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Palaeo-channel of Dihing found near archaeological site

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, March 11 - Trace of an old palaeo-channel of river Dihing has been found near the Moiramora archaeological site, Jokai in Dibrugarh district by a team of archaeologists of the State�s Directorate of Archaeology recently.

Adjacent to the river channel, a five-foot-tall brick mound was also found, which seemed to be an alignment of the foundation part of an ancient temple.

According to Chabina Hassan, Exploration Officer of the Directorate, who directed the excavation work at the site under the supervision of Archaeology Director Dr Deepi Rekha Kouli, �It is found that the site has remains of two distinct cultural phases � early mediaeval and late mediaeval periods. The stone images found and displayed at the site provide the outline of two different cultures.�

Citing an example, Hassan said, �The image carved on granite is older than the image carved on sandstone. So, stylistically it appears to be dateable to 8th-9th century AD.� However, she maintained that the Directorate will send samples for optically stimulated luminescence dating, which will give an authenticate date of the site.

Though the temple is small in size, it is a solitary example in upper Assam having immense importance and significance. It was believed that this part of the State was a barren land before the advent of the Ahoms, but discovery of this saptaratha temple plinth helped in redrafting the history of this area back to 8th-9th century AD, Hassan said.

Hassan said the excavation revealed a brick plinth of a temple of Hindu pantheon having garbhagriha and mandapa. Trace of an antarala has been found in between the two segments. The eastern parts of both the segments of the temple got eroded by the activities of now morbid river.

The adhistana part of the garbhagriha has two horizontal brick moulding that looks like imitation of the basement of a stone temple design. The plan of the garbhagriha has seven projections in each corner for which it may be called a saptaratha temple. The garbhagriha wall is 2.35 metres wide, while the inner part of the garbhagriha is 2.60 metres by 2.80 metres. The length of the existing mandapa wall is 4.75 metres, while the entrance and stairs of the mandapa is completely missing. The outer part of the adhistana was plastered by lime, Hassan added.

It needs mention here that Moiramora is a protected archaeological site of the Directorate of Archaeology, Assam. The site is well known for its life-size stone images, which were recovered there during early 1980s.

The excavation, conducted between December 20, 2017 and February 20 this year, was undertaken at the instance of Lahowal MLA Rituparna Baruah. The excavation team members included the Directorate�s technical officer Nabajit Deori, staff Kadam Duarah and Uttam Kumar Sahu and research students Gunita Sonowal and Priyanka Patir.

Archaeology Director Dr Deepi Rekha Kouli said the Directorate also undertook restoration works at Jagadhatri Doul (Sivasagar), Garakhiya Doul (Sivasagar), Basudev Doul (Biswanath Chariali) and Garh Doul (Sonitpur) during the 2017-18 financial year.

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Palaeo-channel of Dihing found near archaeological site

GUWAHATI, March 11 - Trace of an old palaeo-channel of river Dihing has been found near the Moiramora archaeological site, Jokai in Dibrugarh district by a team of archaeologists of the State�s Directorate of Archaeology recently.

Adjacent to the river channel, a five-foot-tall brick mound was also found, which seemed to be an alignment of the foundation part of an ancient temple.

According to Chabina Hassan, Exploration Officer of the Directorate, who directed the excavation work at the site under the supervision of Archaeology Director Dr Deepi Rekha Kouli, �It is found that the site has remains of two distinct cultural phases � early mediaeval and late mediaeval periods. The stone images found and displayed at the site provide the outline of two different cultures.�

Citing an example, Hassan said, �The image carved on granite is older than the image carved on sandstone. So, stylistically it appears to be dateable to 8th-9th century AD.� However, she maintained that the Directorate will send samples for optically stimulated luminescence dating, which will give an authenticate date of the site.

Though the temple is small in size, it is a solitary example in upper Assam having immense importance and significance. It was believed that this part of the State was a barren land before the advent of the Ahoms, but discovery of this saptaratha temple plinth helped in redrafting the history of this area back to 8th-9th century AD, Hassan said.

Hassan said the excavation revealed a brick plinth of a temple of Hindu pantheon having garbhagriha and mandapa. Trace of an antarala has been found in between the two segments. The eastern parts of both the segments of the temple got eroded by the activities of now morbid river.

The adhistana part of the garbhagriha has two horizontal brick moulding that looks like imitation of the basement of a stone temple design. The plan of the garbhagriha has seven projections in each corner for which it may be called a saptaratha temple. The garbhagriha wall is 2.35 metres wide, while the inner part of the garbhagriha is 2.60 metres by 2.80 metres. The length of the existing mandapa wall is 4.75 metres, while the entrance and stairs of the mandapa is completely missing. The outer part of the adhistana was plastered by lime, Hassan added.

It needs mention here that Moiramora is a protected archaeological site of the Directorate of Archaeology, Assam. The site is well known for its life-size stone images, which were recovered there during early 1980s.

The excavation, conducted between December 20, 2017 and February 20 this year, was undertaken at the instance of Lahowal MLA Rituparna Baruah. The excavation team members included the Directorate�s technical officer Nabajit Deori, staff Kadam Duarah and Uttam Kumar Sahu and research students Gunita Sonowal and Priyanka Patir.

Archaeology Director Dr Deepi Rekha Kouli said the Directorate also undertook restoration works at Jagadhatri Doul (Sivasagar), Garakhiya Doul (Sivasagar), Basudev Doul (Biswanath Chariali) and Garh Doul (Sonitpur) during the 2017-18 financial year.