ASI digs up 5th century city near Odisha border

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI ) has dug up a 5th century city near Odisha's border area, said reliable reports on Monday.

Mayurbhanj: Hundreds of artifacts have been excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI ) from Benisagar, a village in the border area of Odisha. The city ruins suggest continuous habitation from the fifth century A.D. to 16-17 century A.D.

Archaeologists are continuously researching and studying the sculptures, stone figures found from here. Many things that arouse curiosity have also been found here, whose secret may be unravelled in the coming years.

The ASI has included Benisagar in the list of 100 most prominent archaeological monuments of the country.

The place was first visited by Colonel Tickell of the British Army in 1840, and in 1875 AD, an historian J.D. Beglar visited Benisagar and found some sculptures here. On the basis of these idols, he ascribed the date of the site to 7th century A.D. Historian KC Panigrahi also published a paper in 1956 about the archaeological remains.

In 2003, the ASI carried out excavation here for the first time.

This place was named Benisagar because of a huge pond of size 300 by 340 meters, about which legend is prevalent in the local areas that it was built by a king named Beni or Benu.

Excavations carried out by the ASI towards the south-east and eastern embankment of this tank have brought to light many sculptural remains including two Panchayatan temple complexes, images of Surya, Bhairava, Lakulisha, Agni, Kuber etc.

Apart from these, a stone seal has also been found from the site, which has the inscription “Priyangu Dheyam Chatuvidya (Chaturvidya)”, indicating there was a person named Priyangu, who was well-versed in the four Vedas. The script of the inscription is Brahmi and the language is Sanskrit.

Some scholars are of the view that the seal recovered from Benisagar shows that it was a centre of learning, where four Vedas were taught.

Moreover, the recovery of stones denoting Kama and copulation scenes, indicate that sex education was not a taboo during that time.

Historians believe that Benisagar must have been an area under the influence of Tantrism and Shaivism.

According to the website of the Archaeological Survey of India, it can be considered to be of 5th century from the epigraphic point of view. Based on the discoveries so far, it can be said that this site was inhabited from 5th century to 16th-17th century.

Benisagar is situated near the border of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.

Professor Ajay Rawat, Head of the Department of History, AP College, Mayurbhanj, says that many kings ruled for many decades in the region adjacent to Odisha.

Excavations and remains found at Benisagar confirm that it must have been under the rule of the king of Odisha. The temple architecture here can be compared to the Rekha Deula type of architecture prevalent in Odisha.

During the scientific excavations carried out here in the years 2009-10 and 2019-20, stone panels depicting images of Agni, Ganesh, Mahishasura Mardani, Surya, Brahma, Shirochedak, Bhairav, Lakulish, Yamuna, Shivling were found. Apart from this, many sections of temple architecture such as door-jambs, branches and headboard, among others, were found.

These evidences have been placed in a museum built in Benisagar. At some distance from this museum, some remains of buildings belonging to the old civilisation are also present. Looking at their curved texture, it seems that there is an old time bath house.

Besides, the remains of the temple complex spread over an area of ​​50 acres have also been found here. A huge stone near the temple, which when striked by another stone produces sound of a bell. The guards engaged in the security of the archaeological site say that its sound can be heard up to a kilometer in the night.

The huge pond of 300 x 350 meters is special attraction of this place, which the villagers never dries up. While other ponds in the area often dry up in summer.

A view point is being made by the administration around the pond for the convenience of tourists, where they can sit and enjoy the beauty of nature.

The Union Government plans to provide necessary tourist facilities, including audio visual center, WiFi, Audiorail, Water Management System at the sites marked as archaeological monuments across the country.


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