Skander Dhap

Skander Dhap a mound, locally known as Skander Dhap, is situated in village Baghopara under Gokul union of Bogra Sadar thana and is fairly intact. It lies about 3.5 km south of mahasthan citadel and about 90m west of the Karatoya. There is a tank of about 8 hectares, popularly known as Mainamatir Dighi, on the western side of the mound. The mound measures about 60m north to south and 40m east to west and its height varies between 2 to 7m from the surrounding fields. It has an area of 0.24 hectare. The northern half of the mound is higher than the southern half. The top soil is compact and hard. Brickbats and ancient ceramics including Black Slipped Ware are found scattered all over the site. A regular brick wall has been exposed on the southern side due to the digging for soil by the local people. The sizes of bricks are 28 x 27 x 5cm and 23 x 19 x 4cm. Clay has been used as mortar in building the wall.

The mound may well be the site of the Skanda temple mentioned in the Karatoya Mahatmya, Rajatarangini and Ramacharitam as being in the vicinity of Mahasthangarh. The mound is a part of a large secular settlement that measures about 1000m north to south along the Karatoya and 200m east to west. The height varies between 2 to 5m from the surrounding fields. It covers an area of some 20 hectares. The Dhaka-Rangpur highway passes through the site.

No excavation has yet been carried out in this mound, but preliminary exploration revealed a red stone torso of a divine figure, perhaps Kartikeya, ascribable to the Kusana period. The image is now in the Asutosh Museum, Calcutta. [SS Mostafizur Rahman]