होम Culture / History Jharkhand’s Rich Heritage: Benisagar as ancient temples and sculptures

Jharkhand’s Rich Heritage: Benisagar as ancient temples and sculptures

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Benisagar, nestled in the Majhgaon Block of Jharkhand, lies a hidden historical gem waiting to be unveiled. The site, located approximately 85 km south of Chaibasa, boasts the Benisagar tank, named after the visionary Benu Raja who possibly excavated this expansive water reservoir.

Benisagar or Benusagar (Lat. 210 59′ 02” N., Long. – 850 53′ 39” E.) is situated in Majhgaon Block of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand and very close to the border of Mayurbhanj district of Orissa

Discovery of Benisagar: A Glimpse into the Past

Colonel Tickel, during his visit in 1840, first reported the existence of Benisagar. Later, in 1875 AD, J.D. Beglar explored the area and observed sculptures that led him to attribute the site’s origin to the 7th century AD. Despite local tradition crediting Benu Raja with the tank’s excavation, archaeological confirmation is still pending.

Jharkhand's Rich Heritage: Benisagar as ancient temples and sculptures

Archaeological Revelations: Panchayatana Temple Complex and Beyond

Recent excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India along the southeast and eastern embankments of the tank have unearthed a wealth of historical treasures. Among these discoveries are two Panchayatana temple complexes, secular structures, and numerous sculptural remains depicting Surya, Bhairava, Lakulisha, Agni, Kubera, and more.

One significant find is a stone seal bearing the inscription “Priyangu Dheyam Chatuvidya,” signifying a person named Priyangu, proficient in the four Vedas. The inscription, in Brahmi script and Sanskrit language, is believed to date back to the 5th century AD. Based on these findings, it can be inferred that the site was inhabited from the 5th century AD to the 16th – 17th century AD.

Jharkhand's Rich Heritage: Benisagar as ancient temples and sculptures

Archaeological Endeavors in Benisagar: A Glimpse into the Past

The Archaeological Survey of India, Ranchi Circle, conducted scientific clearance work during the 2009-10 field season at Benisagar. The excavation within the modern boundary wall revealed multiple Panchayatan temples, housing sculptures of Agni, Ganesh, Mahisasurmardani, Surya, Brahma Sirochhedak, Bhairav, Lakulisa, and more.

Among the discoveries were fragments showcasing intricate temple architecture, door lintels, and door jambs. Additionally, a panel of stone depicting erotic scenes added an intriguing layer to the historical narrative.

Jharkhand's Rich Heritage: Benisagar as ancient temples and sculptures

Concluding the Journey Through Time

Benisagar stands as a testament to the rich historical tapestry of Jharkhand. The discoveries not only shed light on the religious and cultural practices of the past but also highlight the artistic and architectural prowess of the ancient inhabitants. As archaeological endeavors continue, Benisagar promises to unveil more secrets, inviting us to connect with our roots and appreciate the depth of India’s heritage.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Why is Benisagar significant in historical terms? Benisagar holds historical significance due to its ancient tank, Panchayatana temple complexes, and a plethora of sculptural remains dating back to the 5th century AD.

Q2: Who is believed to have excavated the Benisagar tank? According to local tradition, Benu Raja is credited with the excavation of the Benisagar tank, though archaeological confirmation is pending.

Q3: What inscription was found during the excavations? A stone seal with the inscription “Priyangu Dheyam Chatuvidya” was discovered, indicating a person well-versed in the four Vedas, dating back to the 5th century AD.

Q4: What kind of sculptures were uncovered at Benisagar? The excavations revealed sculptures of Agni, Ganesh, Mahisasurmardani, Surya, Brahma Sirochhedak, Bhairav, Lakulisa, along with a panel depicting erotic scenes.

Q5: What is the timeframe of human habitation at the Benisagar site? Based on archaeological findings, it is estimated that the site was inhabited from the 5th century AD to the 16th – 17th century AD.

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