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Bhimer Jangal


Bhimer Jangal an ancient or early medieval highway-cum-embankment, situated in the varendra region of north Bengal, traditionally ascribed to king Bhima. Its surviving remains start near the border of Sirajganj. Traversing northwest it passes through Sherpur. Thereafter it follows the western bank of the karatoya river, skirts Bogra town, and meander further north for about 50 km to a swampy area known as Damukdaher Bil in the Govindaganj upazila of Gaibandha district. It then extends to Biratnagar and Ghoraghat in the Dinajpur district. It is assumed by some that it ran even further northward from Ghoraghat to Doomar in the Nilphamari district, others assume that it ran eastward from Ghoraghat to Kamarupa in Assam.

At places it attains a height of 12 meters and width of 6 meters. Its origin and specific intent is uncertain, but it appears to have been originally constructed as a defensive bulwark, not unlike the ring forts of Italy. It probably also served as a highway in an area which was subject to annual inundation.

Local traditions associate Bhimer Jangal with the king named bhima, although nothing is known of him now. Some identify him with the second Pandava Bhima or Bhimas of the Bhagirath dynasty, such as Anangabhima, Gajabhima and Ranabhima. Others identify him with the 12th century king Bhima, whose uncle Divya, the Kaivarta chief, had captured Varendra from Mahipala II of the pala dynasty. Divya (or Divyoka) was succeeded first by his brother Rudaka and then by his nephew Bhima, who was defeated and killed by the Pala king Ramapala. It is believed that Bhima erected these embankments as a defensive measure against possible Pala invasion. However, it must be said that these legends are yet to be confirmed by authentic evidence. [Md Ayoub Khan]