By Hasanul Banna
Kutila Murar Buddhist shrine. Here it was customary to worship the symbolic deity. Exceptions to this conventional genre. Is there any such pattern anywhere else in the world? Although it is rare.
Location: Kutila Mura or Kotila Mura is an archaeological site in the Mainamati cantonment area of Comilla. It is located about two miles south of the Dhaka-Comilla highway and about three miles north of Shalban Bihar. Kotila Mura is one of the important archaeological sites in Lalmai Hills. After excavating the soil of this place, three mounds were discovered here. These three stupas are thought to symbolize the three gems of Buddhist philosophy, the Buddha, the religion and the Sangha.
Kotila Mura is one of the monuments of the time of Abbasid Caliph Mu’tasim Billah (1282 – 1258). The installation lasted from the 7th to the 13th century.
Kutila Mura, a unique Buddhist monastery, is located at the highest point of the Mainamati-Lalmai hills in the Bangla Bazaar of the Mainamati cantonment. Nowhere else in the entire Indian subcontinent is such a structure known to have been built. From an architectural point of view, Kutila Murar is slightly different from other structures like monasteries, temples, stupas etc. Construction/renovation work was done here in 3 levels of time. The 1st construction period dates back to the 8th century when the Kharag dynasty (c. 625-620 AD) ruled Samatata. So the idea is that this extraordinary installation of Bangla was built in the 7th / 8th century or earlier.
At that time, one had to enter Kutila Mura from the east. There were three entrances on the east or east wall, but now only the north side is in good condition. The central courtyard can be entered by climbing a few steps from the entrance. Presumably, the whole installation was once protected by a wall. At present, traces of the east wall have been found. The main boundary of the installation could not be determined accurately as part of the entire wall could not be found. The perimeter wall was decorated with ornate brick-patterned ornaments.
When you go up the stairs and look ahead, you will first see 3 round piles. However, there are three rectangular houses in the space between the stupa and the main gate. The house on the north side was badly damaged, and its size could not be ascertained. However, the length of the middle house is 13.64 meters, the width is 13.18 meters, and the house’s length and width in the south are 15.63 meters and 11.51 meters, respectively.
Although it is not possible to determine the size of the north cell, I think it is similar to the other two. If you want, you can go around these rectangular rooms in the shape of a hall, as the worshipers who came here used to do 12/13 hundred years ago. If the three east entrances I mentioned earlier were usable today, you could also enter each hall by climbing those huge stairs.
This means the stupa is located behind / west of the three rectangular halls. Each pile stands on a square altar. As can be seen, the square altar base is the only ornamental part of the whole structure (although some say the structure was adorned with terracotta plaques).
At the base of this altar, the round mound has risen to look like a lot of drums. It had a semi-circular dome that no longer existed. On the domes were Hermes and pinnacles. In the middle of this dedication stupa / immovable stupas, six niches/chambers have been created by drawing seven dividing wall lines, i.e. the land plan of this stupa is like Dharmachakra.
The Nibedan Stupa usually had seals and bone metal with Buddhist mantras. And since there are numerous offering stupas and seals inside its central chamber, it seems that it was considered a very virtuous deed at that time. The side piles have two solid bricks but a deep chamber in the centre. But no seals or statues were found there.
3 Fundamentals of Buddhism / Buddhist Triratna have been revealed through these three pillars. These are Buddha/knowledge, religion/justice, morality, and association/discipline. The six niches that have been created by drawing six dividing wall lines on the upper back of the middle of the immovable stupas mean that light is being emitted from the sun.
The three stupas of deities made in the form of Dharma Chakra differ from the Sacharchar temple concept. Considering the religious features of the installation, it seems that its builders were followers of the Mahayani sect.
On the west side of the stupas, there were many more such stupas, out of which the foundations of 9 stupas have been identified. Holes in the middle of each are observed. Out of all these, like the central stupa, innumerable earthen dedication stupas and seals have been found.
From here, terracotta seals, local stone sculptures where the main statues are seated Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, worshipped human statues, grey stratified stone statues of Buddhist gods and goddesses, earthen dedication stupa, one gold coin, and carved statues of under the statues. Examining the finds, it is seen that a statue between the Gupta and Pala period or a statue of the 7th / 8th century has been found here, and one gold coin minted by the last Abbasid Caliph Abu Ahmed Abdullah Al Mustasim Billah (650–1257 AD).
Moreover, the earthen dedication piles are moulded in a wooden mould – that is to say, the commercial relations of the outside world with this installation, the skill of Bengali art style and above all, the antiquity of the installation is easily understood. On the other hand, judging by the analysis, the Buddhist mantra found at the bottom of the statue suggests that it is indicative of the 7th century.
Kutila Mura is one of the first five archaeological sites in the Mainamati-Lalmai hills. 1955-56 AD: The excavations were carried out on priority by the then Department of Archeology and Museums. According to various sources, there are two ‘Ratnatraya’ temples in one of the five ancient capitals of Comilla (Bikrampur, Jayakarmanta Basak, Rohitgiri, Pattikera).