In 1962-63, Dr. Sudhir Ranjan Das (former Professor and Head of the Department of Archaeology, Calcutta University
found unprecedented result after excavating a small part of a site at Rajbari Danga
), in Rangamati Gram Panchayat, Murshidabad,
measuring more or less 100 feet x 100 feet and found the ruins of the said famous
) and ended the long drawn speculation of the
historians regarding identification of the Rakta-mrittikā Mahavihara and the capital city of
Karnasubarna from where Shashanka (শশাঙ্ক
the first recorded historical ruler said to be credited with the introduction of the Bengali Calendar (Bangabda
on and from Monday the 12th
April, 593 AD. Monday was selected because it corresponds to the day, dedicated to Lord Siva and King Shashanka was a devout Shaiva
) had all potentiality of becoming a place of attraction to the merchants,
religious missionaries, explorers and ambitious political fortune makers.
Surrounded by high mounds as well as fertile soil, Karnasubarna got the favour of great river like
Bhagirathi which provided navigability and other amenities required for the growth of the Capital city.
In such way eastern region of India has been colonized. It is clearly proved form the discovery of a stone
plaque of the 4th
century AD from a Buddhist temple in Malay peninsula that Buddhism was well
established in Karnasubarna at least before the 4th
Karnasubarna :: Hiuen Tsang's Account
Hiuen Tsang (হিউয়েন সাং
) came in India in 629 AD.
He visited the sacred Buddhist sites in Magadha and spent much time studying at the great Nalanda monastery.
The Pilgrim next travelled to parts of Bengal (western, northern and southeastern) and then to South and West India.
On his return to China in 645 AD Hiuen Tsang retired to a monastery and devoted his energy to translating Buddhist texts until his death in 664 AD.
Hiuen Tsang visited Karnasubarna or Kie-lo-na-su-fa-la-na
during the reign
the king of Thaneshwar, which is referred in his biography Da Tang Xiyu Ji
or Da Tang Hsi-yu Chi
("Records of the Western Regions of the Great Tang Dynasty
According to the pilgrim, he moved from Tan-mo-lih-ti (te)
to the country of Kie-lo-na-su-fa-la-na
saw the existence of a monastery known as Lo-to-no-chi
(লো-টো-মো-চি বা লো-টো-বি-তি
), which was described as a magnificent and famous establishment,
the resort of illustrious brethren. The halls of which was spacious and the storied towers were lofty.
In this establishment congregated all the most distinguished, learned and celebrated men of the kingdom.
A glimpse of the religious life of Karnasubarna can be guessed from the writings of Hiuen Tsang.
People belonging to different religions lived there. That Buddhism was in a flourishing state is amply
evident from the magnificent and famous Rakta-mrittikā Mahavihara situated in its neighbourhood.
From Hiuen Tsang we also learn that Buddhists of the Sammatiya School
) mainly resided in the ten monasteries at Karnasubarna. Apart from the monasteries there were also fifty temples. He also
mentioned about a Stupa
built by Ashoka
. When Tathâgata
was alive he preached here for seven days, explaining the law and guiding men. There were several other stupas in places where Buddha preached.
Hiuen Tsang gives a graphic description of Karnasubarna, which acquaints us with the locality and its people.
According to him "This kingdom was about 1400 or 1500 li in circuit; the capital was about 20 li.......
the country was well inhabited and the people were very rich. The land was low and moist,
farming operations were regular, flowers and fruits were abundant, the climate was temperate and the people
were of good character and were patrons of learning
". This description indicates the flourishing
state of the country.
Karnasubarna was famous as a prosperous politico-administrative, military and religious urban centre.
Its fame was however short lived. It came into prominence with the rise of Shashanka in the early
part of the 7th
century AD and passed into oblivion by the end of that very century.
Xuanzang's (Hiuen Tsang) :: Travel from China to India and return
Download Hiuen Tsang's Route Map
Karnasubarna :: Spread of Buddhism
In the early decades of Buddhism the wandering monks of the Sangha, dedicated to asceticism and the monastic life,
had no fixed abode. During the rainy season they stayed in temporary shelters. These dwellings were simple
wooden constructions or thatched bamboo huts. However, as it was considered an act of merit not only to
feed a monk but also to shelter him, splendid monasteries were created by rich lay devotees.
"The wealth specially of the rich merchantile community, a large percentage of whom formed the class of lay
disciples, was utilized in erecting Buddhist edifices. Every pious Buddhist tried to contribute whatever
he could; the poor came forward with their offer of skill and labour; thus grew up a large number of
". [ Buddhist monuments - By Debala Mitra (1971)
The monasteries were located near settlements, close enough for begging alms from the population but
with enough solitude for undisturbed meditation.
Trade routes were therefore ideal locations for a vihara and donations from wealthy traders
increased their economic strength.
From the first century AD onwards viharas also developed into educational institutions, due to the increasing demands for teaching in Mahayana Buddhism.
Buddhism had spread to this region during the Maurya king Ashoka. When Hiuen Tsang visited Karnasubarna he mentioned about a stupa built by Ashoka.
"As vinaya texts are generally believed to have preserved traditions of pre-Asokan days, these passages
may be taken to indicate that Buddhism had probably obtained a footing in North Bengal even before Asoka's time.
The great missionary activity of Asoka and the traditions about him recorded in the Divyāvadāna and also by
Hiuen Tsang, make it highly probable that Buddhism was not unknown in Bengal during the reign of that great emperor".
[ Dr. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar রমেশ চন্দ্র মজুমদার ]
Karnasubarna :: Trading Metropolis
Ruins of shrines exist in the region round Takua Pa
, south of Thiland,
which has been identified with Ptolemy's Takkola. Oposite of Takua Pa, on the
eastern coast, round the Bay of Bandon are the remains of early settlements, specially in the three well
known sites Caiya
, Nakhon Sri Dhammarat
, and Vieng Sra
The inscriptions found at Ligor
and Takua Pa, and the Sanskrit inscription on a pillar at Caiya show that
these settlements sould not be before the 4th
A large number of inscriptions have been discovered in different parts of the country.
They are written in Sanskrit and in Indian alphabets of about the 4th
Two of them reproduce a well-known formula of the Buddhist creed, and this proves the spread of Buddhism
in that region. One of these inscriptions refers to the "captiain (Mahānāvika, the great sailor) Buddhagupta, an inhabitant of Rakta-mrittikā
The presence of a master mariner or captain of a large ship, hailing from Rakta-mrittikā, in the Malay Peninsula suggests maritime trade
links between Bengal and Southeast Asia. It is significant that the Chiruti region adjacent to the Bhagirathi,
which could have served as one of the channels of maritime trade.
From the Chandi-mangal kavya (চন্ডীমঙ্গল কাব্য
) of Mukundarām Cakravartī
in the 15th
century, we come to know that though Karnasubarna lost its political importance
trading still continued in this region. The kingdom of Ujjaini or Ujani (উজানি
) existed at the confluence of river Ajay and Bhagirathi,
south of Karnasubarna (present Katwa কাটোয়া
, Ketugram কেতুগ্রাম
, Mangalkot মঙ্গলকোট
area). Dhanapati (character of Mangal-Kavya), a trader by profession
stayed at Golahat village of Ujjaini. Dhanapati and later his son Srimanta both carried out trade with Ceylon.
From Chandi-mangal kavya we get the names of Golahat গোলাহাট
Patan bil পাটন বিল
Bhandardaha bil ভান্ডার দহের বিল
etc. which are all located near by Karnasubarna.
In the Chandi-mangal Kavya Karnasubarna is referred as Karnapur (কর্নপুর
Trade from Karnasubarna was carried out through land and water to Ceylon, South East Asia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China.
Based on Mahabharata evidence, the ancient kingdom of the Anga (অঙ্গ
) which roughly corresponded to the region of Bhagalpur, Banka and Monghyr in Bihar, later extended to include parts of Bengal.
The capital of Anga was Champa (চম্পা
) which was located on the right bank of river Ganges near its junction with river Champa (modern Chandan).
Champa was noted for its wealth and commerce. It was also a great center of trade and commerce and its merchants regularly sailed to distant Suvarnabhumi
(the "Golden Land" or "Land of Gold", refers broadly to extensive region in Southeast Asia
) for trading purposes.
On their way to Suvarnabhumi they used to pass through the following areas of
Ujjaini or Ujani (উজানি
The names of these places can be found in the book
) By Bengali scholar Nalu Panchanana
where he narrates the story of Chand Sadagar (চাঁদ সওদাগর
) during the reign of King Adisur (700 - 900 AD) -
|গোলাহাট ডিহিগঞ্জ সুরম্য নগরী।
||Golahat and Dihiganj were beautiful places
|যাহা চাঁদ সদাগরের ব্যবসা নগরী।।
||was Chand Sadagars trading place
|জয়া দেবী নামে এক দেবী আরাধয়।
||He used to worship goddess named Jayadevi (Durga)
|মনসা দেবীর সহ বিবাদ করয়।।
||Because of which He came in conflict with goddess Manasa
|তিন্তিড়ী বৃক্ষের মূলে দেবীর দেউল।
||Under a Tamarind Tree is the Shrine of goddess
|বহু বণিক পূজে দেবীকে মানে বণিককূল।।
||Many Traders worship her and have faith in her
|সেই চাঁদ সদাগর রাজার সমীপে।
||Chand Sadagar went to the King (Adisur)
|দেবী পূজা লাগি ভূমি মাঙ্গে ভূপে।।
||and asked for land, for building temples of Jayadevi
|এক শত ষাটী বিঘা দেবীর কারণ।
||For the godesses one hundred and sixty bighas
|ভূ-সম্পত্তি মহারাজ করিলেন দান।।
||of land was donated by the King
|সে ভূমির কর না লইবেন আপনি।
||No tax will be recovered from the land (Devottar land)
|ডিহির অন্তর্গত বিংশতি গ্রাম গণি।।
||of Twenty villages within the area of Dihiganj
|নবদুর্গা রাঙ্গাবলী করলা যসুরী।
||Nabadurga, Rangaboli, Karla, Jashohari, (Village names)
|চৌকী কাটনাদী উহাঁনি ভিতরি।।
||Chowki, Katnadi within Dihiganj
There is a temple of Jaimongala at Nabadurga, Golahat village near Kandhi (30km from Berhampore), and it is beleived that it was built by Chand Sadagar. The villages which were given by King Adisur as Devottar land to Chand Sadagar, viz
Nabadurga, Rangaboli, Karla, Jashohari, Chowki etc still exist today.
Rajbari Danga :: Excavation (রাজবাড়ীডাঙ্গা), Jadupur
With a view to identifying Karnasubarna, the traditional capital city of Shashanka with its stupas,
monasteries and other monuments mentioned by Hiuen Tsang, the Department of
Archaeology, University of Calcutta, under Dr. S. R. Das, conducted excavation at
Rajbari Danga at Jadupur, District Murshidabad in 1962-63 AD. The site lies at a distance of 2.4 Km from
the Chiruti railway station. The excavation revealed five phases of structures [Image A
Noteworthy among these were: remains of a platform, two circular basements (probably of a stupa
and lime plastered steps in Phase III and four square structures showing carved brickwork and
having pradakshina patha
etc.. in Phase V. The structural remains of Phases I and II
were represented by brick pavements and those of Phase IV by a wall running over the circular basements
of the preceding Phase.
The archaeological remains found from the excavated site of Rajbaridanga points to the fact that Karnasubarna
was an urban centre. It is likely that a number of rural settlements like Gokarna, Mahalandi, Saktipur etc
came into existence around the capital city to cater to the daily needs of its citizens.
On the basis of terracotta sealings and figurines, Phase I could be assigned to circa 3rd
and Phase III to 6th
century A.D. The two subsequent Phases belonged
to circa 8th
century A.D. Some of the seals recovered from the excavation bore the
Buddhist formula and point to the existence of a Buddhist monastery.
The plan of the monastery was designed on an ancient pattern, i.e. rows of cells round a central courtyard.
The most significant clue to the identification of the famous
(লো-টো-মো-চি বা লো-টো-বি-তি
described by Hiuen Tsang to be situated in the suburbs of Karnasubarna, the capital of Gauda in the 7th
is given by a sealing excavated from Phase III.
This sealing bears the Dharmachakra Deer
symbol on its upper register and two
lines of inscription on the lower part.
Line 1: Shri - Rakta[m]rttika - (ma)havaiha Line 2: rik - arya - bhiksu -[sanga] s[y]a
[This is the seal of the community of the noble monks of the Great Monastery at the illustrious Raktamrttika
Another fragmentary sealing bears three lines of inscription on the lower register.
Line 1: Raktangrtti (kayam) Line 2: (vi)har(e) (Arya) Line 3: bhiksu
It is important to note that the period of the sealings tallies with the period of the visit of Hiuen Tsang.
Beautiful stucco mouldings, terracotta lamps, two stucco heads belonging to the Gupta period
and a copper chakra of circa 8th
century A.D., terracotta figurines, including those of a
votive nature and a female deity, constituted the other noteworthy finds. Amongst pottery,
mention may be made of a few sherds of grey ware, painted in black, decorated ware showing such
designs as crosses, triangles, wavy lines, cheques etc. and bottle-necked
sprinklers. A few pieces of the Northern Black Polished Ware were also recovered from a pit,
evidently out of any stratigraphical context. The history of the site encompasses three culture
sequences, and, in terms of their characteristic, the sequence may be thus arranged ::
||'Characterized by the presence of plain and crude pottery and absence of inscribed seals'
|(second-third to fourth-fifth century)
||'Rich cultural equipments distinguised by inscribed seals and other antiquities'
|(fifth-sixth to ninth-tenth century)
||'Declining stage - marked off by the absence of seals'
|(ninth-tenth to twelfth-thirteenth century)
Rajbari Danga Gallery
Karnasubarna :: The Lost Kingdom
In the Vedic literature of Brahmanas
of 800 to 600 BC,
two countries viz. Anga
at the eastern part of India were mentioned.
Anga was found to be at the east of Magadha
and its capital was Champa
(Near present Bhagalpur
During the Mahabharata period there Kingdoms like Gandhar, Madra, Bairat, Sindhu, Kasipa, Hastinapura,
Indraprastha, Mathura, Panchala, Kasi, Koshal etc, and these Kingdoms were more or less independent.
The similar ways Bengal as was also divided into many independent kingdoms like
Dwar-Vanga, Pundra Vardhana, Karnasubarna
(also known as Kan-sona কানসোনা
Karnabona Gadh কর্নবোনাগড়
Karna Gadh কর্নগড়
), Gouda, Magadha, Radha, Samatata, Dandabhukti etc.
Acording to Dr. Sudhir Ranjan Das (ডক্টর সুধীর রঞ্জন দাস
) the urban city of Karnasubarna consisted of the following areas of
Berhampore Sub-Division, Murshidabad District.
The urban city of Karnasubarna or Kan-sona (কানসোনা)
||Rangamati Chandpara (রাঙামাটি চাঁদপাড়া)
||Pratappur Chandpara (প্রতাপপুর চাঁদপাড়া)
||Chawk Chandpara (চক চাঁদপাড়া)
||Char Khidirpur (চর খিদিরপুর)
||Char Halalpur (চর হালালপুর)
||Char Mahula (চর মহুলা)
||Arazi Madhupur (আরাজী মধুপুর)
||Arazi Chiruti (আরাজী চিরুটী)
||Bil Chowti (বিল চৌটি)
||T o t a l A r e a :
||8774.65 acres or 35.5 sq Km
Rural area under Berhampore block
consists of 17 gram panchayats,
viz. 1) Bhakuri-I, 2) Haridasmati, 3) Niyallispara Goaljan, 4) Rangamati Chandpara, 5) Bhakuri-II,
6) Hatinagar, 7) Radharghat-II, 8) Chhaighari, 9) Madanpur, 10) Radharghat-I, 11) Satui Chaurigachha, 12) Daulatabad,
13) Manindranagar, 14) Rajdharpara, 15) Gurudaspur, 16) Naodapanur and 17) Sahajadpur
Urban area under this block consists of three towns: Cossimbazar, Goaljan and Gora Bazar.
Berhampore Town and Daulatabad police stations serve this block. Headquarters of this block is in Berhampore, Murshidabad.
List of Villages :: Rangamati Chandpara Gram Panchayat
||Majhira (Main Village)
Rakshashi Danga or Devil's Mound:: Excavation (রাক্ষসীডাঙা), Pratappur
This mound was discovered by K.N. Dixit in 1928-29 and was lying idle for 80 years,
when on 22nd
March, 2010, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state's
archaeological department started a joint excavation at Chandpara
mouza in Pratappur
Rakshashi Danga রাক্ষসীডাঙা
is surrounded by
Sanyasi Danga সন্ন্যাসীডাঙা
Rajbari Danga রাজবাড়ীডাঙ্গা
Bhimki Tala ভীমকিতলা
Nilkuthi Mound. This mound is 4.5 metres higher than Rajbari Danga
which is nearby.
Several wall segments forming three-room units that measure about 10m x 8m each, a narrow passage and signs of an entrance
have been uncovered. The bricks used here are hand-made, about 30-36 cm long, 26 cm wide and 5-6 cm thick, such as those used in the
pre-Pala era. Some of the bricks are decorated. Excavation revealed a rich haul of dull red pottery, small clay pots, objects of shell, a clay seal,
pieces of stucco and lamps. The pottery fragments are home utensils like woks and bowls. Utensils for daily use made of
iron and copper have also been found. Burnt clay horses, elephants and peacocks have been found here too.
The clay seal found here contains inscriptions resembling that of the 3rd
According to Susmita Basu Majumdar
, of Department of Ancient Indian History & Culture (Calcutta University), this
Seal dates back to 7th
Century and was not a Royal seal.
From Rakshashi danga three idol heads were found. According to archaeologists these were not part of any other idol, they
were worshipped by the people as idol heads itself. According to Sri Amal Roy
, the superintendent of the state archaeology department team
"It is not yet known whether these heads are of any deity or not..
Since the site is very near to Karnasubarna, the Capital city of Shashanka, this place may be a part of the
century Karnasubarna metropolis. "The objects resemble the finds at Deka. Taken
together the area could grow into a tourist hotspot once we manage to uncover it fully
"-- Amal Roy.
(The Deka site is 35 km from Rakshashi Danga site and dates back to 6th Century
Rakshashi Danga Gallery
How to Reach
Located on the Katawa - Azimganj rail line, Karnasubarna is best reached via Berhampore.
It is best to take a local bus to Khagra Ghat Station, followed by a local train ride to Karnasubarna (earlier Chiruti চিরুটী
By Road :
One can also hire a car and take the route from Berhampore
Uttar Para more (turn left)
Berhampore Bus stand to Uttar Para more - 2 Km
Uttar Para moreto Jadupur more - 9.8 Km
By Rail :
Berhampore Bus stand
Karnasubarna Station (Chiruti)
Berhampore Bus stand to Khagraghat Station - 4.5 Km
Khagraghat Station to Karnasubarna Station (Chiruti) - 11 Km
Karnasubarna Station (Chiruti) to Rajbari Danga - 2.4 Km.
[Location Map : 24°01'35"N 88°10'40"E
Download Route Map :: karnasubarna-map.pdf
Kie-lo-na-su-fa-la-na : In Chinese. Kin 'rh, "gold-ear" The town of Rangamati north of Murshidabad,
stands on the site of an old city called Kurusona-ka-gadh, supposed to be a Bengali corruption of the name in the text.
[ Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, by Hiuen Tsiang, translated by Samuel Beal 1825-1889 ]
"To the south-east of the great city 6 or 7 li, on the south side of the Ganges, is a stupa about 200 feet in
height, built by Asoka-raja. When in the world, Tathâgata in this place preached for six months on the impermanency
of the body (anatma), on sorrow (dukha), on unreality (anitya), and impurity....
Moreover there is a little stupa, containing the hair and nails of Tathâgata. If a sick person with sincere faith walks round this he obtains immediate recovery and increase of religious merit".
[ Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, by Hiuen Tsiang, translated by Samuel Beal 1825-1889 ]
- Bengal District Gazetteers, Murshidabad - By L.S.S. O'Malley (1914)
- Si-yu-ki, Buddhist records of the Western world (1884) - By Hsuan-tsang ca.596-664 translated By Samuel Beal 1825-1889.
- Studying Early India: Archaeology, Texts and Historical Issues - By Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya
- Indian Archaeology - 1962-63 A Review, Edited by A Ghosh, Director General of Archaeology in India
- The literature of Bengal - By Romesh Chunder Dutt (1895)
- Buddhist monuments - By Debala Mitra (1971)
- History Of Bengali Language And Literature (1911) - By Dinesh Chandra Sen