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Encroachers pose threat to Bhaitbari site

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, March 30 � Former Director General of the National Museum and chairman of the Indian Art History Congress Prof Robin Dev Choudhury has expressed serious concern over the failure of the authorities to take proper steps for preservation of the Bhaitbari archaeological site in East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.

He suggested handing over the entire site to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for total excavation and preservation, considering the vastness of the site and the cost and technical expertise involved in the work.

Talking to this correspondent, Choudhury regretted the fact that due to the failure of the authorities to preserve the site, it is facing serious threats from the illegal migrants. The site will soon be destroyed by these illegal migrants, if immediate measures are not taken for its conservation, said Prof Choudhury.

The site located on the Phulbari-Tura Road, came to prominence when three structures were excavated by the archaeologists of the ASI there in 1991. These structures included a Buddhist stupa, a brick temple and an octagonal temple. The brick temple revealed a number of terracotta plaques of various gods and goddesses. These plaques were veneered in the brick temple vaults as ornamentation.

There are many raised mounds concealing structural remains and they need to be excavated in view of probing the past of the area in particular and that of the NE region in general, said Prof Choudhury.

The entire site is enclosed by ramparts and a brick wall. However, these enclosures have been damaged by the encroachers to expand their settlements. A section of the encroachers have now been occupying some of the structures of the historical site, alleged Prof Choudhury.

The site comprises a vast area and it includes the ruins of temples and old tanks, fortifications suggesting the location of a civilized settlement, which may be dated back to 9th-10th century AD or prior to that period. The Buddhist stupa found at the site may emerge to be much older, said Prof Choudhury.

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Encroachers pose threat to Bhaitbari site

GUWAHATI, March 30 � Former Director General of the National Museum and chairman of the Indian Art History Congress Prof Robin Dev Choudhury has expressed serious concern over the failure of the authorities to take proper steps for preservation of the Bhaitbari archaeological site in East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.

He suggested handing over the entire site to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for total excavation and preservation, considering the vastness of the site and the cost and technical expertise involved in the work.

Talking to this correspondent, Choudhury regretted the fact that due to the failure of the authorities to preserve the site, it is facing serious threats from the illegal migrants. The site will soon be destroyed by these illegal migrants, if immediate measures are not taken for its conservation, said Prof Choudhury.

The site located on the Phulbari-Tura Road, came to prominence when three structures were excavated by the archaeologists of the ASI there in 1991. These structures included a Buddhist stupa, a brick temple and an octagonal temple. The brick temple revealed a number of terracotta plaques of various gods and goddesses. These plaques were veneered in the brick temple vaults as ornamentation.

There are many raised mounds concealing structural remains and they need to be excavated in view of probing the past of the area in particular and that of the NE region in general, said Prof Choudhury.

The entire site is enclosed by ramparts and a brick wall. However, these enclosures have been damaged by the encroachers to expand their settlements. A section of the encroachers have now been occupying some of the structures of the historical site, alleged Prof Choudhury.

The site comprises a vast area and it includes the ruins of temples and old tanks, fortifications suggesting the location of a civilized settlement, which may be dated back to 9th-10th century AD or prior to that period. The Buddhist stupa found at the site may emerge to be much older, said Prof Choudhury.

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