A. Read the text.

Paharpur is an important archaeological site situated in a village named ‘Paharpur’ in Naogaon district of northern Bangladesh. Naogaon is mainly plain land but in the middle of it stood a hill covered with jungle. When the jungle was cleared and the hill excavated, there emerged a lofty ruin of an ancient temple. The temple is about 24 meter high from the surrounding level. ‘Pahar’ means hill. Hence the name Paharpur.

The Paharpur site has been excavated and re-excavated a number of times by archaeologists. Sir Alexander Cunningham, archaeological surveyor of India, visited the place in 1879. He intended to carry out an extensive excavation but was prevented by the land owner. Nevertheless, he was satisfied with whatever excavation he was permitted to carry out. The site was declared to be protected by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1919 under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904.

Systematic and regular excavation started jointly by the Archaeological Survey of India, and Varendra Research Society of Rajshahi and Calcutta University in 1923. They excavated the south-west corner of the monastery. Next, in 1925-26, historian and archaeologist RD Banerjee excavated the northern part of the cen¬tral mound. From 1926-27 onward, excavation was carried out under the super¬vision of KN Dikshit.

The Department of Archaeology of Bangladesh brought the site under further excavation after independence. The operations took place in two phases. The first phase was initiated in 1981-82 and continued till 1984-1985. The second phase was started in 1988-89 and continued till 1990-91.

Pre-liberation expeditions have revealed the architecture of a vast Buddhist monastery, the Somapura Mahavihara. It is dominated by the central shrine, attracting immediate attention by its lofty height and unusual architectural design.

Somapura Mahavihara was one of the most famous Buddhist institutions for monks of ancient Bengal and Southern Asia. The excavated complex at Paharpur has been identified as Somapura Mahavihara built by the second Pala king Dharmapala (781- 821 AD). Some clay seals from the ruins bear the inscription Shri-Somapure-Shri-Dharmapaladeva^Mahavihariyarya-bhik-su-sangghasya.

The Pala rulers were devout Buddhists and they founded a number of monasteries throughout their growing empire. Some of them became great centres of learning and their reputation quickly spread throughout Asia. Somapura Mahavihara’s close relationship with the ruling dynasty implied that it shared the political ups and downs of its benefactors.

B. Match the words with their meanings.

uncover something with difficulty

C. Read Text in A again and choose the correct answer.

1 Paharpur is a

a   typical Bangladeshi village,   

b   an extraordinary village.

c   a very small village.

d   a village on top of a mountain.

2 After excavation, the archaeologists discovered a huge

a   king’s palace.

b   emperor’s courtyard.

c   Buddhist monastery.

d   Hindu temple.

3 How many phases of excavation of Paharpur have been mentioned in the text?

a   four

b   five

c   six

d   seven

4 What objects indicate that the site was built by the second Pala king?

a   earthen seals

b   ceramic seals

c   stone seals

d   iron seals

5 The word ‘ benefactors’ in the text means

a   banks.

b   famous businessmen.

c   people with money.

d   financial supporters.

D. Read the text again. Work in pairs. Ask and answer the following questions.

1 Why is the village named Paharpur?

2 Where is it located?

3 What is it famous for?

4 What did Cunningham find when he was digging the Paharpur site?

5 Why was the site officially stated to be preserved?

Now write the answers in your exercise book.

E. Do you have any old or ancient relic in your city/town/village? Write about it with the help of the following questions.

• When was it established?

• Who built it?

• How does it look like?

• How big is it?

• What was it for?

• What is its present condition?

• Why do you like it?

If you don’t have any such relic, surf the Internet for a relic in Bangladesh that you find interesting and write about it with the help of the above questions.

If you want to read the next lesson of this unit please click the link below:

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