Chandraketugarh (contd.)

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Courtesy: Asad-uj-Jaman

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How to get there:

Chandraketugarh is on the Kolkata-Barasat-Basirhat Road, which you can approach through Jessore Road to the north. For those interested, it is situated at Latitude 22.41'N and Longitude 88.42'E. If you are trying to save time, the best way to get to Chandraketugarh is by car. Rented cars cost in the range of Rs. 50 to Rs. 75 per hour depending on the make and condition of the car. If you are trying to save money and have longer time to spend, you can take a Basirhat-bound private bus from Shyambazar which will bring you within walking distance from Chandraketugarh. In either case, your destination is "Beracha(m)pa'r More" or the intersection of Berachampa. If you are coming from Calcutta, you need to take a right-turn at the Berachampa'r More and within a mile you'll notice on your left a rather dilapidated noticeboard from the ASI declaring it to be a protected place. This is the beginning of the ramparts.

A depiction of the immediate surrounding of Chandraketugarh with the Vidyadhari river can be found in this map (in Bengali), courtesy: Dilip Maite.

Most of the area surrounding the ramparts is already inhabited or cultivated. Any large scale excavation will affect the people and it will be very difficult to coordinate such an effort. It might be interesting to do an aerial survey and apply some recent photographic techniques to see if they reveal any underground structure. With this knowledge one can do a more efficient and focussed excavation.

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Who's Who and where's what:

What follows is a list of
  • important individuals associated with Chandraketugarh
  • museums and collections exhibiting art objects from Chandraketugarh
The list is sorely incomplete, and I will add stuff as I accumulate them.

I need help: Did you just come across an art object from Chandraketugarh in any museum that you recently visited? Have you just read an interesting article mentioning Chandraketugarh? Please drop me a mail.

Prof. Joachim Bautze
Author of several articles on Chandraketugarh, including one book which is especially useful for its large collection of photos.
Dr. Dilip K. Chakrabarti
Author of several articles on Chandraketugarh and the archaeology of ancient Bengal. His article on the original course of the Ganges helps put Chandraketugarh in perspective of a number of other such centers along Adi-Ganga.
P. C. Dasgupta
Was primarily responsible for the State Archaeological Museum Collection
Gourishankar De
Author of several articles on Chandraketugarh
Shubhradip De
Author of an article on the plant motifs in Chandraketugarh terracotta
Enamul Haque
Author of several valuable articles on Chandraketugarh, including a resume of the ASI Reports, and a book: Chandraketugarh: A Treasure House of Bengal Terracottas
Rangan Kanti Jana
Author of an article on ships on seals from Chandraketugarh
Prof. Bratin Mukherjee
Authored several influential papers on Chandraketugarh. An important personality in the study of Kharosthi and Brahmi inscriptions, he suggested that the inscriptions obtained from Chandraketugarh are of the mixed Kharosthi-Brahmi type.
Pratapaditya Pal
A well-known personality in the art and archaeology of India and South-East Asia, he authored an article on Chandraketugarh way back in 1957.
Sima Roy Chowdhury
Author of an illuminating article on the terracottas of Chandraketugarh. We are also waiting for several forthcoming papers and articles from her.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Exhibits a beautiful terracotta plaque. I haven't yet visited this collection, and I do not have any details or photographs.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
According to Pratapaditya Pal's book (Indian Scultpture) there are at least eight Chandraketugarh artefacts (and perhaps more) in this museum. Go to the link LACMA, Start > Browse South & Southeast Asian Art > Browse by Place > India > West Bengal (this is a pull-down menu). I plan to visit the museum in August 2001, and will prepare a brief description afterwards.
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York
Brooklyn Museum of Art. I haven't visited this collection, and I do not have any details or photographs. Some of the entries were published in Amy Poster's book (From Indian Earth, 4000 years of terracotta art).
Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles
There are several Chandraketugarh artefacts in this museum - Norton Simon Museum. I plan to visit the museum in August 2001, and will prepare a brief description afterwards.
Dilip Kumar Maite
An impressive personal collection, referred to as Chandraketugarh Pratna Snagrahalaya.
Asad-uj Jaman
An impressive personal collection
Prabir Kumar Goswami
Personal collection at Uttarpara, a considerable amount of which was exhibited at the "Exhibition on the life and art of Chandraketugarh". High on my agenda next time I visit Calcutta.
Balanda Pratna Sangrahalaya (Haroa Museum)
This is the personal collection of Abdul Jabbar. High on my agenda next time I visit Calcutta.
(West Bengal) State Archaeological Museum
Organized "Exhibition on the life and art of Chandraketugarh".

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Articles on Chandraketugarh:

This is a list of references on Chandraketugarh. An asterisk (*) at the beginning of a reference indicate that I own a copy. Needless to say I will be grateful if you send me a reference that I do not already have.

  1. (*) Archaeological Survey of India (individual authors unknown), Reviews, 1956-1967
  2. (*) Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay, Chandraketu'r Garh ("The fort of Chandraketu", in Bengali) Purabritta, Vol.1, 2000, pp.351-353 (originally published in Barshik Basumati, 1926)
  3. (*) J. K. Bautze, Early Indian Terracottas Leiden, E.J.Brill, 1995
  4. (*) J. K. Bautze, Two terracotta toycarts from Chandraketugarh in D.Mitra et al. (Eds), Nalinikanta Satavarsiki, Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1989, pp.123-128
  5. (*) S. S. Biswas, Terracotta Art of Bengal Agam Kala Prakashan New Delhi, 1981
  6. (*) D.K.Chakrabarti, The issues in East Indian archaeology Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1998
  7. (*) D.K.Chakrabarti, N.Goswami and R.K.Chattopadhyay, Archaeology of coastal West Bengal : Twenty-four Parganahs and Midnapur districts South Asian Studies, Vol. 10, 1994, pp.135-160
  8. R. Chakrabarti, Maritime trade in horses in early historical Bengal: A seal from Chandraketugarh Pratna Samiksha, Vol. 1, 1992, pp.155-159
  9. (*) B. D. Chattopadhyaya, Urban Centers in early Bengal: An archaeological perspective Pratna Samiksha, Vol. 2 & 3, 1993-94, pp.169-192
  10. (*) Indrajit Chaudhuri, Samogrik Udyoge'r Obhabe Protno-Chorcha Thomke Giyeche ("Overall lack of initiative is stalling archaeological activities", in Bengali) Ananda Bazar Patrika, Sept. 19, 1987
  11. Paresh Chandra Dasgupta, Early terracottas from Chandraketugarh Lalit Kala, No. 6, 1959, pp.45-52
  12. (*)Paresh Chandra Dasgupta, An Introduction to the State Archaeological Gallery of West Bengal Directorate of Archaeology, W.B., 1963
  13. (*) Gourishankar De, Coins from Chandraketugarh Firma K.L.M. Publishers, Calcutta, India, 1974
  14. Gourishankar De, Two gold coins from Chandraketugarh The Journal of Numismatic Society of India, Vol.41, 1979, pp.28-30
  15. Gourishankar De, A Chandragupta-Kumardevi coin from Chandraketugarh The Journal of Numismatic Society of India, Vol.43, 1981, pp.46-48
  16. Gourishankar De, A rare punch-marked coin from Chandraketugarh The Journal of Numismatic Society of India, Vol.51, 1989, pp.10-11
  17. (*) Gourishankar De, Pots, pitchers and lamps from Chandraketugarh: Myths and motifs Journal of Bengal Art, Vol.1, 1996, pp.93-101
  18. (*) Shubhradip De, Plant Motif in the terracotta art of Chandraketugarh Journal of Bengal Art, Vol.4, 1999, pp.413-422
  19. (*) Nihar Ghose, Banglar Prachin Mrittika Bhaskarya ("Ancient earthen sculptures from Bengal", in Bengali) Division of Culture, West Bengal Government. May, 2000
  20. V. D. Gogte, The Chandraketugarh-Tamluk region of Bengal: Sources of the early historical rouletted ware from India and Southeast Asia Man and Environment, Vol. XXII(1), 1997, pp.69-85
  21. K. G. Goswami, Chandraketugarh and its archaeological importance Indian Museum Bulletin, No. 1, 1966, pp.42-46
  22. (*) Enamul Haque, Chandraketugarh: A resume of excavation reports (1956-67) Journal of Bengal Art, Vol.1, 1996, pp.39-75
  23. (*) Enamul Haque, Hitherto unknown winged terracotta figures from Chandraketugarh Journal of Bengal Art, Vol.2, 1997, pp.225-236
  24. (*) Enamul Haque, The early phase of architecture of ancient Bengal as redeemed from terracotta plaque Journal of Bengal Art, Vol.4, 1999, pp.427-453
  25. Enamul Haque, Chandraketugarh: Treasure House of Bengal Terracottas Dhaka, The International Center for Study of Bengal Art, 2001
  26. (*) Rangan Kanti Jana, Ships on seals from Chandraketugarh in History and Archaeology of Eastern India, Asok Datta (Ed.), Books&Books, New Delhi Ch. 16 (pp.242-253), 1998
  27. Steven Kossak, Early South Asian art in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art Orientation, March 1994, pp.62-67
  28. H. Longhurst, Berachampa ASI-AR, 1922-23, pp.109-110
  29. (*) P. K. Mandal, Interpretations of Terracottas from Tamralipta Tamralipta Museum and research Centre, W.B., India, 1987
  30. B. N. Mukherjee, The territory of Gangaridae Indian Journal of Landscape Systems and Ecological Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1987, pp.65-70
  31. (*) B. N. Mukherjee, Coins and Currency System in Gupta Bengal Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1992
  32. (*) B. N. Mukherjee, Early maritime trade of Vanga -- A review of the data Pratna Samiksha, Vol. 2 & 3, 1993-94, pp.164-168
  33. (*) S. C. Mukherjee, Early terracottas of bengal (in Treasures of the State Archaeological Museum, West Bengal, Vol. 1) Directorate of Archaeology (West Bengal) January, 1991
  34. Pratapaditya Pal, Chandraketugarh Jugobani (in Bengali), June, 1957
  35. Pratapaditya Pal, Indian Sculpture, A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection LACMA and University of California 1990(?)
  36. (*) Amy G. Poster, From Indian Earth, 4000 years of terracotta art The Brooklyn Museum, 1986
  37. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Tamralipta and Gange: Two port-cities of ancient Bengal and connected considerations Geographical Review of India, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1979, pp.205-222
  38. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Chandraketugarh Kanoria and Bhuwania (Eds.) Pushpanjali: An Annual of Indian Arts and Culture, Vol. 4, 1980, pp.13-22
  39. (*) Sima Roy Chowdhury, Early historical terracottas from Chandraketugarh: A study in themes and motifs Pratna Samiksha, Vol.4 & 5, 1995-96, pp.54-105
  40. (*) Sima Roy Chowdhury, A group of unique plaques from Chandraketugarh East and West, Vol.49, Nos. 1-4 1999, pp.54-105
  41. Sima Roy Chowdhury, Terracotta art of Chandraketugarh: Problems in evolving a temporal framework Paper presented in the International conference on Bengal Art, Feb, 2001
  42. Sima Roy Chowdhury, Some interesting terracottas from Chandraketugarh in private collection Journal of Asiatic Society of Bombay, 2001 (in press)
  43. Sima Roy Chowdhury, Style and chronology: Problems in evolving a temporal framework for the early historical terracottas from Bengal Archaeology of Eastern India, Munishiram Manoharlal, (in press)
  44. Sima Roy Chowdhury and Gautam Sengupta, Eloquent Earth: Catalogue of early terracotta from the Museum of the Directorate of Archaeology, West Bengal (in press)
  45. (*) Ashoke Sengupta, Chandraketugarh aaj kebol'i itihas ("History is what remains of Chandraketugarh", in Bengali) Ananda Bazar Patrika, Sept. 19, 1987
  46. (*) Gautam Sengupta, The Mangalkot Plaque Pratna Samiksha, Vol. 2 & 3, 1993-94, pp.210-215

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Links in this site:

Featured Articles Page

Chandraketugarh - First Page

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State Archaeological Museum Exhibition

Collection of Dilip Kumar Maite

Collection of Asad-uj Jaman

Photos from ASI Reviews

Exhibits from Indian Museum

My photos of Khana-Mihirer Dhipi

My photos of Chandraketugarh area (trees, ricefields...)

Courtesy: Asad-uj Jaman
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External links to Chandraketugarh:

I have located the following websites that contain information (photo, article, book) on Chandraketugarh. If you come across any such relevant site, please drop me a mail.

Link title What it's about
India Abroad, Article No. 1 Article on how priceless artifacts from Chandraketugarh are being smuggled out. Shameless plunder.
India Abroad, Article No. 2 Bata, the shoe company, displays an ancient paduka from Chandraketugarh in an exhibition of footwear.
James Singer website on Asian Art Sale Chandraketugarh artifacts for sale!
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
A beautiful terracotta plaque, which is also discussed in Reference 15 above.
Article from Indian Express Reports on an exhibition in Germany that includes Sunga dynasty material from Chandraketugarh.
Terracotta in India and Bengal Terracotta in India and Bengal.
Article from Times of India Reports the discovery of two skeletons from Chandraketugarh during the most recent excavation in 2000. This excavation project has been abruptly halted. The local people are suspicious about the true age of the reported skeletons. The confusion can be removed by scientific dating of the skeletons, I am not aware of any such study yet.
West Bengal Govt. history page West Bengal Govt. history page.
A beautiful figure of Yakshi An exquisite Chandraketugarh "yakshi" terracotta finds mention in this page devoted to the concept of "devi."
LoginCalcutta's Chandraketugarh information page Travel website on Calcutta mentions Chandraketugarh. Tries to connect Chandraketugarh ruins to the Mohen-Jo-Daro age. I do not know who started this thread (a very similar statement is repeated in other websites) but I am not aware of ANY reasonable argument taking Chandraketugarh ruins to an age earlier than the 6th Century BC, which is about 2000 years after Mohen-Jo-Dar. To me this is glaring factual error.
French archaeology page Chandraketugarh referenced in a French article on ancient maritime routes.
Daily Star, Bangladesh Chandraketugarh is mentioned in an interview with archaeologist Dr. Abu Imam.
National Museum, Delhi website Photo of a Kubera statuette from Chandraketugarh.
Vedam Books Details of the Reference 17 above.
Encyclopaedia Britannica Refers to superb examples of terracotta from Chandraketugarh.
House of Commons (U.K.) Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Meeting minutes persuasively argue that any Chandraketugarh article exhibited outside India must have been exported illegally!
Kejriwal Collection Mentions Chandraketugarh from Sunga through the Kushana periods.
Indian Museum, Calcutta Rupasi Bangla, an exhibition displays chandraketugarh terracottas.

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Other external links:

I have located the following websites that contain information of general interest in fields such as history, archaeology, art, and ancient Indian languages. If you come across any such relevant site, please drop me a mail.

Link title What it's about
Hindu Books A booksite, but contains a lot of information on Indian temples
Indian coins Nupam's webpage for Indian coins
More on Indian coins Ancient and Midieval Indian Coins (suggested by Aurora)
Jammu-Kashmir Webpage On ancient monuments of Kashmir
Global Hindu Electronic Network Contains details of Indian history, mythology, and much more
Jaulian Report on the excavation of Jaulian stupa and monsatery, Taxila
Archelogy-related internet links Contains many weblinks on archaeology
Internet Archaeology Home Page On-line journal on archaeology
Indian scripts History of modern and ancient languages/scripts of India in great detail

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Ambarish Goswami
Last Revised June 6, 2009