Mahilara Sarker Moth: A unique example of tower-temple art

Published : 12 Oct 2021 09:48 PM | Updated : 14 Oct 2021 12:01 AM

Mahilara Sarker Moth (Buddhist monastery) is an exquisite example of towering temple art of the 17th century. The Moth is situated beside two large water bodies connecting with a road at Mohilara village under Gournadi upazila of Barishal district.

Locally it is known as Sarker Moth. It is supposed to be built during the rule of Nawab Alivardi Khan by one Sarker Rupram Das Gupta during the 17th century.

It is learnt, the tower like Sarker Moth resembles the leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

The octagonal Moth is 27.40 metres high. Each angle of the tower is 1.91 metres long till 6.2 metres of height and afterward it continues to reach higher with a shortened length and took the shape of an arrow on the top. On the ground, there is a small square-sized room inside the Moth with an entrance on the west side wall. 

The archaic segmental column on the entrance is decorated by several Geometrical arts on a panel. Such ornamental designs are also seen on the other sides of the Moth. The Moth has been declared as a preserved architecture and is under the supervision of the Department of Architecture.

Rupram Das Gupta who is supposed to build the temple was an influential person of the region. In fact, the temple was a burial place of the mother of Rupram Das Gupta. It was later on shrouded in jungle. 

However, later one Haralal Goswami, a disciple of Nigmand Swaraswati, cleared the jungle and started to contemplate inside the temple. Gradually, various Pujas like Durga Puja, Nagor Kirton, Askhaya Tritiar Joggo and Ratha yatra started to hold there.

According to a local sayings- after establishing the temple ( Moth) and burying his mother inside the temple, founder Rup Ram Das Gupta utter with audacity' “Mum, I repaid all I owe to you',' and with the utterance of the words, the temple started to tremble and get slanted.”

In fact, with the leaning of the temple God indicates that the debt of mother cannot be repaid with anything. 

However, Rup Ram could understand his mistake and sought pardon from the God when the trembling of the temple stopped but the temple stood in a leaning position. 

Visitor Ritu Das Dia, a student of Amrit Lal Dey College, Barishal, informed she was visiting the Moth with her friends and was charmed with the beauty of the Moth. 

Ratan Kumar Das, General Secretary of Sarker Moth Durga Mandir Committee informed people from various places of the country and abroad were visiting the Moth regularly. But, there having no toilet, rest house or sitting arrangement, visitors are being disappointed. He further said, the Moth also needed to repair. 

Gournadi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Bipin Chandra Biswas informed, he has recently visited the historical Moth and necessary measure will be taken to resolve the problems in consultation with the officials of Department of Archeology.

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