Two Gazipur villages rich with century-old history

Photo shows a century-old carved stone on a house yard in Karnapur village of Sreepur upazila of Gazipur on 16 February 2024
Sadek Mridha

Karnapur and Dorikhojakhani villages are in Gosinga union parishad under Sreepur upazila of Gazipur district and the Banar river flows beside them. But one might wonder as century-old history remains hidden in every inch of these two villages. Broken antiquities and century-old bricks lay abandoned here and there.

Valuable stones carved with archaeological designs can be found on the stairs of villagers’ houses. Sometimes, villagers accidentally discover century-old long walls while digging soil.

These two villages are on the west side of the Dardaria Fort, which was discovered during archaeological excavation recently, in Gazipur’s Kapasia upazila, and the Banar river flows between them.

Sufi Mustafizur Rahman, professor of archaeology at Jahangirnagar University, thinks monuments of the Tughlaq dynasty may exist in Dorikhojakhani village, which is opposite the Dardari Fort and on the other side of the river. Evidence suggests those are likely to be medieval structures, but details can be learned after conducting an archaeological excavation.

Photo shows stacks of ancient bricks in a banana grove in Karnapur village of Sreepur upazila of Gazipur on 16 February 2024.
Sadek Mridha

Sufi Mustafizur Rahman along with this correspondent visited Karnapur and Dorikhojakhani on 16 February. He regretted having no initiative to preserve these ancient sites. This correspondent also found two huge banyan and tamarind trees in Dorikhojakhani. There is a shrine beneath one of the trees. The tree roots are covered by hundreds of mini-sized bricks. Two sandstones with two tiny holes to erect small iron rods were also seen. There are also several hillocks there and remains of century-old establishments were seen near the hillocks and village houses.

Karnapur village is one and a half kilometres west of Dorikhojakhani village on the Sreepur raod. There is a lake 500 meters south of the main road, which is locally known as the ‘Lake of Kanak King’ or ‘Big Lake’. A large number of small-sized bricks were also seen in the yard of several houses near the lake. Bricks were also seen lying all over the place in nearby banana groves and cultivable lands. Intricately carved sandstones and granites were also seen lying near several houses.

The photo shows an octagon-shaped granite stone in front of a house.
Sadek Mridha

Md Alam dug a five-foot deep hole in the west side of his house and discovered a large chunk of bricks under the soil. He stacked up those on a nearby land. The digging left a portion of the wall of the ancient structure open. Another wall was also found on the south side and a part of a brick-built well. An octagon-shaped granite was also seen within 300 meters of Md Alam’s land at the entrance of another house.

There is a saying that a battle took place between the last king of the Chandra dynasty Govinda Chandra and the Kalachuri king Lakshmi Karna in 1045. Lakshmi Karna defeated Govinda Chandra. He then excavated a lake and a palace at a distance from the battleground in Karnpur as the symbol of his victory.

Sandstone is seen lying on the ground in a banana grove in Karnapur village of Sreepur upazila of Gazipur on 16 February 2024.
Sadek Mridha

Historian Jatindra Mohan Roy depicted the century-old history of Karnapur in the first volume of his ‘Dhakar Itihash’ (History of Dhaka). He writes sign of a rich city exists on the bank of Banara river. Details on the battle between Lakshmi Karna and Govinda Chandra and the construction of the palace as a victory symbol are also found in ‘Gazipur Zilar Itihas’ (History of Gazipur District” authored by Shafiqul Asgar and Abdur Rashid. ‘Toyarika Dhaka’ by Munshi Rahman Ali Tayesh also narrated the history of Karnapur and Dorikhojakhani villages.

Sufi Mustafizur Rahman, professor of archaeology at Jahangirnagar University, inspects the remains of century-old archaeological elements in Karnapur village of Sreepur upazila of Gazipur on 16 February 2024.
Sadeik Mridha

Archeologist Sufi Mustafizur Rahman told Prothom Alo that he is amazed as much as saddened by visiting these places. Such a large archaeological site is being destroyed. How is it even possible? Bricks are being removed from the wall. He hardly saw such a large lake. These must be renovated, thus, a new door of tourism will open, and everyone including government, citizens and villagers will benefit from it. Besides, local public representatives also have responsibilities to preserve history and heritage, he added.

Anyone damaging archaeological establishments faces legal action, but locals are digging randomly without understanding the importance of the matter. This correspondent tried to speak to locals but they avoided him. A resident, Sirajuddin said, “We did not know these areas are so enriched with ancient history. We did not know this was the lake of Kanak King either. We have no knowledge of who is this king and when he ruled. Lots of bricks can be found under the soil in the surrounding area of the lake, and people use those for various purposes.”

The photo shows a stack of small-sized bricks after those were discovered when a local dug a five-foot deep hole in Karnapur village of Sreepur upazila of Gazipur.
Sadek Mridha

Sreepur upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Samima Yasmin told Prothom Alo, “I will visit those two villages and speak to the experts. I will also consult with the agencies concerned on how to preserve this location considering its historical significance. Everything necessary will be done to preserve history and heritages.”

Md Selim Mollah, who was the head of the history department at Sreepur College, also visited Karnapur and Dorikhojakhani villages along with Sufi Mustafizur Rahman. He said the remains of the ancient Karnapur palace are very significant historically, which is why it is necessary to conduct an archaeological excavation to unearth the actual history, and the authorities concerned should preserve the site.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna