Gauḍa region: Wikis

Advertisements
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

Advertisements

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gauda (Bengali: গৌড়), was a territory located in Bengal in ancient and mediaeval times.[1] [2]

Contents

Location and extent

The Arthashastra of Chanakya (around 350–-283 BC) refers to it along with Vanga, Pundra and Kamarupa. This geographical idea continues with some of the ancient texts. Varahamihira (around 6th century AD), in his Brhat Sanghita mentions six distinct janapadas viz: Gaudaka, Paundra, Vanga, Samatata, Vardhamana and Tamralipta. It appears from his narration that Murshidabad district, Birbhum district, and western parts of Bardhaman district formed the territory of ancient Gauda.[2]Gauda and Vanga are sometimes used side by side.[1]

Shashanka, the first important king of ancient Bengal who is believed to have ruled between 600 AD and 625 AD, had his capital at Karnasubarna, 9.6 kilometres (6.0 mi) south-west of Baharampur, headquarters of Murshidabad district.[1]. The Chinese monk, Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) travelled from the country of Karnasubarna to a region in coastal Orissa, and the area was ruled by Shashanka.[2]There is mention of Pundravardhana being part of Gauda in certain ancient records.[3]

Evidence seems to be discrepant regarding links of Gauda with the Rarh region. While Krishna Mishra (eleventh or twelfth century AD), in his Prabodha-chandrodaya, mentions that Gauda rashtra includes Rarh (or Rarhpuri) and Bhurishreshthika, identified with Bhurshut, in Hooghly and Howrah districts, but the Managoli inscription of the Yadava king Jaitugi I distinguishes Lala (Rarh) from Gaula (Gauda).[1]

According to Jain writers of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Gauda included Lakshmanavati in present day Malda district.[1]

The Pala kings were referred to Vangapati (Lord of Vanga) and Gaudesvara (Lord of Gauda). Sena kings also called themselves Gaudesvara. From then Gauda and Vanga seem to be interchangeable names for whole of Bengal.[1]

In the early Muslim period the name Gauda came to be applied to Lakhanavati in Malda district.[1]

Gour,Ruined City

Gaur, or Gour (Bengali: গৌড়), as it is spelt mostly in modern times, or Lakhnauti is a ruined city, in the Malda district of West Bengal, India, on the west bank of the Ganges river, 40 kilometers downstream from Rajmahal.

History

It is said to have been founded by the mythic figure Lakshmana, and its most ancient name was Lakshmanavati, corrupted into "Lakhnauti". The area was known as Gauda (Gauka, of Gau/Cow) at the time was under the rule of famous Bengali kings such as Sasanka. In the 7th century Gopala by a democratic election in Gaur became the first independent Buddhist king of Bengal and founded the Pala Empire. The Pala dynasty ruled for nearly four centuries between the mid to late 8th century to 12th century CE. The Palas were often described by opponents as the Lords of Gauda. It was also a prosperous city during the Sena dynasty's rule in Bengal. However, its most well documented history begins with its conquest in 1198 by the Muslims, who retained it as the chief seat of their power in Bengal for more than three centuries. Around the year 1350, the Sultans of Bengal established their independence, and transferred their seat of government to Pandua (qv.), also in Malda district. To build their new capital, they plundered Gaur of every monument that could be removed. When Pandua was in its turn deserted (1453), Gaur once more became the capital under the name of Jannatabad; it remained so as long as the Muslim kings retained their independence. In 1564 Sulaiman Kirani, a Pashtun adventurer, abandoned it for Tanda, a place somewhat nearer the Ganges. Gaur was sacked by Sher Shah in 1539, and was occupied by Akbar's general in 1575, when Daud Shah, the last of the Afghan dynasty, refused to pay homage to the Mughal emperor. This occupation was followed by an outbreak of the plague and course changeof river Ganges, which completed the downfall of the city. Since then it has been little better than a heap of ruins, almost overgrown with jungle.

Geography

Gaur is located at 24°52′N 88°08′E / 24.867°N 88.133°E / 24.867; 88.133 near the India-Bangladesh international border. It has an average elevation of 22 metres. Gaur lies in the Eastern bank of the rivers Bhagirathi and Pagla.

Historical Measurements and Statistics

The city in its prime measured 7 1/8 m. from north to south, with a breadth of 1 to 2 m. With suburbs it covered an area of 20 to 30 m²., and in the 16th century the Portuguese historian Faria y Sousa described it as containing 1,200,000 inhabitants. The ramparts of this walled city (which was surrounded by extensive suburbs) still exist; they were works of vast labor, and were on the average about 40 ft (12 m) high, and 180 to 200 ft (61 m) thick at the base. The facing of masonry and the buildings with which they were covered have now disappeared, and the embankments themselves are overgrown with dense jungle. The western side of the city was washed by the Ganges, and within the space enclosed by these embankments and the river stood the city of Gaur proper, with the fort containing the palace in its south-west corner. Radiating north, south and east from the city, other embankments are to be traced running through the suburbs and extending in certain directions for 30 or 40 m. Surrounding the palace is an inner embankment of similar construction to that which surrounds the city, and even more overgrown with jungle. A deep moat protects it on the outside. To the north of the outer embankment lies the Sagar Dighi, a great reservoir, 1600 yd. by 800 yd., dating from 1126.

Architecture

Fergusson in his History of Eastern Architecture thus describes the general architectural style of Gaur: "It is neither like that of Delhi nor Jaunpur, nor any other style, but one purely local and not without considerable merit in itself; its principal characteristic being heavy short pillars of stone supporting pointed arches and vaults in brick whereas at Jaunpore, for instance, light pillars carried horizontal architraves and flat ceilings. Owing to the lightness of the small, thin bricks, which were chiefly used in the making of Gaur, its buildings have not well withstood the ravages of time and the weather; while much of its enamelled work has been removed for the ornamentation of the surrounding cities of more modern origin. Moreover, the ruins long served as a quarry for the builders of neighboring towns and villages, till in 1900 steps were taken for their preservation by the government. The finest ruin in Gaur is that of the Great Golden Mosque, also called Bara Darwaza, or twelve doored (1526). An arched corridor running along the whole front of the original building is the principal portion now standing. There are eleven arches on either side of the corridor and one at each end of it, from which the mosque probably obtained its name. These arches are surmounted by eleven domes in fair preservation; the mosque had originally thirty-three."

Early 19th century lithograph of the Muslim ruins of Dakhil Darwaza at Gour,West Bengal

Notable structures

The Small Golden or Eunuchs' mosque, in the ancient suburb of Firozpur, has fine carving, and is faced with stone fairly well preserved. The Tantipar mosque (1475 - 1480) has beautiful moulding in brick, and the Lotan mosque of the same period is unique in retaining its glazed tiles. The citadel, of the Muslim period, was strongly fortified with a rampart and entered through a magnificent gateway called the Dakhil Darwaza (1459-1474). At the south-east corner was a palace, surrounded by a wall of brick 66 ft (20 m) high, of which a part is standing. Near by were the royal tombs. Within the citadel is the Kadam Rasut mosque (1530), which is still used, and close out side is a tall tower called the Firoz Minar (perhaps signifying tower of victory). There are a number of Muslim buildings on the banks of the Sagar Dighi, including, notably, the tomb of the saint Makhdum Shaikh Akhi Siraj (d. 1357), and in the neighborhood is a burning ghat, traditionally the only one allowed to the use of the Hindus by their Muslim conquerors, and still greatly venerated and frequented by them.

Many inscriptions of historical importance have been found in the ruins. -

See M. Martin (Buchanan Hamilton), Eastern India, vol. iii. (1831); G. H. Ravenshaw, Gaur (1878); James Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture (1876); Reports of the Archaeological Surveyor, Bengal Circle (1900-1904).

Archaeological Preservation, Restoration and Excavation

The monuments of Gour are now looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India. The brick work of several monuments have been restored, though none to its early perfection or completeness. The ASI is also carrying out excavations of a mound about a kilometer from the Chikha building within the Baisgaji wall where remains of a palace are turning up.

Exhibitions on Gour

A permanent artefact and photographic exhibition highlighting the major monuments of Gour and the restoration work undertaken by the ASI is being held at the Metcalfe Hall, Kolkata. Among the exhibits are also some fine specimens of brick moulding and glazed tiles from Gour.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Majumdar, Dr. R.C., History of Ancient Bengal, first published 1971, reprint 2005, pp. 5-6, Tulshi Prakashani, Kolkata, ISBN 81-89118-01-3.
  2. ^ a b c Ghosh, Suchandra. "Gauda". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/G_0047.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-22.  
  3. ^ Bandopadhyay, Rakhaldas, Bangalar Itihas, (Bengali), first published 1928, revised edition 1971, vol I, p 101, Nababharat Publishers, 72 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kolkata.



Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message