Archaeologists have urged the government to declare Bhitargarh of Panchagarh a heritage site, saying the district has potential to become a tourist spot as more than 200 archaeological sites of some 1500 years old are yet to be discovered. Built in the sixth or the seventh century, Bhitagarh, 16 kilometres south of the Panchagarh town, is under Amarkhana union of the district sadar upazila. With the assistance of 34 students of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, led by their teacher Shahnaj Husne Jahan, studying under the course ‘Experiencing the Past,’ workers have recovered parts of monuments and temples since January 10. The full structure of the monument and the temple is expected to be excavated by March. The excavation work began in January 2009 and digging took place a number of times. During the digging, 12 archaeological sites have been discovered, including monuments and temples.
‘The name of Panchagarh district is believed to have originated from five fortresses. But there are more than 15 fortresses,’ young archaeologist Shahnaj Husne Jahan told a reception accorded to her on Sunday at the auditorium of Nazrul Library. Chaired by deputy commissioner, Banamali Bhowmik, the function was addressed by the Panchagarh Government College principal, Giasuddin, the library’s secretary, Moklesur Rahman Minto and educationist Haashim Akhtar M Karim Dad. Shahnaj Husne Jahan read out her two-hour presentation and said the structure appears to be a place for religious worship. ‘Although Bhitargarh has many archaeological values, it is yet to be declared as the heritage site, she said.
Established in the sixth or seventh century, Bhitargarh fort city had a sovereign administration, she continued. Built on important trade routes, the fort city had trade links with Tibet, Bhutan, China as well as with West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and Punhdrabardhan of India. The samples of this site are not similar to those found in other archaeological sites like Kuchbihar, Moinamati, Paharpur, and Mohasthangar,’ Jahan noted. ‘The city was well protected by four walls. Among the walls, two outer walls were made by clay. In the front, it has two trenches. The inner walls were made by bricks,’ Jahan said.