Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur in Bangladesh



Evidence of the rise of Mahayana Buddhism in Bengal from the 7th century onward, Somapura Mahavira, or the Great Monastery, was a renowned intellectual centre until the 12th century. Its layout perfectly adapted to its religious function, this monastery-city represents a unique artistic achievement. Listed in UNESCO World Heritage list in the year 1985.


Located to the north-west of Bangladesh in the district of Naogaon, the heart-land of ancient “Varendra”, close to the village of Paharpur the extensive ruins of the Buddhist monastic complex are the most spectacular and important pre-Islamic monument in Bangladesh.

About Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara

  • With its simple, harmonious lines and its profusion of carved decoration, it influenced Buddhist architecture as far away as Cambodia. The ground level today is 3 feet above the original pradakshinapatha or main circumambulatory path, below the base of the lowest band of terracotta plaques.From studying its architecture, one can see a relationship between India and Southeast Asia.
  • Archaeological excavations have revealed a 15 feet pathway that follows an elaborated cruciform shape, a feature that can be discerned from the foundations of the outer wall that enclose the pathway and that still exist.
  • At the base of the shrine, there are over 60 stone sculptures which depict a variety of Hindu divinities. The main entrance to the monastery was through a fortified gate on the northern access to the central temple.
  • Epigraphic records testify that the cultural and religious life of this great Vihara, were closely linked with the contemporary Buddhist centres of fame and history at Bohdgaya and Nalanda, many Buddhist treatises were completed at Paharpur, a centre where the Vajrayana trend of Mahayana Buddhism was practiced.
  • The monastery compound is dominated by a central temple that bears similarities with Buddhist temple architectural patterns of terraced structure with interposed chambers, cruciform basement and gradually declines to a pyramid-form. The monastery compound also occupies an adjacent museum where a collection of statues of Hindu gods and deities are preserved.

Today, Paharpur is the most spectacular and magnificent monument in Bangladesh and the second largest single Buddhist monastery on south of the Himalayas.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is when the cold sets in, that is September to March.

About Bangladesh

Bangladesh forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people of different ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali. If you are planning a Travel to Bangladesh then you can found that there are many sightseeing in Bangladesh which make your trip joyful and memorable. Visit Sunderbans, which is the largest magrove forest in the world and Bengal Tiger Reserve listed in UNESCO world heritage list. Lalbagh Fort, Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, Mukti Juddha Museum, The Central Shahid Minar are famous tourist spots in Dhaka. Cox’s Bazar Beach, located at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is the longest unbroken sea beach in the world, running 120 kilometres. It is the top tourist destination in Bangladesh.

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