Katragarh, Muzaffarpursa

Katragarh, Muzaffarpur

Kataragarh represents one of the finest relics of the fortified cities that came into being during the early historic period in Bihar. Extended over an area of about 70 bighas, Kataragah falls in Muzaffarpur district, and situated at about 18 miles east-north of the district headquarters, (i.e. town of Muzaffarpur). To its west flows river Lakhandei which would have provided water to the agricultural needs of the hinterland and an outlet to the city's inland water transport. The legend is that the city was built by some Raja Chand whom we cannot identify with any of the historical personalities.

The site was excavated over as many as five seasons from 1975-76 to 1979-80 under the supervision of Dr. Sita Ram Roy, the then Director, Archaeology and Museums, Bihar. The basic exercise of these excavations was to unravel the constructional features of the fortification. The excavations proved quite productive in this particular sense.

The city was fortified during the Shunga period (c. 2nd-1st century B.C.), although habitation at the site preceded it by at least two to three centuries. The construction period of the fortification wall, was a long process of making, and involved not less that three phases.

In the first phase, a baked brick wall was raised around the city to fortify it. The second constructional phase witnessed a huge earthwork taking shape. A moat was dug around the settlement and the earth thus obtained was utilized to build mud-core of the fortification. The highlight of the third phase was the brick reinforcement over the earthen core built-up during the phase II. This was in form of sloping brick-worked sides. The fortification, moreover, had a few auxiliary structures, such as watch-towers and flights of steps leading to them. Some of the intrinsic features of the fortification here are comparable with the early fortifications of the Gangetic plains, and especially Balirajgarh of the neighbouring district, Madhubani.

The site revealed, on excavations, as many as four cultural periods. Of these, Pd. I was found associated with the Mauryan Period (4th-2nd cent. B.C.), Pd.-II with the Shunga period (2nd-1st cent. B.C.), Pd.-III with the early Kushana (1st-2nd cent. A.D.) and the last one, Pd.-IV, after a considerable gap, represented the relics of the Pala period. (9th-10th cent. A.D.). The earliest habitation strata, however, could not be reached at due to the oozing of the sub-soil water beneath the Mauryan habitational layers.