Historic Landmarks of Nadia: Kathuli Math at Meherpur

A temple namely Kathuli math is located at the village of Kathuli in Gangni upazila under Meherpur district of Bangladesh. Kathuli, a village near the India-Bangladesh border, is located in the west part about 12 kilometers from Gangni Upazila Sadar. This ancient temple is noticed on the southern side of a road going towards the border and on the eastern bank of the Bhairab river at the Kathuli village. This temple is also known as Shivalaya to many people.

The temple is built on a podium about 90 cms high with a rectangular ground plan. The length of the temple is 4.57 meters and the width is 4.11 meters. Thickness of its walls is 88 cms. Thin bricks and lime mortar as main components are used for building the temple. This temple is built by facing east. The temple has an entrance with multi-foil arch on the east wall. There is a window with semi-circular arch in the north wall. The interior of the temple has one niche in the south wall. There is a statue chamber on the floor. There are some geometric designs on the walls of this white coloured temple. Other than that there is very few other significant ornamentations of the temple to describe. Atchala (eight sheds) on the temple’s roof is a reflection of the cloister dome.

Besides, there is an ancient pond with paved landing stage near the India-Bangladesh border about 200 meters west from the temple. According to the local people, once there were many ancient buildings in this place. Many others say that there was a indigo factory in this place. Only a pond and a temple may be the last surviving historic landmarks of them.

There is no any written history to mention about Kathuli math. However, it is known that in the 18th century CE, a new chapter began in the history of temples in Nadia area. Many temples were built in Meherpur then. It is thought that The temples of Alampur, Shyampur and Kathuli are built during that time. It is also thought that the Nilkuthi (indigo factory) named Kathuli was destroyed, and the adjoining pond and a few litchi trees still survive as the witnesses of that times. According to local myths, Kathuli math was built around 300-400 years ago (18-19th century CE). From these information, it may be said that this temple and adjacent Nilkuthi were built in the 18th century CE. No information is found about who founded it. At present, regular worship is performed in the temple. [Md. Shahin Alam]

1. Azam, Tozammel, Meherpur Zellar itihāsa-aitihya (Bengali book) (Dhaka: Gatidhara, February 2009), p. 51.
2. Department of Archaeology, Bangladesh.

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