Pundranagara the earliest urban centre in Bangladesh, the antiquity of which goes back to the 4th century BC. The earliest mention of the name (Pudanagala) is found in the mahasthan brahmi inscription and the archaeological excavations have proved the antiquity of the place. The ruins of the city of Pundranagara (Pundravardhanapura of the Gupta and subsequent periods) have been identified with the ruins discovered at mahasthan, Bogra district, on the basis of the above mentioned Brahmi inscription, hiuen-tsang's account, who visited the place in the 7th century AD, and the early medieval literary text of Karatoyamahatmya.
Pundranagara continued to be the administrative headquarters of the territorial division pundravardhana from the Maurya period to the end of the rule of the Palas, if not of the Senas. In the Gupta period it was the centre of their rule in Bengal, the capital of Pundravardhana bhukti.
Situated on the western bank of the Karatoya it was well connected with other parts of Bengal through land and river routes and it thrived as an important centre of trade and commerce throughout the ancient period. It continued its importance in the early Muslim period as the abode of a famous saint, Shah Sultan Balkhi or Mahisawar, who had established his khanqah in the south-eastern quarter of the old city, which was then possibly in a decaying condition. [AM Chowdhury]