The Panchkot Hill is full of scattered structural remains of mighty Panchkot kingdom.
King of Dhar (in Madhya Pradesh), Jagat Deo, was on a pilgrimage to Puri (in Odissa) with his wife. It was a long journey. They were resting at Jhalda (in West Bengal) while the queen gave birth to a son. The parents thought it was a dead child. With a heavy heart, the king and queen went back to their palace, leaving the child there.
Some local tribal chiefs rescued the child, brought him up and when he grew up, he became the king of the region. His name was Damodar Shekhar.
Nearly 2000 years ago king Damodar Shekhar established the Panchkot Royal dynasty. It is said that “to give recognition to the main “paanch” (i.e. Five) “Khunt” (i.e. Clans) of the locals, the kingdom assumed the name “Panchkot” in 80 AD. In 940 AD Panchkot was made the capital. It was in erstwhile Manbhum district in East India. The dynasty ruled till late 18th. century.
Though it is not known exactly when the Fort-Palace was built, indications found in the ruins establish that it must be nearly thousand years old. For its construction, stones were carried 600 feet uphill in the middle of the Panchkot Hill.
After 1000 years...
“ …The arches and the pillars scattered across an area of about 20,000 sq feet(the Palace alone) would have been a massive structure. As legend has it, that the king had 17 wives and they all stayed in this palace lending credence to its size. The material used to build the Rani Mahal is a bit different from that of the temples and the Guard’s quarter. It uses “Choon Surki” or a paste made of lime and powered clay bricks fused using water as a base to hold the fire clay bricks. This style of masonry was quite prevalent in that particular period and it still exists. …Garh Panckot was attacked by the “Bargi” and having defeated the King’s guards, they destroyed it after looting and plundering the palace. It is believed that all the 17 wives of the king committed suicide in a nearby well during the attack. Since then this place lies in ruins.”
The “Garh Panchkot” (Fort Panchkot) is in Purulia district of West Bengal state.
In the above image, remains of Rani Mahal (Palace of the queen) and a temple (called “Rashmela”) is captured.
Somebody has truly said, “Frozen in time, the remains of the palace silently speak of the shattered visions of a King defeated. “
A close up of the structure at right in Workshop.