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Varendra


Varendra or Varendri, an ancient geographical unit co-extensive with the ancient janapada of Pundra or Pundravardhana in the northern districts of Bangladesh, situated in the old Pleistocene land formation, the barind tract.

The ancient lexicon called Trikandaxesa refers to Varendri as an integral part of Pundravardhana, and several epigraphical evidences have corroborated this. In a south Indian inscription (967 AD) there is a mention of a Brahmin as Varendradyutikarina. Varendra figures prominently in the inscriptions of the Sena rulers and on their basis scholars are unanimous in holding that the greater districts of Bogra, Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Pabna formed the Varendra area. Cunningham fixed the boundary of Varendra with the Ganges and the Mahananda on the west, the Karatoya on the east, the Padma on the south and the tract of land between Koochbihar and the Terai on the north.

sandhyakar nandi, the 12th century composer of the ramacharitam, belonged to Vrhadvatu, which was the crest-jewel of Varendri mandala (varendri-mandala-chudamani) close to the city of Pundravardhana (mahasthan). In the third canto of his kavya, Nandi gives a graphic description of the topography, flora and fauna of Varendra, the janakabhu of the Palas, and mentions its location with the streams of Ganga and Karatoya flowing on either side. ramapala is said to have crossed the Ganga in order to enter Varendri. In the Vallalacharita, one sacred place (Mahasthana) having a temple of Siva is mentioned as belonging to the eastern part of Varendri. In the Sena period Varendra formed an administrative unit under the political division of Pundravardhana bhukti. The tabaqat-i-nasiri mentions 'Barind' as a wing of the territory of lakhnauti on the eastern side of the Ganges. [AM Chowdhury]