Somapura Mahavihara Unusual Rich UNESCO World Heritage

Last Updated on March 1, 2021

Are you interested in learning about Bangladeshi, the amazing ancient monastery institute? Somapura Mahavihara is that one to fulfill your passion for learning. So, don’t hesitate to read this wonderful article.

You may know there are many best monasteries in this country. Somapura Vihara is one of the most famous and influential archeological sites in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is small but rich in many archeological sites. You won’t disappoint to come here to search these types of sites.

Anyway, Pala Dynasty was famous for growing many best monasteries in ancient Bengal. This Somapura monastery is one of them. Somapura Mahavihara excellent UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you are eager to learn Bengali history, come to visit this fantastic place. Before stepping out, read this one and ensure your learning site.


Somapura Mahavihara | Know about great Ancient Buddhist educational institutions

Another name of this amazing Mahavihara is Paharpur Vihara. The Buddhists used this place as the intellectual teaching center. Visit Bangladesh to get many wonderful significant traces of ancient institutions made by Buddhists.

In Bangladesh, this vihara is one of the most tourist dominating places. You will learn history architecture and intellectuality about the site from this topic.

Never visit the place without learning about it. Now, start your virtual learning.


Learn about the history of the amazing Somapura Mahavihara

From the 8th to 9th century, Pala king Dharma Pala and his son Devapala established their empire Bangla, Bihar to Kannauj. This time was famous for the royal Pala dynasty.

For this, Buddhist Rulers patronized many great Buddhist monasteries at that time. Somapura Mahavihara is one of them, established at the end of the 8th century. It became famous in this Bengal country.

From the Tibetan sources, you will find five great viharas at that time Those are:

  • Vikromashila
  • Nalanda
  • Somapura Mahavihara
  • Odantapura
  • Jaggadala

Pala formed a network among all Mahaviharas. The state-supervised all. For example, Xuanzang resided at the Paharpur Vihara who was a noted scholar in China. Otherwise, Atisa preached Buddhism traveling from ancient Bengal to Tibet.

Anyway, Mahipala, another king of the Pala dynasty, ruled from 995 AD to 1043 AD. He repaired the Monastery again during his rule.

Next, the fire destroyed it in the 11th century. It happened when Vanga Army conquest the place. During this conquest, Karunashrimitra, an ancestor of Vipulashrimitra, was killed.

The Mahavihara started to decline for the last time in the 12th century during Sena Empire. Then, it remained undiscovered until 1807. It took over a century for proper excavation.

You will understand the glory of the Somapura Vihara by Tibetan works. Many monks traveled to Bengal to visit this place during the 9th and 12th century AD.

It indicates the beginning and the end of the Buddhist Monastery. Atish Dipankar Srijan translated Madhyamaka Ratna Pradipaito Tibet language staying here.

Also, other notable scholars spent their part of their lives at this Buddhist Bihar. The most important of them are

  • Bodhibhadra
  • Kalamahapada
  • Virendra


Detail Description of the Somapura Mahavihara

This Somapura Mahavihara is one of the best known among other famous viharas in the Indian Subcontinent. It is one of the earliest archeological sites in Bangladesh.

You will find a significant amount of statues also there. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Anyway, get Paharpur Buddhist Bihar in Bangladesh, Naogaon District. You have to travel to Badalgachi Upazila to visit the site.

You will find its location near Rajshahi, the most northwestern Bangladesh. to learnThen, pay a visit to the village of Paharpur to see this Buddhist Monastery.

This place covers almost 11 hectares (27 acres) of land. It is the largest single Bihar in Bangladesh. Get this site as one of the biggest monasteries in the south of the great Himalayas.

The Bihar is standing with 177 monk cells and more Buddhist stupas in the central part. You will find more archeological structures hereafter visiting.

Buddhists used it as their learning center. But, this one was not a typical learning center like the present. There were stupas for meditations and rooms for monks’ accommodation.

People spent quiet time meditating here. So, it was a distracting place from the main area.

The religious building is square-shaped that forms the corner of a quadrangle.  The holy temple is in the center. All sides are about six meters thick that contain rooms of Buddhist monks.

Each side of the Monastery is 900 feet in length. Also, you will get 92 altars for worship. See Buddhist stupas in the country yard beside the wall of it.

There are also some rooms that Buddhists used for daily work and studies. You can enter by only one gate for visiting the place.

Enter into the Monastery through a colorful garden. There are many artistic decorations on Paharpur Bihar discovering in 1807. You will see artworks on the thick outer walls of the Buddhist Monastery.

Round the 17th century, this one was an important intellectual center. The Monastery was the holy place by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains. Its amount of artwork indicates this occupation of different religions.

It includes Jain chaturmukhar structure with other sacred objects and shrines. The base walls of the Somapura Buddhist Bihar contain images of Jains. Also, it bears the Buddhist terra-cotta artwork and sacred Hindu deities.

British scholar Buckman first recognized the historical and cultural value of the structures. He studied its remaining at the beginning of the 19th century.

But, it got proclamation as a protected archeological site over a century later. The digging also started after four years. Somapura Mahavihara is one of the few survival monasteries in the Muslim invasion of South Asia.

On the north side, you will get the Monastery’s main temple that dominates the site most. Go up the second and third tiers of the temple.

Discover some closed chambers. Enjoy the fantastic view of the vast Monastery from here. This will give you complete satisfaction with the site visit.

You may see sixty-three stone plate statues in the Paharpur Bihar. Get the convent located in the middle of the Monastery.

There were also large beautiful entrances, a small pool and temples, and huge entertainments to enjoy. The place is now has become a prime tourist destination through the home and abroad.


How do you get to Somapura Vihara?

Somapura Mahavihara, Paharpur Vihara


The Paharpur Buddhist monastery indicates the ancient time of the Pala dynasty. You can take an idea about how prosperous the period was in the 1st-12th century.

If you want to visit this Buddhist Vihara, go about 5 kilometers north of the Naogaon district. You can go from Jaipurhat, which is 12 kilometers south, to the Monastery.

Anyway, many buses are available from Dhaka city to Naogaon to bring you. Most of them are luxurious and comfortable. It will need 7 to 8 hours to reach your destination, Somapura Vihara.

This cultural institution is 270 km far from Dhaka. When you reach Paharpur, take a Taxi, CNG, or Van to reach two kilometers distance Buddhist Vihara.

The best site seeing time is in the morning or the late afternoon. At the time of sunset, it looks pleasant than other times. You need more than two hours to visit the place.


Where do you stay after visiting the site?

It is suitable for you to take two or more days in hand to visit the whole place of Buddhist Vihara, Somapura. But, you need a place for accommodation.

Nowadays, many tour companies are waiting with attractive offers for you. They manage a room in their hotels for a night’s stay.

So, don’t worry. You can stay at Paharpur or Naogaon District to stay at night. Many notable hotels are available near Paharpur Bazar for you. Hire one and stay at night.


FAQ: For Somapura Mahavihara

The excavation and some seals indicate its establishment. King Dharmapala built this great Monastery in his power.

Paharpur is a small village of Badalgachi Upazila in the Rajshahi Division. This place is famous for an intellectual institute of Buddhism. Somapura Mahavihara is located in the area.

It is a place for monks’ shelter. Monks also use this Bihar as a learning center for general people.

This Monastery was an active intellectual learning center during the Pala period. But, it started to decline at the time of the Sena dynasty and later for Muslim invasion.


End line

At last, you know the details about the Smapura Mahavihara, the Buddhist learning center. People from many countries come and visit this place. They visit the site to know the past glory of the Buddhist education system.

This archeological museum is the trace of the glorious past of the Pala Empire. It conveys the lots of ruins of the ancient teaching activities.

If you are in Bangladesh, travel to Paharpur Buddist Bihar to enhance your archeological knowledge.


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