Virat Raja used to live in the palace around 2,500 years ago according to historical claims
A group of archaeologists from Rabindra University in Sirajganj claims to have found the remains of “King Virat Palace,” locally known as “Vitar Rajar Rajmahal,” and his temple at Khirtala village in Raiganj upazila of the district.
According to Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of the ancient Indian Subcontinent, Raja Virat used to live in the palace around 2,500 years ago.
A group of teachers and students of the university visited the place on Wednesday to do a theoretical survey, said Rifat Ur Rahman, a teacher of cultural heritage and Bangladesh studies department of the university.
He, along with one of his colleagues, Farhana Yasmin, at a press briefing revealed details about their initial findings.
The teacher said: “Khirtala village was a prosperous city around 800 to 1000 AD. There are at least 50 small hillocks in the village and its surrounding areas. The remnants of a temple built with ancient bricks remain here. Locals call it ‘Virat Rajar Mandir’ (temple of King Virat). Fragments of ancient brick remains are still visible here. A lot of pottery shards are also found in the farmlands here.”
Moreover, it can easily be said that the terracotta figurines found in the village are from the Gupta Dynasty, said Farhana Yasmin, adding: “Locals also found coins of the dynasty here. From this finding, it is assumed that this place was a prosperous township in Gupta or Pala period. The ruins of temples and the palace are hidden beneath the ground here.”
They also informed that Bangladesh District Gazetteer Pabna, published in 1990, also mentioned that the most ancient and prosperous township of that time was buried under the soil of this area.
It is also mentioned in the gazetteer that the city of the great king was also described in the “Mahabharata”.
There is still a chance of doing theoretical research in nearby areas, they said, adding that several pieces of pottery and brick samples have been collected during their initial survey.
When contacted, Assistant Director Mujibur Rahman of Department of Archaeology (Bogra and Rajshahi zone), said: “We have visited Khirtala village. There are several ancient trace marks here. But those were not properly tested. The time (period) can only be determined by digging properly and using chemical tests.”
Virat Raja in the Hindu epic “Mahabharata” was a Matsya king who ruled Virata Kingdom and in whose court the Pandavas (Panchapandav) spent a year in hiding during their exile.