Kha(u)na-Mihirer Dhipi

The photos I took at Khana-Mihirer Dhipi are displayed below. The temple that proudly stood at this site about 1200 years ago was nothing if not massive. I will soon add a description about what is known (very little) about this site.

Please click on the small images below to view their full size versions

For now, these photographs are displayed simply as an album, without any specific description or identification. In the next few weeks, I will sort them out in different thematic categories and write small descriptions.


Notes from ASI Reports:

Year 1957-58:
...Besides continuing work in the last year's trench to the west of the Berachampa-Haroa road, excavation was done on a 14ft high mound, locally known as the Khana-Mihirer Dhipi, situated to the north of the Baraset-Basirhat road. The excavation in the Khana-Mihirer Dhipi area brought to light the western wall of a stupendous polygonal brick structure, probably of Gupta period. ... Starting from the northernmost exposed point, it was found to run in the following order, the turns being always at right angles: southwards, 45ft.; westwards, 8ft. 6in.; southwards, 24ft. 9in.; westwards, 1ft. 1in; southwards 14ft. 6in.; eastwards 1ft. 1in.; and southwards (full length not exposed). Although the building could not be fully laid bare, the re-entrant angles suggested that it had been one of the sarvato-bhadra types, probably a temple. With bricks of different sizes, the structure was repaired and renovated on later occassions, decorative bricks being sometimes used in place of ordinary ones. ... Shri S. Roy discovered a red sandstone figure of Buddha, resembling of the seated Buddha of the Mathura school, at Khana-Mihirer Dhipi.
Year 1958-59:
The University of Calcutta continued its excavation... bringing to light three walls and a part of the fourth of the massive structure encountered last year and fairly confirming the supposition that the structure represented a temple of the Gupta period. Its plan gave the idea of a square, each side 63ft. long, with an external projection in the middle of each of the three, sides eastern, southern and western, and a vestibule, 45 ft. square, attached to the middle of the northern side. Its foundation was laid 10ft. below the contemporary occupation-level, indicated by a brick pavement. No evidence was available abut the dominational affiliation of the temple.
Year 1960-61:
... in the center of the previously exposed temple was unearthed some large-sized overburnt bricks irregularly placed at the top of a cavity, 2.4X2.1 meters, probably belonging to a later place of worship, in the middle of an oblong superstructure of 5 courses of rough bricks and brick-bats on layers of blackish and grayish soil mixed with brick-bats and potsherds. On the removal of the superstructure was exposed a deep pit of polished bricks 2.3 meters square at the damaged top, its walls with 37 regular offsets, descending to a depth of over 7 meters where a paved floor 86 cm square was met with. The objects in the filling of the pit included cast copper coins, a fragmentary stone mould, a perforated terracotta object, a terracotta sealing with the design of a peacock sitting on a torana and a bone awl. The pottery was NBP and plain black and red wares. An extension of the excavation to the north of the temple yielded evidences of six periods of occupation. There was no trace of any brick structure in Periods I to III.
Year 1961-62:
A remarkable finding was a small bronze image of a female deity with a mirror in her left hand and an indistinct animal indicated on the pedestal as her vehicle. The image picked up from a higher level of the temple area, appears to be the workmanship of the late Gupta period.
Year 1962-63:
It may however be mentioned that the incidence of Periods in this season's excavation differs appreciably from that obtained last year. A correlation of the strata belonging to the various cuttings is, therefore, necessary for a proper understanding of the sequence at the site.
Year 1963-64:
This year's work further revealed that the temple faced true north. It had a large square sanctum cella with projections on three sides and a covered ambulatory passage. The bigger square was preceded by a rectangular covered vestibule with a rectangular open porch in front, complete with a flight of steps. Around the larger square, the vestibule and the porch, was a rectangular structure with projections on three sides, corresponding to those of the inner square. Rising from the same level as that of the main temple, its facade and the two sides up to the vestibule were decorated with shallow niches, possibly plastered with stucco, and embellished with rounded offsets and string course of dentils made of molded bricks. This season's work led to the unearthing of massive brick buttresses between the projections of this structure and those of the main temple, recalling similar provisions at the Vishnu temple at Eran. There are two open ambulatory passages. On the western corner of the mound, a miniature replica of the main temple as also the basement of a votive stupa flanking the stairway were laid bare. Evidence of renovation, repairs and extension of the main temple in the subsequent period was duly recorded. From the working levels of the main temple itself, various pottery-types, both for ritual and domestic use, terracottas, beads, conch bangles and decorative stucco motifs were recovered. Besides terracottas of the Gupta period, a unique piece in the round with applied eye-balls, pinched up nose and ears and outspread ornamented short hands shown up to the waist deserves special attention.
Year 1964-65:
(At Khana-Mihirer Dhipi) A stone vishnu plaque belonging to the early eight century AD was recovered from the debris of the second phase covering ambulatory passage of the main temple. A lotus medallion made of carved brick with a semi-precious stone bead placed in the center, suggesting its use as a foundation tablet, was found at the bottom of the square kunda in the center of the miniature shrine of the main temple at the north-east corner. In the second phase of the temple complex, two furnaces, used for burning shells for making lime, as also troughs packed with burnt shells were unearthed. It is a peculiarly significant complex by itself, perhaps unknown as yet from an early site in India. The lime thus produced was evidently used as mortar and for moulding decorative stucco panels for the niches, mutilated remnants of which were found during the excavation. A miniature bronze image of a standing Maitreya, a rare iconographic type found in one of the uppermost layers of the Khana-Mihirer-Dhipi was another outstanding find. A flight of twently steps, supported on two side walls, was exposed in front of the temple. The eastern and northern sides of the temple structure as well as the north eastern miniature temple still remain to be unearthed.

Please click on the small images below to view their full size versions

For now, these photographs are displayed simply as an album, without any specific description or identification. In the next few weeks, I will sort them out in different thematic categories and write small descriptions. The numbers in parentheses in figure captions represent the year of publication of the respective ASI review.

Kunda with foundation tablet carved with lotus (Khana-Mihirer Dhipi --'64-'65)

Southern wall of temple (Khana-Mihirer Dhipi) ('58-'59)

Vestibule walls at Khana-Mihirer Dhipi ('59-'60)

Massive brick buttress between main temple and outer structure, Khana-Mihirer Dhipi ('63-'64)

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Chandraketugarh - First Page
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State Archeological Museum Exhibition
Collection of Asad-uj Jaman
Collection of Dilip Maite
ASI Review photos
Temporary Exhibition at Indian Museum
My photos of Chandraketugarh area (trees, ricefields...)

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Ambarish Goswami
Last Revised April 13, 2005