GUWAHATI, April 22 � The State Archaeology Directorate has requested the Forest Department for allowing it to initiate steps for the preservation of the Alichiga-Tengani archaeological site located inside the Nambar Reserve Forest of Golaghat district.
In its proposal submitted to the Forest Department in this connection, the Archaeology Directorate has said that the Alichiga-Tengani area, located near the Borpathar area, bears features of an ancient planning of a river port (pattana)-cum-garden (arama) and this is datable back to 400-500 AD.
This site bears great potential for cultural/heritage tourism, said Director, Archaeology Dr HN Dutta while speaking to this correspondent. Elaborating his point, Dr Dutta said that the development of the Alichiga-Tengani site is linked with the Dhansiri (South) river. An old channel of the river is noticed at the northern direction of the site.
Physiography of the site is undulated and a number of mounds, ditches, swamp, dead streams, etc, dominated the natural landscape of the region. The natural advantage of the undulated physiography was taken up to lay an architectural plan of a water fort, known in ancient times as jaladurga, in the area.
However, due to several factors, this ancient settlement was abandoned and the locality disappeared. Ultimately the jungles devoured the area.
Its very location is suggestive of the fact that it had connection with the other culturally developed areas of ancient India. Dhansiri is a southern tributary of the Brahmaputra. It was navigable and until the British era, ships used to sail upstream to Deopani and beyond, with merchandise.
The architectural plan of the site which has now been found, suggests that on the top of other things, there was a commercial port called pattana in the area. The entire architectural plan of the area was laid in line with the ancient Indian shilpashastra such as the Arthashastra of Kautilya, said Dr Dutta.
The site was fortified with a central embankment surrounded by square-size ditches (parikha) laid on a square ground plan keeping only two guarded earthen passages. The site had a rampart to guard as fortification in the north with a watchtower, called attalaka in ancient times. The site also had a dock where boats used to anchor, Dr Dutta said.
The name of Ratnavarman is found engraved in the stone slab inscription found at the site. Besides, the name of Vasundharavarman was found engraved in the terracotta seal found at the site.
The Archaeology Directorate would lay emphasis on conservation of the natural landscape of the site to bring back the ancient glory of the royal capital site following the direction laid in the Arthashastra of Kautilya, said Dr Dutta.