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Paharpur: Central Temple

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Paharpur: Central Temple
Author(s): Rowland, Benjamin
Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Bengal & Bihar-- Mainamati and Paharpur;architecture;book scan
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Remains consist of a vast square court nearly 1,000 ft. on a side, surrounded by an enclosing peristyle consisting of more than 175 individual cells. In the centre is a shrine in the form of a Maltese cross with a number of recessed projecting corners between the arms. In elevation this sanctuary consisted of a pyramid of three superimposed terraces and at the summit a square cella with projecting porticoes on all four sides. The shrine can be described as a prasada or Meru type of temple, in which the diminishing terraces magically symbolize the steps and peak of the world mountain. The decoration consisted of multiple terracotta relief plaques attached to the brick facades as in the Gupta temple at Bhitargaon. Since there is no mention of this imposing monument by Hsuan-tang, it has been conjectured that it must be dated in the late 7th or 8th cent. The indications are that it was originally a Brahmanic installation which at a later period was taken over by Buddhism.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-984


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