted khurā moulding. The varaṇḍa, which appeared immediately above the jāṅgha to demarcate the bāda, i. e. the perpendicular wall section, from the superstructure was similar in temple 1 and 2 and characterized by a kāṇṭi bordered from below by a khurā moulding. In temple 1, the gaṇḍ rising from above the varaṇḍ is so much mutilated that its original appearance is beyond recognition. The gaṇḍi of the temple 2 is also not better preserved however; it still retains its curvilinear outline (Das 1997: 109).

In the mastaka the beki alone is present in both the temples. Undoubtedly, the missing parts of the mastaka consisted of an āmalaka and a kalaśa, several of which are lying about.

So far as the interior is concerned, temple 1 and 2 present little difference. In either instance, the garbhagṛha is provided with two ceilings. The lower of the two ceilings, placed immediately above the garbhagṛha, interrupts in the midway the corbelled rise of the inside of the superstructure. The upper ceiling acts as the lid on the superstructure and the vedi for supporting the mastaka as well. According to the nomenclature followed in Orissa, these two ceilings are known respectively as garbhamuda and ratnamuda (Bose 1932: 120). The garbhagṛha opens through a passageway whose two sidewalls are spanned by a corbelled arch. As the overlapping courses, of the arch begin very near the ground level, the entrance doorway becomes triangular in appearance. From the presence of many pillars at the site it may be assumed that these temples once had pillared porches or maṇḍapas in front.

During the present survey we gathered very little information about the dilapidated structure of temple 3. As per record this temple, facing east, seems to have built on a tri-ratha plan. Its square garbhagṛha was probably provided with garbhamuda and ratnamuda, and approached through a triangular opening. Apparently, in other respects also, it did not differ from temple1 and 2 (Das 1997: 109-10).

Chharra, another important archaeological site associated with Jain ideology, is situated 4 miles north-east of Purulia and not very far from Pakbirra. Periodical visits by the British administrators at the site from the middle half of the 19th century have unveiled its rich cultural heritage. At the same time, their reports also inform us about the gradual deterioration of the site as well as its cultural paraphernalia. Like the site Pakbirra Beglar also visited this site and mentioned about its rich archaeological heritage.

According to him:

“Here are some ruins of old temples; two temples, partially ruined, still exist, and the stone of numerous others are to be seen used up in the huts of the village” (Beglar 1878:182).

During the present survey of this village we have documented several Jain sculptural remains from three different localities i.e. Basanti Devi Mandir, Siva Mandir and Dharmaraj Mandir in mixed up contexts. Janina images are worshiped as Brahmanical deities. Documentation was also carried out of a very dilapidated temple (Pl.VII.E) located at the centre of the village Chharra and a huge heap of structural ruins at Badhgar, only 3 kms away from the present site (Pl.VII.F). The ruins of this locality confirm that there must have been some stone temples and probably dedicated to the Jain ideology.

The extant temple of Chharra is made of stone and at present this temple is surrounded by rural huts. The temple is facing the east though nowadays the entrance doorway is sealed by a modern brick wall. On plan the temple is tri-ratha and rises to a height of about 21 feet. According to the earlier reports, the pābhāga portion of the temple had 3 mouldings i.e., khurā, inverted khurā and khurā respectively. At present, the lower portion of the temple is buried in an accumulation of rubbish (Das 1997: 111-2). The bāḍa is short and devoid of ornamentation. The entrance doorway is (4.10 ft. in length and 2.2 ft. in breadth) slightly projected and rectangular in shape. The garbhagṛha is square in shape and 4 ft high. The flat roof is 8 ft high, above which the interior portion is hollow.

The measurement taken by McCutchion (1961: 40) suggests that the garbhagṛha is almost half the length of the bāḍa. In elevation, the bada is divided into pābhāga, jāṅgha and baranda. The bada and gandi portion of the temple wall is separated by a baranda. The baraṇḍa portion of Chharra temple is less projected and is composed of a kanti bordered by khurā mouldings. The gaṇḍi portion of the temple is decorated with raha pagas and kanika pagas. The central paga of the gaṇḍi on the front side is built of plain stone and projected at the base and gradually becomes narrow as it rises towards the śikhara.

The gaṇḍi portion of the temple is curvilinear and ornamented with bhūmis and bhūmi āmalakas. The gaṇḍi is divided into 6 bhūmis. Each bhūmi has 2 bhūmi-baraṇḍikas and a right angled bhūmi-āmalaka. Besides these ornamentations, the 3 sides of the central pagas of the walls are decorated with caitya-motifs and the smaller carving of the same motifs can be seen on the anurāhā pagas and kaṇika-pagas. The shallow and sketch carving of the caitya-motifs on the central paga on the front side appear to be incomplete in comparison to the fully developed and ornamented caitya-motifs on the other sides. Overall the present temple at Chharra is in a dilapidated condition which needs immediate conservation to save the temple. In 2014 Shri Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain (T.S.) Mahasabha, New Delhi (Kolkata Branch) conserved this temple.

In the year 2014, Shri Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain (T.S.) Mahasabha, New Delhi (Kolkata Branch) exposed some stone pillars, earlier noticed by R.K. Chattopadhyay (Chattopadhyay and Acharya 2010: 10) in 2010 (Pl.VIII.A). They exposed 14 such pillars. Among these pillars, 4 depicted images of Tīrthaṅkaras, in kāyotsarga posture, on the upper part; the rest had no depiction (Pl.VIII.B). I may postulate that these pillars were used as memorial stones and that this particular ground was used as a burial ground for Jain monks or others. From the above discussion, it may confidently claim that the site enjoyed almost pilgrimage status under Jainism. Therefore, it will not be unwise for us to postulate that during the process of Brahminization of the area, Hero stones were deliberately installed at the location which was already a living practice among the Jain populace of the region. Thus, the practice may have been an attempt at the process of legitimization of the local lineage (Majumder 2015: 32-33).

Another important aspect related with the contexts of the Jain images recovered from the site Chharra is that there are a good number of representations of Jain votive caumukhas. These specimens are well carved and hence, iconographically deserve special attention. The style of these miniature stone temples shows architectural similarity with the extant temple at the site. Interestingly, the presence of a good number of votive caumukhas at the site indicates the popularity of the site during the early medieval times.

Caumukhas are generally regarded as votive offerings by the laity. The presence of large numbers of such caumukhas at the site lead us to postulate that perhaps the Jain establishment at Chharra had grown in to a pilgrimage centre during the early medieval period. The caumukhas are remnants of offerings by the Jain laity, especially the trading community who could easily afford such generous offerings.

The site needs more detailed investigation and scientific clearance to know the nature of the architectural remains of this locality as well as the proper contexts of the Jain sculptural remains.

Pañcāyatana temple complex of Deuli is an important site belonging to this first group (Pl.VIII.C). This site was also noticed by Beglar and he mentioned about the architectural details of this group of temple. He described the two sub shrines (one on the south west and the other on the north-east) of which were in existence during his time (Pl.VIII.D 1& 2).

Beglar further comments

“The temples appear to have been Jain, as in the sanctum of the largest exists, in situ, a fine Jain figure, now known as Arunantha…..” (Beglar 1878: 189).

In this site it can easily be understand the context and content of the archaeological ruins. The condition of the temples at Deoli has further deteriorated since the time of Beglar. At present the central shrine is much damaged, however, at the same time it is not difficult to identify the shrine as a rekhā deula from its partially preserved gaṇḍi. It faces north and stands up to a certain height of the gaṇḍi in a precarious position. The pābhāga portion is buried under ground and beneath the debris of its own tumbled blocks. The entrance opening is built of overlapping courses of stones (Pl.VIII. E1) like those of the Pakbirra temples. The huge blocks of stones heaped in front of the temple prove the existence of other structures like mukha-maṇḍapa etc. preoccupying the entrance of the sanctum. As Beglar (ibid.) reports, it consisted of an antarāla, a mahāmaṇḍapa, an ardha-maṇḍapa and probably a portico.

The stones of the main temple are of fine-grained sand stone, while those of the ruined frontal structures are of course-grained sand stone are of different colour. Besides, there are no proofs of joints between the frontal structures and the main wall of the sanctum. It is, therefore, probable that the ruined frontal structures were later additions as we have seen in the case of Pakbirra temples.

It is built on a pañcaratha plan, the ratio of the rathas being as follows; rāhā 3, anuratha 1, kaṇika 2. The garbhagṛha, a square chamber, is half the length of the bāḍa. In elevation, the bāḍa is divided into three segments, namely pābhāga, jāṅgha, and baraṇḍa (Das 1997: 110) . The pābhāga is a square of dado simulating a plinth. The jāṅgha is severely plain excepting a rectangular niche on the rāhā. The niche is designed like a bhadra deula, its superstructure rises in two gradually receding piḍhā stages and supports a mastaka consisting of beki, āmalaka, and kalaśa. Three niches are present on the three side of the deula however, all of them are empty now (Pl.VIII.E2). At one time they might have contained an image each. The anurāhās are very thin, less projected and plain. The baraṇḍa above the jāṅgha has three elements, namely a khurā at the bottom, a paṭā in the middle and a kāṇṭi on the top. This arrangement is repeated after two courses of stonework giving the impression of two baraṇḍas and two kāṇṭis.

The gaṇḍi has also five divisions, but are entirely plain stone-work. The whole temple is devoid of any decoration. It is built of plain dressed stones and no mortar was used in the masonry work. The mastaka kept on it can no longer be traced. However, there is little doubt that the members of the mastaka were like those on the superstructure of the niche. The interior of the deula still retains the garbhamunda over the sanctum chamber. It appears some way up the corbelled inside of the gaṇḍi. Apparently, the deula was sealed by the ratnamuda, which is now missing.

Among the two existing corner shrines (Pl.VIII.D 1& 2), one stands in the north-east and the other in the south-west are rekhā order however, however, without and mukhaśālā. Among these two temples the north-east shrine is better preserved (Das 1997: 111). Both the temples about 20 ft high have pañcaratha projections on the bāḍa and the gaṇḍi. David McCutchion has rightly pointed out that these are very similar to the temple at Harmasra in Bankura district and the temple at Chharra (McCutchion 1961: 40).

These two temples are constructed over a low plinth. The rathas are in the following ratio: rāhā 1.5, anuratha 1, and kaṇika 1.5. The square garbhagṛha, in dimensions, is double the thickness of the wall. It has over it the usual garbhamuda and ratnamuda ceilings. The passageway also has the gamā on it. The exterior of the temple displays a bāḍa having two vertical divisions, namely jāṅgha and baraṇḍa.

The jāṅgha is plain while the baraṇḍa is like that of the principal deula. The gaṇḍi is curvilinear in profile. The mastaka on the gaṇḍi has a beki and a damaged āmalaka. Probably a kalaśa was placed on the āmalaka.

The most impressive difference between the corner shrines and the central temple is in the construction of the door-way. The door-ways of the corner shrines are very small, rectangular in shape and have two pilasters, whereas, the entrance opening of the central temple is larger and the side walls above a certain height are built in overlapping method forming a triangular shape.

The doorway of the central temple is similar to those of the Pakbirra temples. Thus the applications of two different architectural methods within the same enclosure of a paṇcāyatana group is very curious and pose a perplexing problem as regards to the date of erection of these temples. It is probable that the erectors of these temples originally had no intention or plan of constructing a paṇcāyatana group and the corner shrines were built earlier, and the central one was conceived later on or vice-versa. Low height, plain treatment of the outer walls, very small and rectangular opening of the doorway and low ceiling of the sanctum may lead us to fix an earlier date for the corner shrines. On the other hand, the similarity of the doorway of the central shrine with those of the Pakbirra temples drives us to the conclusion that the central shrine was either contemporary to the Pakbirra temples or earlier than the Pakbirra temples.

It seems that the temples at Deoli once were plastered with a layer of stucco. Traces of such a plaster can still be detected. There is little doubt that decorative designs were made on the plaster. The disappearance of the plaster makes these temples bland and bare (Das 1997: op.cit.,). The main temple contains an in situ stone sculpture of Jain Tīrthaṅkara Santinātha and presently worshipped as Śiva by the local villagers (Pl.VIII.F).

The submerged temple site of Telkupi also belongs to this group. The site is located on the left bank of the river Damodar under the jurisdiction of Raghunathpur in the Purulia district. After the construction of the Panchet dam across the river Damodar near Panchet, about 9 miles away from this Telkupi village, the water of the river gradually engulfed the archaeological heritage (both in form of temple and detached sculptures) of the village which was yet to be recorded/documented. Periodical visits by the British administrators at the site from the middle half of the nineteenth century have unveiled its rich cultural heritage (Pl.VIII.G). At the same time, their reports also inform us about the gradual deterioration of the site as well as its cultural paraphernalia (Pl.VIII.H).

Debala Mitra in a monograph on Telkupi (1969) documented the details of the archaeological remains of site during the course of salvage archaeology. She was able to document altogether twenty six temples divisible into two groups; one group comprising thirteen temples stands at Bhairavathan and the rest constitutes the other groups. Besides these numerous temples crowding the landscape of the site a handful collection of sculptural specimens also bespeak the “fervent religiosity” that mainly characterizes the site. Of these, mention may be made of a Śiva liṅga, the images of Umā-M aheśvara, Lakulīśa, Viṣṇu, Sūrya and those depicting the Narasīṃha avatāra of Viṣṇu along with few images of Ambikā, the Yakṣiṇī of Neminātha. Undoubtedly such varied types of sculptural specimens and their recovery from particular temple catered sufficient data in reconstructing the multifaceted character of the site though mainly dominated by Śaivism. As out of twenty six temples sixteen contain the icons assignable to Śaiva group there should be no hesitation to ascribe the complex as the strongest Śaiva centre of the region. The dominance of Brahmanical antiquities over a few sculptural specimens assignable to the Jain pantheon also verifies the process of Hinduisation/Brahmanisation/de-tribalization in this tribal dominated region that was mainly facilitated by the Brahamanical mode of appreciation. Though, the records of Jain antiquity cannot be ignored to identify the genesis of the settlement and the role of the Jain communities in the process of social formation.

At present the site is represented by a highly degenerate temple no 18 (Pl.VIII.H) with a considerable number of architectural members (kalasa, āmalaka, lintels, pillars etc.) and sculptural specimens scattered the nearby area of the village. Interestingly close to the site of Telkupi there is a site known as Gurudi where a modern temple was constructed and in this temple compound there are several sculptures including the Tīrthaṅkara images. Some other sculptural fragments related to the Jain ideology are also found from other parts of the same village. These Jain sculptural antiquities were closely associated with the temple site of Telkupi and were most probably transported from the later site.

Banda-Cheliyama, very close to Telkupi, is another archaeological complex in this district that has association with the Jain ideology. It has an extant temple along with a number of Jain sculptural remains. In the eastern part of the village Cheliyama a modern temple known as Mahamaya Mandir is located. In front of this temple some Jain sculptural remains are kept. If we study these sculptural remains individually then we do not understand the proper context of these images. However, if we correlate these images with the extant temple of Banda which is just 1.5 kms away from this site than it will be quite appropriate to state that these sculptural forms were actually a part of the iconic programme of the temple of Banda (Pl.IX.A).

The śikhara type temple of Banda stands on a low mound at the western corner of the village. The temple is facing west and in front of the temple a detached pillars maṇḍapa exists (Pl.IX.B). The temple is pañca-ratha in plan. The vedībandha of this temple has six tiers which are projected as per as the projections of the pilasters thus resembling kutastabha. The central ratha on each face, excepting the front, shows a recessed niche for sculptures. The tall śikhara of the temple is divided into seven bhumis and each bhumi is marked by a circular bhūmi āmlaka at the corners. The śikhara gradually inclines inward and is topped by an āmalakasila. The central ratha on each face shows all along the fine interlacing pattern of caitya window motif, as elegant in execution as one sees in the famous Muktesvara temple in Bhubaneswar.

Several scholars had studied this temple with reference to its architectural characteristics and development. However, they studied the temple in isolation. During our recent exploration in the village we were able to trace some other low mounds in an around the temple complex. All the mounds contain brick-bats and broken pieces of finished stone pillars which indicate the existence of some other temples near the present one (Pl.IX.C). Local people told that the saw the stone sculptures in those mounds as well as in the sanctum of the present temple, however the present location of those sculptures is not known. They may be stolen or buried under those mounds. The western corner of the present mound also contains 10 finished stone pillars, which are lying in the ground. The pillars maṇḍapa (Pl.IX.D) of the temple is very unique. Earlier scholars did not write much about this maṇḍapa. However, this maṇḍapa indicates the earlier dates of the temple as well as the similarity with the other Manbhum group of temples. The maṇḍapa contain 8 pillars and they are square like in shape. The maṇḍapa has flat roof and may be the roof of the maṇḍapa extended very close to the main temple. The remaining stone pillars may indicate the larger maṇḍapa in front of the temple may be constructed for ritual gathering. In the western side of the mound two steps are also visible and some brick structures are also visible vary close to the main temple. This brick structure may point out the earlier architectural activities.

This temple has very close similarity with the extant temple of Telkupi temple no 18 and may be ascribed a date of the middle of 10th century CE. The sculptural remains in an around the site Banda shows that the site as well as the temple had associated with Jain ideology and these may be played as another sub center of Jainism in the Damodar valley like the Telkupi group.

Kotra (Gajpur) is the only excavated Jain site in this district yielding Jain sculptural and stone temples remains. Excavation exposed the remains of a Pañcāyatana temple complex and some good quality Jain sculptural remains were unearthed during the excavation. The site demand a large scale horizontal excavation for a better understanding about the nature of the structural remains as well as the popularity of Jainism during the early medieval period.

The above sites have extant temples often enshrining Jain images or without sculptural remains. However, in this district we have documented some other archaeological sites which have only the temple ruins along with Jain sculptural remains. Among these site Palma is important. The archaeological ruins of Palma were first published by E.T. Dealton (1866: 186-87). The site is situated in the Police Station of Kendra, at a distance of about 20 kms from Purulia town along the Purulia-Manbazar road. He refers about a temple at Palma which was “on a mound covered with stone and brick”, and numerous Jain Tīrthaṅkara images lying at different places. Among these images one Tīrthaṅkara image is larger than life-size which was “broken away from the slab on which it was cut, and the head, separated from the body, lies near”. Later on several British administrators also mentioned about the archaeological ruins of Palma.

During our recent visit at the site we recorded several Jain sculptural remains along with extensive architectural remains scattered in the four different localities of the village. These architectural remains along with the low structural mound of the village indicate the existence of temple. At the entry point of the site one can locate a mound along with a stone pillar. The eroded part of the mound which gradually extends to the interior of the village exposes structural remains, though now a day the ruins have gradually diminished in extent (Pl.IX.E). However, it is difficult to trace the in situ occurrences of the sculptures especially belonging to the Jain pantheon recorded from time to time and even it is a remote possibility to reconstruct the architectural pattern of the shrines, their plan and nature of elevation from the available database. However, it will be unwise if we fail to mention that the several number of sculptural specimens at the site, though mostly housed in a private collection and the scattered occurrences of a number of Jain sculptures (Pl.IX.F) and hero-stones in and around the locality tend to highlight the proliferation of the settlement and its association with a remarkable centre of religious activity certainly ascribable to the Jain ideology. Bhabanipur is another site which exhibits a Jain Tīrthaṅkara image presently lying in the proper archaeological context. At the end of the village there is a large pipal tree under which we documented ruins of a temple and inside this ruins there is an image of Ṛṣabhanātha and a part of this image is embedded in this tree (Pl.IX.G). In this find spot we documented different parts of temples including kalaśa, āmalaka and others. These architectural remains indicate that during the 10th to 12th century there was a Jain temple and inside this temple this image was worshipped. However, gradually this temple lost its important and after a time survived this temple slowly destroyed. At present we can only imagine the glory of this temple by documenting its remaining architectural as well as sculptural remains. We also documented several hero stone from two different localities of this site (Pl.IX.H). Though the site of Deulbhira (Haroptore) is situated in much interior locale, however, its remoteness never acted as a barrier in its emergence as a popular religious centre during the early medieval time onwards. The site has a long association with the spread of the Jain ideology. At the entry point of the village one can easily locate a structural mound (Pl.X.A), possibly assignable to the early mediaeval period and strewn with architectural members and other categories of habitational remnants including potsherds. The abandonment of brick temple complex possibly containing door jambs and lintels carved out of chlorite stone/ schist varieties of rocks and its sculptural specimens is confirmed by the presence of such specimens now kept at a nearby modern temple site (Pl.X.B). Moreover, according to the local belief the iconoclastic zeal of Kalapahar, the famous sixteenth century Afghan general of Sulaiman Karrani, the Sultan of Bengal was much responsible behind the abraded/ defaced / damaged condition of such specimens (Dash 2001: 227-251; Zakaria 1985: 124-129). Yet the context of the sculptural and structural remains suggests the existence of Jain and Brahmanical establishments. The presence of the Sarāks (Jain community) in and around the village supports the fact that the formative phase of religious structure might be associated with Jainism whereas the Brahmanical mode of appreciation was responsible for its socio-religious transformation in the subsequent period. Lakhra is another site in this district which contains Jain Tīrthaṅkara images along with huge architectural remains scattered on the outskirts of this village (Pl.X.C). Two Tīrthaṅkara images are placed under a tree and worshipped as Brahmanical deities. In and around this find spot several sizes of āmalakas are scattered and some of them contain “cup marks”. Just opposite this area there is a low structural mound and a broken

Tīrthaṅkara image is still lying there (Pl.X.D). Few meters away of this find spot we also documented an extended structural mound scattered with several pillars and other architectural remains including some pillars carved with representation of Tīrthaṅkaras, which clearly suggest the presence of Jain temples during the early medieval times. It may not be unwise to mention that the presence of door jams and other architectural members and stone pillars suggests the monumental character of the settlement both in respect of power and religion. During our exploration in this district we documented a modern temple of Nangteshwari at Nangtir Than which stands on an ancient structural mound and the foundation of the temple is actually the remains of an ancient temple. Three large icons of Ṛṣabhanātha are installed in this modern temple and they were definitely associated with the earlier temple which must have been a remarkable Jain centre. While negotiating the marshy banks occasionally relieved by patches of grass on our way to the mound we recollected how the Kansavati flowing past us was instrumental in the development and harbouring of Jain centres. Both the Kumari and the Kansavati valleys from their sources (sites in the Barabazar area) till their confluence at Ambikanagar (Bankura district) are dotted with several major Jain temple complexes. Tatari is an important Jain centre and it can be considered as a satellite site with reference to the great Jain centre of Pakbirra. We recorded two separate ruined temple complexes in this village. One of the find-spots lies in the southern part of the village, i.e., a structural mound scattered with a fair number of architectural members and fragmentary Jain sculptural remains (Pl.X.E). According to the villagers there were some broken sculptures including the lower part of a large icon however, they are no longer traceable. There is a large tank called Padmapukur filled with lilac coloured water lilies beside this structural mound and the villagers informed us that a few bronze icons were found during renovation of the tank. Another find-spot locally known as Budha Babar than in the same village is in the locality of Saragara. This find-spot is very interesting it contains several architectural remains including massive door jambs and dressed stones of different sizes we were overwhelmed by the presence of an outstanding icon of Mahāvīra. Some parts of the ancient temple are still survived. According to the local villagers they worship this icon as Budha Bābā (Brahmanical deity). Mudidi is a small village situated 3.5 kms west of Laulara village. Here we also documented earlier architectural remains including a lower portion of Tīrthaṅkara Śāntinātha image. The architectural remains suggest that this is not a small temple and presence of a Tīrthaṅkara image in this ruins suggest the Jain association with this architectural activities as well as the site (Pl.X.F). At the site Senera I documented a medium size structural mound, at the western corner of the village, scattered with stone pillars and other architectural remains. Close to this mound a large image of Tīrthaṅkara Pārśvanātha which there lies. Presence of this image and the structural mounds help us to assume that there was a Jain temple during the early medieval period. Due to the lack of patronage and support this temple was gradually collapsed and now became a heap of ruins. In the western side of the Chalka village a modern temple was constructed in front of the ruined structure. This ruined temple complex exhibits two damaged specimens of Jain Tīrthaṅkara images. These Jain sculptural remains suggest that the site as well as this ruined temple complex had some earlier association with the Jain ideology. Incidentally, a substantial section of the present day population of the village is represented by the Jain “Sarāk’ community. The ruins of the temple complex suggest that the temple was constructed with stone and we have documented different verities of stone architectural members from these ruins. This particular find spot requires further investigation to get more supportive evidence to elucidate the actual context of the said sculptural remains and their association with Jain religious ideology. At the southern part of the village of Chakolta we noticed ruins of ancient temple under a Kusuma tree. Different sizes of āmalakas, damaged door jams and other structural remains are scatter here and there. A modern small temple was constructed over these ruins and inside this temple three damaged specimens of Jain sculptures are kept and regularly worship by the local villagers as Brahmanical deities.

Arsha and Tumba are the remaining two sites of this district where we also documented temples ruins along with Jain sculptural remains. Arsha was an important Jain centre during the early medieval period and at present two finds–spots are noticed where ruins of earlier structures are scatters (Pl.X.G). Jain images are presently worshipped as Brahmanical deities and two temples are constructed at the village over the ruins of earlier structures. This same situation is also found at Tumba. At Tumba Jain images are presently kept in a modern temple and in and around this temple we observed several structural remains including a low structural mound (Pl.X.H). These two sites need more detailed investigation as well as scientific clearance for better understanding about the proper archaeological context of these two sites as well as their archaeological ruins.

In Bankura district we have documented eight archaeological sites of this variety which contains Jain sculptural remains along with temple as well as temple remains. Among these sites Bahulara is most important for its large brick built śikhara type temple known as Siddhesewara temple (Pl.XI.A).

It is one of the finest brick-temples of Bengal in general and of Bankura is particular. Saraswati had described the temple in the following way.

“The temple is of the single-celled type, and the sanctum is approached by a vestibule in the thickness of the front wall with a triangular corbelled arch opening. It rests on a plinth which consists of several courses of elaborate mouldings and is of the ratha plan. The bāḍa or the sanctum cube is divided into five segments by three horizontal bands forming the bandhana and dividing the jaṅghā into two halves. Besides the division of the plan into rathas, the plainness of the walls is relieved by niches, those on the central rathas being capped by miniature śikharas. Several courses of projected mouldings separate the bāḍa from the gaṇḍī. The latter has a chaste and refined contour, the corners as well as the edges of the pagas being rounded off. The whole surface of the gaṇḍī is covered with intricate traceries of the caitya-window patterns, scroll-work and other designs. Of the last the most interesting are the tiers of miniature śikharas in the lower stages of the rāhā-pagas. This is new interpretation of the logical theme of aṅga-śikharas on the body of the main śikhara not met with so far, but it seems to have been characteristic of the Nagara temples of this region as is evident from the temple known as Jatar deul in the Sundarbans. The top of the temple has been heavy on the mouldings and decorative patterns. Yet, considered as a whole, this brick monument, because of its graceful proportions, elegant contours and chaste style of decoration, seems to constitute one of the outstanding productions of Indian temple architecture” (Saraswati 1979:608-9).

Beglar’s account gives a clear picture about the restoration and renovation of the temple along with architectural details:

“………the temple is of brick, plastered; the ornamentation is carefully cut in the brick, and the plaster made to correspond to it. There are however, ornaments on the plaster along, but none inconsistent, with the brick ornamentation below. I conclude, therefore, that the plaster formed part of the original design; the mouldings of the basements are to a great extent gone, but from fragments here and there that exist, a close approximation can be made to what it was; some portions are, however, not recoverable………The present entrance is not the original old one, but is a modern accretion, behind which the real old doorway, with its tall triangular opening of overlapping courses, is hidden. This old opening is still to be seen internally; it consists of a rectangular opening, 41 courses of bricks in height, over which rise the triangular portion in a series of corbels, each 5 courses in depth; the width of the opening is 4 feet 10 inches; there is no dividing sill, and from the façade of the temple it is evident that the cell, with its attached portico in the thickness of the wall itself, stood alone without any adjuncts in front; There are, however, the remains of a mahāmaṇḍapa, which was added on in recent times, but it is widely different in construction and in material to the old temple, and is probably not so old as the British rule in India” (Beglar:1966: 201-2).

The general appearance of this temple establishes its affinity with the temples of Orissa in respect of style, decoration and other architectural designs. Architecturally, the temple of Bahulara can be equated with the temples of Dihar and Sonatopal, however, it excels and surpasses others in decorations and mouldings. Regarding the date of the temple, there are differences of opinions among scholars. Coomaraswamy (1965: 108) dates the temple in c. 10th century CE. Saraswati suggests c. 11th century CE as its date on grounds of architectural style.

At present the temple is dedicated to lord Śiva and a Śiva liṅga enshrined in the centre of its garbhagṛha. However, the most interesting things is that just behind this liṅga an image of Tīrthaṅkara Pārśvanāth is kept along with the image of Mahiṣamardinī and Gaṇeśa. The presence of Tīrthaṅkara image indicate that the temple must be earlier associated with Jainism. Interestingly in the temple compound we also notice 23 different sizes brick stūpa basements (Pl.XI.B). The extant temple, Tīrthaṅkara

Pārśvanāth image and the stūpa basements suggest a strong association of the site with the Jain ideology. In and around the temple compound area we also notice some low structural mounds. Scientific clearance of this locality is really essential for proper understanding about the relationship between the temple, stūpas and the sculptures.

On the left bank of the river Jaypanda, under the jurisdiction of Taldangra another important temple site of this district Deulbhira is situated The east facing rekha type laterite temple of Deulbhira is abandoned for a long period time. The plain structure of the temple is placed on a tri-ratha plan. However, a pañca-ratha plan is simulated by introducing sub-rathas at the sides of the rāhā. It is prepared with simple mouldings with offset vaulting roof. The shrine is usually crowned with an āmalaka. The remaining niches of the temple are the same as we find in the other temples of Bahulara, Sonatopal and Dihar. Due to its dilapidated state, the richness of the niches and the decorative items around the āmalaka as well as the upper part of the temple are almost unrecognizable. The gaṇḍi of the temple is curvilinear but in its lower section the curvature remains almost imperceptible. The mastaka on the underrate gaṇḍi is missing. Though the garbhagṛha of the temple is without any deity, however, a very beautiful seated image of Tīrthaṅkara Pārśvanāth was recovered from this site and presently in the collection of Indian Museum, Kolkata. This discovery suggests that Jainism retain his strength in this area and this dilapidated temple must be associated with Jainism.

The site Ambikanagar is situated on the confluence of the rivers Kangsavati and Kumari, under the Police Station of Ranibandh. The name of the village indicates that the site has a long association with Jainism. The presiding deity of the village is Ambikā who was originally the Jain Śāsanadevī of the twenty second Tīrthaṅkara Neminātha, however, later the deity was transformed into a Brahmanical goddess, and now Ambikā is worshipped (as a Brahmanical deity) in a modern brick temple constructed on the foundation of the earlier one. This indicates the gradual transformation of one religious ideology to another, however, the deity was accepted by both the ideologies.

Immediately at the back of this modern temple stands another ruined stone temple reaching to a height of about 11′ 8″. In all probability it belongs to the Jain pantheon though at present its status has been changed and now it is appropriated for the worship of the Brahmanical god Śiva. However, inside the temple two Tīrthaṅkara images are kept among them one is identify as Tīrthaṅkara Ṛṣabhanātha, whose image is lying beside the liṅga. Debala Mitra has elaborately studied the architectural details of this temple in the following way

“Like the Orissan temples, its bāḍa has different divisions-pābhāga, jaṅghā and baraṇḍa. Built on a low narrow platform (upana), the pābhāga consists of the four lowermost mouldings, khurā, kumbha, khurā and inverted khurā, the last two relieved at intervals with heart shaped motifs. The north, west and south sides of the jaṅghā are relieved with six pilasters, three on both sides of the central projection, the last containing a niche, meant for the pārśva devatās (no longer existing). The pilasters are plain except for the two mouldings, khurā and inverted khurā at the base and the top. The baraṇḍa is a projected moulding, the recess over which, demarcating the bāḍa from the śikhara, is crowned by a series of mouldings forming the śikhara of the temple. Five of these mouldings are now extant.

The central projection on the front (east) side is thicker than the rest and in it is provided the entrance. The door opening is spanned at the top by five inconspicuous corbels capped by a lintel, the last extending to the entire width of the central projection.

The temple is tri-ratha on plan, its inside 4′ 2½″ square. The thickness of the walls is 2′ 1″, so that the outer sides are exactly double the inner sides. The interior of the temple corbels inwards up to the garbha-muda (lowermost ceiling of the sanctum), which is formed of two stone slabs. There was at least one more cell over the garbha-muda, approach to which was provided by a narrow opening above the lintel of the door” (1958: 131-2).

Several Jain sculptural remains as well as the extant temple (Pl.XI.C) of Ambikanagar suggest that it was thriving Jain centre during the early medieval time. However, during the subsequent period the Brahmanical mode of appreciation was responsible for this change of socio-religious transformation in Ambikanagar. The site Harmashra is well known for its laterite temple (Pl.XI.D) and like the temple of Deulbhira the garbhagṛha of this temple is also empty. However, three Tīrthaṅkara images were reported from the different localities of this village among them the most beautiful image is the Tīrthaṅkara Pārśvanāth, which is laying on the elevated bank of a tank just the opposite side of this temple (Pl.XI.E). The presence of several Jain images at this village suggest that the temple built by the Jaina. It is a small east facing temple and it stands on a low base and displays a tri-ratha plan. A pañca-ratha effect, however, is obtained by producing sub-rathas (upa-rathas) on the rāhā. The square garbhagṛha has the usual garbha-muda and ratna-muda ceilings and passageway is provided with gamā. On the exterior, where no decoration was applied, the bāḍa shows three vertical segments. The gaṇḍi commencing from above the baraṇḍa is neither serrated nor divided into bhūmi stages. The mastaka on the vedī currently shows a large āmalaka supported on a beki (Das 1997-2002: 113) . At present the temple of Harmashra and the Jain sculptures have survived independently and it is difficult for us to study the proper archaeological context and content.

However, the temple and the sculptures must be interlinked and this is another important Jain centre along the river Silavati during the early medieval period. The low mound in and around this temple compound must the exposed for better understanding about the nature of these mounds and also their association with this temple. Dharapat is another important archaeological site in this district which possesses a lateritic śikhara type temple (Pl.XI.F1) along with some beautiful stone sculptures. The temples of Dharapat have been studied by several scholars (Chaudhuri, 1950: 296-98; Bandyopadhyay, 1971: 60-62; McCutchion, 1967:157; Chattopadhyay 2010:

166). The temple is presently dedicated to the lord Viṣṇu and the lateritic temple is covered by cement. However, two superb Tīrthaṅkaras images are fixed on the northern and western temple walls of this temple and just opposite of this temple a beautiful image of Tīrthaṅkara Pārśvanāth (Pl.XI.F12) is kept in a modern temple and locally worshipped as Viṣṇu, though this Jain image was transformed into that of a snake hooded Viṣṇu (Lokeśvara Viṣṇu). These Jain images indicate that the temple must be associated with Jain ideology and Jainism was a popular religious ideology in this region during the early medieval period. All these features are substantial enough to understand the Jain affiliation of the site as well as the temple though before making any comments in this regards further investigation is a desideratum.

The site Barkola is not far away from Ambikanagar is another important site belonging in this group. Mitra (1958: 132-133) visited the place and documented the ruins of a brick build Jain temple from this site. Unfortunately different natural as well as manmade forces have brought virtually a complete destruction of this temple. From the temple ruins, a local person has collected three Jain image, two votive shrines (Caumukha) and some fragments of pedestals. During our recent survey at this place we documented a low mound scattered with brick bats and some stone pieces probably associated with Jain images. Scientific clearance of this mound is very much required for the proper understanding about the nature as well as style of this brick temple mentioned by Mitra. The same situation is also applicable for Chitgiri and Kendua. These two sites also visited by Mitra (1958: 132-134) and from her report we can understand about the structural as well as sculptural remains of these sites. In case of Chitgiri she mentioned that “here existed once a red sand-stone temple, now denuded completely beyond recognition” (Mitra 1958:132). According to Mitra, the stone temple of Kendua which is presently in ruins conditions most probably enshrined by Pārśvanātha image, as an image of that Jina lies near it.

Sat Deuliya (zone II) and Punchra/Pachhra (zone I), these two archaeological sites in Burdwan, which have close associations with Jainism, belongs in this group. Among them the site Sat Deuliya is famous for an extent abandoned brick temple (Pl.XI.G). This temple was studied by several scholars and they described the architectural details of this temple (Majumdar 1943-35: 43; Saraswati 1843: 500-1).

According to Das:

“The temple is pañcaratha on plan. The lower part of its baḍa, through damaged, never had displayed the pābhāga. In this section, however, the wall is divided into two talas by a bāndhanā moulding…..The gaṇḍi, is a ponderous structure divided into bhūmi stages by right-angled bhūmi-āmalakas… ….The pañcaratha plan, right-angled bhūmi-āmalakas and heaviness of form make the Sat Deuliya temple one of the earliest of its kind in Bengal. However, the triangular dooropening, bāndhanā in the bāḍa and entablature with several string courses are features of the post-tenth century period” (1997-2000: 118).

However, the identification of the temple, whether Brahmanical or Jaina, is not clearly mention by them. P. C. Das Gupta was the first scholar who reported a unique Jain antiquity from this village in 1972 and this discovery will acquire significance since the temple referred to be some-times regarded as a Jain monument. Later on several Jain Tīrthaṅkara images were reported from this site and we also documented some Tīrthaṅkara images in the different localities of this site which are presently worshipped as Brahmanical deities. During our survey it has been observed that the present extant temple of Sat Deuliya apparently stands on a huge structural mound. The total area it covers is more than two square kilometers scattered with potsherds, habitational remains, exposed structural ruins beside the present day renovated temple complex. The name of the village indicates that there must be seven temples at one times however at present only one surviving shrine on the site may be the earliest extant brick temple in Bengal datable to the middle of tenth century CE. During recent explorations in this village I have been able to identify some localities as the ruins of some earlier temples. Nearing the village one is astonished to find that a mound area has been leveled down for carrying on agricultural activities. Traces of brick lines, scattered pot-sherds (including Black ware, Black and Red ware, Red ware etc.) and occasional finds of antiquities speak of archaeological potentiality of these mounds.

Punchra/Pachhra is another important archaeological site, situated about 1 km north-west of Kelejora in the Asansol sub-division of Burdwan district. The site was previously explored by several scholars (Gupta 2002: 83100; Chakraborty 2010: 65-82). Our recent survey at the site resulted in the documentation of a considerable numbers of Jain sculptural as well as architectural remains now kept in five different localities of the village. Major concentration of habitational remains at the central part of the village which is known as (a) Sasthitala is named after the seat of a grama devta in the form of folk goddess -Sasthi (a popular female folk deity). In this place five stone images are fixed in the wall (Pl.XI.H). Among these five defaced stone images two sculptures of Jain Tīrthaṅkaras and other are Viṣṇu images [two specimens of Snake hooded Viṣṇu or Lokeśvara Viṣṇu (55 x 42 cm) (103 x 72 cm) and one Viṣṇu image (50 x 37 cm)]. (b) Sivasthan is the next find spot and the place is situated at the south-western part of the village generally identified as a religious center presently associated with Brahmanical worship. However, the mix up assemblages (associated with Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jain ideologies) in this complex is very difficult to identify the place as belonging to a particular religious ideology. The scattered pieces of architectural members, bricks and stone slabs show that there was an abandoned temple complex. A group of altogether eight (both broken and extant) sculptural specimens are now kept on a modern brick platform (which has considerably disturbed the context of earlier structure) at the spot. Of these specimens one image Jain Yakṣī Ambikā (33 x 38 x 5 cm), one broken image of a Jain Tutelary Couple (54 x 37 x 7 cm), pedestal of Jain Tīrthaṅkara Ṛṣabhanātha (20 x 38 x 5.5 cm) and one single specimen of snake hooded Viṣṇu or Lokeśvara Viṣṇu (70 x 54 x 10 cm) are easily recognizable. Recent survey at the (c) Rajapara locality of Punchra/Pachhra resulted in the documentation of a small stone structure (Pl.XII.A) probably the part of a temple and two extant sculptural specimens (94 x 70 x 6 cm, 142 x 70 x 6 cm), on an elevated mound. It is difficult to identify these sculptures due its mutilated conditions. It is quite evident that the principal figures are seated in dhyāna posture. The temple concerned is an amorphous structure waiting the day of its ultimate collapse. Details and date of this shapeless pile cannot be ascertained. (d) Manasatala is another cult spot, of this village, for the goddess Manasā. Here, the upper portion of a Jain Tīrthaṅkara image (87 x 90 x 8 cm) has been documented. Besides this image, three other Jain sculptural specimens are plastered on one slab very close to the earlier spot. Of these, one is a headless damaged specimen of a Jain Tīrthaṅkara, a broken part of a Jain paṭṭa (23 x 26 x 8 cm) and probably remaining one is the image of Jain Tutelary Couple (Pl.XII.A). At the outskirt of this village there is a Jain school known as (e) Bhagavan Mahavira Digambara Jain Sarak High School. The school has the collection of five sculptural specimens of Jain faith, which are said to be collected from the different localities of Punchra.

However, from the recorded database it is apparent that the settlement of the site of Punchra apparently germinated during the early village farming phases. Chattopadhyay has reported Black and Red ware from this site along with polished stone tools, ringtones and others (Chattopadhyay 2015: 544). This settlement in later period must have radiated in its surrounding areas hence it has a long settlement history. The modern habitation virtually stands on the older structural and non structural mounds. As a result, it is difficult to ascertain the original parts of the settlement and the orientation of settlement spread in the later period. The sculptural specimens and habitational remains which have been recorded from the site, it is quite clear that Punchra is an ancient settlement site. During early medieval period this site witnessed some different kind of religious activities and among them Jain religion was much stronger than other religious ideologies. The documented sculptures remains from the site also strengthen this view. The present day demographic situation of the site also suggested that a substantial section of the present day population of the village is represented by the Jain “Sarak” community. A Mandal Sarak family is considered as the biggest land-holding family in this village (Gupta 2002: 83). They were traditional metal workers and the present study area is an integral part of a wider region involved in an ancient procurement network that actually bridged this metal working zone with the settlements in the Gangetic valley. The available archaeological database indicates the popularity of Jainism in the present site and the site need more details investigation.

Jinsar and Balihati (zone I) are two separate villages situated in West Midnapur district, however, in the present study we have discussed the archeological ruins of these two villages together. Both these two site possess some early medieval temples made of laterite.

The east facing laterite temple is presently in an extremely dilapidated condition and it stands at the mercy of nature and the local people (Pl.XII.B). Many stone slabs are found dislocated and people use them for various daily purposes. During a recent survey I observed a thick growth of vegetation growing threateningly all over the complex and if not taken care of, the trees growing on them will tear it apart. According to Das this is a probably sāndhāra type temple, in this case the sanctum chamber surrounded by a covered ambulatory. Two small chambers are attached at the north-east and north-west corner of the temple. The sanctum chamber of the temple was square inside and pañca-ratha on the exterior. The passage connecting the sanctum chamber with the ambulatory was spanned by a corbelled arch. The wall enclosing the ambulatory is partially preserved. The garbhagṛha, vestibule, ambulatory and entrance passage of the temple were all covered by corbelled vaults. Over these vaulted ceilings rest the flat roof of the temple (Das 1997-2002: 113-4). Interestingly the presence of the staircase may suggest the existence of a second storey of this flat roof. However, the dilapidated condition of the temple stands in the way of saying anything conclusive in this regard. This important archaeological structural remain speak of its glorious history. At present an abraded Jain image is kept in the sanctum of this temple.

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