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Mainamati extends through the center of the district of Comilla in Bangladesh. Mainamati is located almost 8 miles from the city of Comilla and 114 kilometers from Dhaka city through national highway & is nearly 162 kilometers from Chittagong. It is a historic place, also a picnic spot for visitors.
It is the home of one of the most important Buddhist archaeological sites in the region. From one of the terracotta sealing, we came to know that, this monastery was built before 1200 years ago by Sri-Bhava Deva, the 4th ruler of the Early Deva dynasty. That time it was called Bhava Deva Mana Vihara. Some people say that Mainamati is named for the Chandra queen, mother of Govindachandra.
Mainamati is an isolated low, dimpled range of hills, dotted with more than fifty ancient Buddhist settlements, dating to between the 8th & 12th centuries. After excavation, the ground a Buddhist monastery measuring 550’×550′ with 5 recluse cells were exposed. Its central shrine has revealed six building phases while in the monastery tour.
In the middle of the vihara it has 115 cells built around a spacious courtyard with a cruciform temple in the center. Along with that deep digging has revealed four more repair & rebuilding phases in the monastery, the earliest corresponding to period 3 of the cruciform center shrine. No monastery remains corresponding to period 1 & 2 has yet been found. Some scanty may suggest and ill-defined remains below the present structure may suggest their existence. Probably of smaller size.
Two more interesting architecture has been observed inside the cells, those are fireplaces & ornamental brick-pedestals, which were not included in the original design. There is a saying that more history & monastery has been unveiled & hidden below the previous periods.
A dominant central shrine & a number of the subsidiary shrine is the large square monastery of 168m square sides with 115 monastic cells. It has only one monumental gateway on the north, which is 20.6m wide. Along with that, the central shrine revealed 6 building phases & the monastery 4. The 1st & 2nd phases of the central shrine buried under the ruins of the 3rd,4th & 5th periods but the remains of the 6th phases have been removed from the top.
There is interesting evidence of the evolution & gradual transformation of Buddhist architecture to turn into a Hindu temple. Archeologists discover many things during digging this site, which is so precious & monumental. They are :
400 gold & silver coins,
Lots of terracotta, clay seals & sealings,
A large number of sculptures in stones,
Bronze & terracottas.
After paying a visit to this beautiful historic place with my cousin’s, I came to observe and know better about the history of this adventurous archeological site. It amused me by its structural design concepts. It is a place where you can learn about Buddhists, their lifestyle & their education system. Because once upon a time it was self-contained Buddhist monastery, where monks lived, studied & prayed. It was a royal palace for Buddhists, across the world people came here to study & to enlighten their knowledge. After that, all I can say that it is a great historical place to pay a visit.
Though there is some lack of basic facilities like Well furnished hotels, guesthouses or restaurants. Also, there should be guides who will share the real story of the place. So that tourists can go back to their places, knowing the history of this historic place. Safety issues should be more emphasized to avoid unwanted activities like robbery. There is some lack of maintenance.
The historical place should be enriched with more facilities for visitors. Accommodation facilities should be better. There is a huge opportunity for localities in the view of social & economical resources. Also, it can bring a lot of tourists to this place and can make it a more popular historical objective palace of Bangladesh.
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