Bangladesh is a country that still has many artifacts from its pre-Islamic and post-Islamic ages, particularly from the medieval time period, that have not yet been found. The region’s difficult geology, severe climate, and relative isolation from the rest of the subcontinent all contributed to its extended era of underinvestment in archaeological exploration and research. This was especially true throughout the early part of the region’s history. Since Bangladesh earned its independence in 1971, the country’s government has initiated a number of significant field projects. These projects include comprehensive research and analysis of hitherto unexplored areas as well as a very extensive plan of excavations on selected sites. Important breakthroughs have been achieved, and there is continually more data being made public, despite the fact that research is currently gradual and taking place on a limited scale. It is anticipated that the findings of these recent studies will significantly contribute to advancement in the comprehension of both the past and the present in ancient Bangladesh. Buddhist institutions received assistance from the monarchs of Bangladesh’s earlier ruling dynasties, including the Paals, the Chandras, and the Deva Kings. This support included the construction of monasteries and other religious buildings. A number of self-governing monasteries emerged all across the kingdom as a direct result of the assistance provided by the monarchy. The most significant archaeological sites are as follows:
Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka
The Lalbagh Fort is the only structure in Bangladesh that was constructed during the Mughal period to make use of stone, marble, and multicolored tile all at the same time. There is no other significant building in Bangladesh’s past that has this historical synthesis other than Lalbagh Fort. The Lalbagh Fort is located in Old Dhaka, specifically in the Lalbagh neighborhood of the city. Shah Azam was the architect of the Lalbagh fort that we see today. Azam Shah, the third son of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, began construction on the fort in 1678. He intended for it to function as the official residence of the Subedar of Dhaka. In the midst of the construction of the fort, Emperor Aurangzeb sent him to the capital city of Delhi to put down a rebellion led by the Marathas. After the construction of a mosque and a courthouse was finished, construction on the fort was halted as a result. Nawab Shaista Khan paid a visit to Dhaka in the year 1680 and restarted the building of the fort. However, after the death of his daughter Paribibi in 1684, Shaista Khan gave up on the construction of the fort and left it unfinished. After his passing, Paribibi was laid to rest in the space that is currently occupied by the mosque and the courthouse. The name “Aurangabad” was given to the fort in its early days. Lalbagh Fort is the name that was given to it after a few years had passed.
Paharpur Buddhist Vihar, Naogaon
Paharpur Buddhist Vihar, also referred to as Sompur Vihar or Sompur Mahabihar, an ancient Buddhist monastery, is currently undergoing the process of being demolished. Sri Dharmapaldev, the second king of the Pala dynasty, is credited with establishing this monastery sometime between the late eighth and early ninth centuries. In the year 1879, a fascinating discovery was discovered by Sir Cunningham. In 1985, UNESCO included it on its list of World Heritage Sites as a candidate. Paharpur is home to the largest Buddhist monastery in the world; if you’re looking for it, don’t look any further. One probable comparison for this is the Nalanda Mahabhihar, which is located in India.
The ruins of Mahasthangarh are some of the most ancient that can be found in Bangladesh. Because of its significant role in the past, the city has also been referred to as Pundravardhana and Pundranagar. Once upon a time, the city currently known as Mahasthangarh served as the administrative center of Bengal. Based on the discovery of ancient artifacts, it is estimated that this civilized settlement was established approximately 2,5 years before the time of Christ. In 2016, it was selected to serve as the cultural capital of SAARC. Within the walls of the city, artifacts have been found that date back to a wide variety of different time periods. This location was used as the provincial capital by the powerful Maurya, Gupta, Pala, and Sena dynasties over the course of several centuries before it became the seat of power for Hindu feudal kings.
Hajiganj Fort, Narayanganj
The Hajiganj Fort is visible from the western bank of the Sitalakshya River and is situated in the Hajiganj neighborhood of the city of Narayanganj. It takes around an hour to go reach Hajiganj from Dhaka by car. The term Khizirpur is also used for the fortress of Hajiganj. The intersection of the modern Shield River and the historical Buriganga is the site of the fort. After the Mughal capital was established in Dhaka, Mughal Subedar Islam Khan constructed the fort to defend the city from river-based invasions by the Mugs as well as Portuguese pirates. The Hajiganj fort, which can be found on the banks of the Shitalakshya river, has a long and eventful history that dates back some 500 years.
Sixty Domed Mosque
Ulugh Khan Jahan, a saint general who is not very well known, established a Muslim colony in the Sundarbans, which is a harsh mangrove forest on the shore of the Bagerhat area, around the middle of the 15th century. This colony is represented by a building that has sixty domes. During the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1442-59), the city that he founded, Khalifatabad, became the center of a flourishing Islamic community and was recognized as the first beacon of Islam in the southern south. This occurred during the time period of his rule. Khan Jahan lavished his city with multiple mosques, tanks, roads, and other public structures. The beautiful ruins of these Khan Jahan-built public structures center around the Shait-Gumbad Masjid, which is the most impressive and biggest multi-domed mosque in Bangladesh.
The grand framework of the monument is serene and authoritative despite its location on the eastern bank of an exceptionally large sweet-water tank. It is also surrounded by the dense vegetation of low-lying farmland, which is typical of a seacoast setting. The mosque is covered by a total of 77 miniature domes, seven of which are chauchala domes, which literally translates to “four-sided pitched” in Bengali. These domes are located in the middle row. Despite the fact that there are 11 arched openings on the east and 7 on both the north and south to offer air and light, the large prayer hall gives off the impression that it is dark and solemn on the interior. Its seven longitudinal aisles and eleven deep bays are separated by a grove of thin stone columns; from these columns emerge rows of unending arches that hold up the domes. The Tughlaq architectural style of Delhi is distinguished by its thick, tapering walls (approximately six feet in thickness), as well as its hollow, round, nearly detachable corner towers (resembling the bastions of fortresses) that are topped by teeny-tiny, spherical cupolas. These elements are all about the same size. The stark simplicity, yet tremendous nature, of this amazing monument, is a reflection of both the bravery and humility of the person who built it.
Bagha Mosque, Rajshahi
The ancient Bagha Mosque can be found at Bagha Upazila, which is situated around 41 kilometers southeast of the Rajshahi district headquarters. In the year 1523, Sultan Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah was the one who constructed it. The construction of the mosque took place between 1523 and 1524 under the direction of Sultan Nusrat Shah, who was the son of Alauddin Shah, the founder of the dynasty. The mosque underwent consistent refurbishment over the course of its existence, and after the domes on its roof were destroyed, it received an entirely new one. The 256 bighas of land are now occupied by the mosque.
Tajhat Palace, Rangpur
The Tajhat Zamindarbari, which can be found in the city of Rangpur, is one of the historic palaces that can be seen in Bangladesh. Even if some of our achievements have been buried by the shifting sands of time, the legacy of Tajhat Zamindarbari continues. It is not too distant from the town’s main business district. It will take you around half an hour to complete the rickshaw trip. The Tajhat Zamindarbari, located in the city of Rangpur, is widely regarded as one of the most significant historical monuments in all of Bangladesh. Manna Lal Roy was the one who established the Tajhat Zamindar Bari, regardless of who else was involved. From Punjab, he moved to Mahiganj, which is situated in Rangpur. Back in those days, Mahiganj served as a district city for the area now known as Rangpur. According to legend, the place was given the name Tajhat because of the appeal of the gold and pearls that could be found in the neighborhood.
Ahsan Manzil, Old Dhaka
Ahsan Manzil was established by Nawab Abdul Gani, who gave it its current location in Islampur, Old Dhaka, on the Buriganga river bank. The construction of the building began in 1859 and was finished in 1872. The name Ahsan Manzil was the one that Nawab Abdul Gani decided his kid should have. During a convention that took place in 1906 at the very same venue, the Muslim League was formally constituted. The building now serves as a museum and may be visited by the public.
Puthia is a small village located close to Rajshahi, and it is known for housing a number of gorgeous Hindu temples. Puthia is where the greatest number of Bangladesh’s ancient temples can be found, and a good number of them are still in very good shape. These religious buildings are distinct from all others in every way. On several of them are stunning clay plaques that tell legendary stories from Hindu culture. If you happen to be in Bangladesh, you absolutely have to make your way over here. According to the assessment of the most important ancient sites in Bangladesh, Puthia comes in at number two.
A historic and medieval city that has been deserted may be found on the site of Gaur, which is located on the border between India and Bangladesh. The city had its economic heyday between the years 1200 and 1400, and it thrived throughout this time. After some time, it rose to prominence as the political and economic hub of the whole Bengal subcontinent. It was a thriving city in the Middle Ages, but it had to be abandoned because of the cholera epidemic. Some of Gaur’s once beautiful mosques have been preserved, and you may find them hidden among the mango trees. The Bangladeshi archaeological organization has performed extensive restoration work on a number of these mosques in recent years. Those who are fascinated by history are going to think that this site is really fantastic. According to the findings, Gaur is the third-best archaeological site in the whole of Bangladesh.
Sonargaon was the historic capital of Bengal, and its name comes from that city. It was another spotless capital, this time with Gaur. Even though the historic buildings that formerly stood in Sonargaon’s historical capital have been demolished, there are still a lot of fun things to do in Sonargaon throughout the day. The abandoned city of Panam Nagar in Sonargaon is the primary draw for visitors to this part of the region. During the time of colonial rule, wealthy Hindu merchants who had fled to India in the wake of the violence that followed the partition of the subcontinent were responsible for the construction of this city. Even though they had every intention of coming back, they were never able to do so. These 52 residences, which are all located on a single road, are now empty.
A further two of Sonargaon’s most popular tourist destinations are the Goaldi Mosque, which was constructed in the 15th century, and the Folk-arts and Handicrafts Exhibition. Panam Nagar is ranked as the fifth-best archaeological site in Bangladesh.
Kantajew Temple Dinajpur
Located at Kantanagar in the Dinajpur district, this temple is a true masterpiece of architecture and art. The construction of this temple began in 1704, under the patronage of Maharaja Pran Nath, and was completed in 1722. Constructed in the 18th century, this temple is a stunning religious
edifice. It was designed as a Nabaratna temple which traditionally has nine spires on top. Every inch of the temple is adorned with intricate terracotta works, making it an excellent example of the art and craft of Bangladesh.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini, two of the most revered deities in Hinduism. This place is not only a spiritual center for devotees but also a popular tourist destination. Visitors can marvel at the exquisite terracotta sculptures and intricate designs on the walls, which depict scenes from Hindu mythology, folklore, and everyday life. The temple’s architecture is a fusion of Mughal and Bengali styles, making it unique in its own right.
Harano Masjid (lost mosque) At Lalmonirhat
The time was 1986. Some people of Ramdas, a village of Lalmonirhat were clearing a jungle area to make arable land. Suddenly they found something—special-sized bricks with handwork on them. Then the area was dug, and finally, Harano Masjid was discovered. Located approximately 15 kilometers southeast of Lalmonirhat town, Harano Masjid is easily accessible from the Rangpur-Kurigram road, with only a two-kilometer distance from the Barobari point.
Harano Masjid is also known as the Sahaba Keram Mosque by the locals. It is a popular destination for visitors. Most of the visitors believe that it was constructed by the followers of the great Prophet. Historians and researchers have suggested that it may be the oldest mosque in the sub-continent, built in the year 69 Hijri of the Arabic calendar. Interestingly, researchers have found that the Harano Masjid was constructed 61 years after the Koanta mosque in the Chinese port city of Canton, which was built in the year 8 of the Hijri calendar.
Kusumba Mosque at Naogaon
Do you have a Five-taka note in your moneybag?
The beautiful black-stonned structure printed on it is Kusumba Mosque. This mosque is one of the architectural monuments which represent Bangladesh. Named after the village of Kusumba, the Kusumba Mosque was constructed during the period of Afghan rule in Bangladesh by a high-ranking official named Sulaiman. This impressive mosque was built under the rule of one of the last Suri rulers, Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah. Interestingly, despite being constructed during the Suri rule, the mosque’s architectural pattern deviated from the earlier Suri architecture of North India and instead followed the Bengal style. At the eastern central entrance of the mosque, an inscription reveals the time period of its construction to be 966 AH.
Now the mosque is protected by the Department of Archaeology of Bangladesh.
Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque
The Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque may be found in Old Dhaka around 500 meters to the west of the Lalbagh Fort. As shown by two Persian inscriptions, one of which is located over the main archway and the other of which is located above the main Mihrab, it was most likely planned by a Khan Mohammad Mirza and built during the reign of Farrukh Siyar, who served as the Deputy Governor of Dhaka. In the years 1704 and 1705, a religious authority named Qazi Ibadullah gave the order to erect the edifice.
Lalbagh Fort and the Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque both have some similar architectural characteristics. On a raised platform that is 5.8 meters above the ground, it stands there. Under the platform were vaulted rooms that served as storage and living quarters. These chambers were accessible from all sides of the platform with the exception of the east. On the eastern side of the mosque is a doorway that is aligned with the main entrance, and it may be accessed through a stairway of 25 steps. Through this entrance, it is possible to reach the highest point of the platform.
Sat Gambuj Mosque
If you are in Dhaka, you must visit Sat Gambuj Mosque. Situated in the Mohammadpur area of the city, the Sat Gambuj Mosque is a remarkably well-preserved mosque from the ancient Mughal capital of Dhaka. Dating back to the 17th century, this mosque is an excellent illustration of the provincial Mughal style of architecture that was introduced in Bangladesh during that era. The mosque is recognized for its seven domes, with three situated over the prayer chamber and four over the corner towers, which have earned it the name of the Satgumbad (seven domed) Mosque.
The Dhakeshwari Temple is a Hindu temple that was built around 500 years ago by one Mangat Ray, also known as Ballalasena. Mangat Ray was the younger brother of the Arakan ruler Shri Sudharma, who was the son of the well-known Arakan king Raja Malhana alias Husen Shah. The state of Myanmar currently owns the Dhakeshwari Temple. This is the place where members of the Hindu community in Dhaka City get together to pray and celebrate their history. When they enter the temple, devotees dressed in colorful saris ring the bell and then proceed to execute a number of other rites. You can always bet on seeing a vibrant scene here in Dhaka since here is where the most important Hindu events in the city get their start. If you find yourself in Dhaka, you should make it a point to visit the Dhakeshwari Temple.
Armanitola is a neighborhood in Old Dhaka that acquired its name from the sizable Armenian population who settled there before the end of the 17th century. The Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection can be found in Armanitola. The local church acts as the epicenter of spiritual life in the community. This Dhaka landmark dates all the way back to 1781, making it an ideal destination for anyone seeking a tranquil haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.
The archaeological sites listed above provide a window into Bangladesh’s past and are a significant draw for tourists from all corners of the globe. These sites serve as a testament to the country’s multifaceted history and the varied cultural influences that have helped shape it over the years.