A one-thousand-year-old saptaratha style Brahmanical temple under excavation in Biral upazila, thought to be the first of its kind in Bangladesh, has archaeologists excited.

“The site is known as Burir Than, a sacred place of the Hindu goddess Buri,” explains the director of the excavation team, Dr Swadin Sen, an archaeology professor from Jahangirnagar University. “It consists of a mound measuring 80 metres east to west and 60 metres north to south with a small temple dedicated to Buri at its apex.”

“The original site would have been larger,” he notes. “Some portion along the western and southern perimeter is occupied by locals.”

The unearthed temple consists of a 36-square-metre sanctum with an assembly hall to the east. There is a curvilinear tower known as a rekha shrine in the sanctum and a characteristic stepped tower in the assembly hall.

Of architectural significance, the temple features a stone pedestal in seven-faceted 'saptaratha' design. “According to the available canons of art and architecture like the Bhuban Pradipa,” explains Dr Sen, “temples are classified as triratha, pancharatha, saptaratha and navaratha depending on how many facets are present in pedestal design. Triratha is the earliest style, navaratha the most recent.”