Home > Bengal Archeology, Day Trips from Calcutta (Kolkata), General > Ballal Dhipi ~ Mound of Ballal Sen

Ballal Dhipi ~ Mound of Ballal Sen

For centuries, a 30-ft mound spread over 1,300 sq ft, has stood at Bamunpukur, a village near Mayapur. The locals call it Ballal Dhipi, named after Ballal Sen, of the Sen dynasty, who ruled Bengal in the late 12th Century AD. It was only in the late 1970s that the mound attracted the attention of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Scattered Ruins of Ballal Dhipi

Scattered Ruins of Ballal Dhipi

ASI started digging the area in the early 1980s. The work was carried out in two phases — in 1982-83 and 1988-99. The excavation revealed a gigantic brick structure in an extensive yard surrounded by walls. Stucco heads, terracotta human and animal figurines, copper utensils and other objects were found at the site.

It is evident that the structure on top was built over an earlier one. Archaeologists have found traces of renovation and superimposition over the remains of a temple complex. But archaeologist and historians are yet to come to any concrete conclusion about the ruins.

Conclusion about the ruins of Ballal Dhipi:

Stupendious walls of Ballal Dhipi

Stupendious walls of Ballal Dhipi

  • From the structure it is evident that the upper structure was built over earlier existing structure. Historians also agree and according to them the upper remains dating back to the 12th century AD was built over an earlier structure dating back to the 8th and 9th century AD. Archaeologists have found traces of renovation and superimposition of structures revealing the remains of a Temple complex datable to the 12th century AD.
Portion of Boundary Wall, Ballal Dhipi

Portion of Boundary Wall, Ballal Dhipi

  • Historians even opine the ruins to be the remains of the lost city of Vijapur, the capital of the Sen dynasty. Vijapur founded by Vijay Sen, father of Ballal Sen, was an advanced urban centre and a metropolis of Sen family. A plaque by Vijay Sen, found in Debpara, text from Pavandoot written by Dhoyi, court poet of Laxman Sen (son of Ballal Sen) and text from Adbhutsagar written by Ballal Sen and Laxman Sen, bolster this claim.
  • The site is made of solid terracotta bricks, while the floor is made of lime and sand. The tiles and bricks have remarkable
    Passageway inside Ballal Dhipi

    Passageway inside Ballal Dhipi

    resembles with those found in Vikramshila Vihar, in Bihar and Shompur Vihar, in Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

  • The cause of destruction of such a magnificent citadel is not known. As most of the statues and images found were broken, the historians attribute the downfall to human hands. However, possibility of destruction due to natural calamity is not altogether ruled out. Finally historians attribute the downfall on a combination of both natural calamity and human hands.

Trip to Ballal Dhipi: Ballal Dhipi is located on the Krishnagar _ Mayapur road in the Nadia District of West Bengal. Ballal Dhipi is about 125 km from Calcutta (Kolkata). It is best reached by Krishnagar Local followed by a bus journey towards the the well known pilgrimage of Mayapur.

Crocodile Head, probably used as water outlet, Ballal Dhipi

Crocodile Head, probably used as water outlet, Ballal Dhipi

Get down at Bamunpukur Bazar about 10 km before Mayapur. Cross the road and a road leads to the Mound of Ballal Sen. The blue board of ASI, declaring it as a Monument of National Importance, welcomes one to the historical site. The site is remarkably well preserved. A flight of stairs takes you to the top of the mound. On the left are some minor structures but the gigantic structure lies on the right. The structure on the right contains a stucco stone head of a crocodile. Located at a lower portion of the wall it probably served as a water outlet. Sadly this is the only stucco-work in the entire site. The other stucco stone and terracotta figures along with other artifacts have been removed to the Asutosh Museum of Calcutta University.

Diagonal arrangement of Terracotta Bricks, Ballal Dhipi

Diagonal arrangement of Terracotta Bricks, Ballal Dhipi

On the top of the dhipi (mound) the stairs merges to a brick path leading you straight inside the gigantic structure. It ultimately leads to a narrow roof-less passage flanked by high walls on either side, leading you to the backside of the structure, offering a gigantic view of the structure. Apart from the central structure the extensive yard is surrounded on all side by an enclosure wall. The wall, which exists only in fragments in decorated with beautiful brickwork. The wall, which is several feet thick in some places, is enough to explain the sheer magnitude of the structure.

It is a pity that not many people are aware of the wonder of Ballal Dhipi, on the other hand it is a blessing in disguise as you are likely to have the entire archaeological site all to yourself.

Reference:

Links from my Personal Website:

List of my Blog entry on West Bengal

  1. September 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Hi Rangan….Would like to thank for making us aware of such a historical place…..Honestly speaking, I am a resident of Krishnagar myself & never knew about this historical spot so close to me residence. Would really like to compliment you on your effort to inform us about lesser known heritage spots in bengal

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