Somapura Mahavihara

Somapura Mahavihara

Somapura Mahavihara: A Magnificent Archaeological Site in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is home to a number of fascinating ancient sites, one of the most spectacular of which is the Somapura Mahavihara. This magnificent archaeological site is located in the north-central part of the country and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Bangladesh who is interested in the country’s rich history and culture.

 

History of Somapura Mahavihara

The Somapura Mahavihara is an ancient Buddhist monastery which was built by the Pala Dynasty in the 8th century. It is believed to be one of the largest monasteries in the Indian subcontinent at that time and it was a major center for Buddhist studies. It is also said to be the model for the famous Borobudur complex in Indonesia.

The monastery was built on an elevated platform and it is surrounded by a high wall. The complex consists of a large central temple surrounded by smaller temples and other structures. The complex also includes a library, a residence, and a number of stupas.

The architecture of Somapura Mahavihara is a combination of Indian, Tibetan, and Southeast Asian styles. The structure is made of brick and stone and is decorated with exquisite terracotta sculptures. The sculptures depict scenes from Buddhist mythology and are a testament to the skill of the artisans who crafted them.

 

What to See at Somapura Mahavihara

The Somapura Mahavihara is a beautiful and fascinating archaeological site which is well worth a visit. The first thing that visitors will notice is the impressive entrance gate which is decorated with intricate carvings.

Inside the complex, visitors will find a number of interesting structures such as temples, stupas, and shrines. The central temple is the most impressive structure in the complex and it is decorated with sculptures which depict Buddhist gods and goddesses.

The library is also an interesting structure as it is believed to have originally contained thousands of ancient manuscripts and texts. Unfortunately, many of these manuscripts were destroyed during the Mughal invasion in the 17th century.

The complex also includes a number of stupas which are decorated with terracotta sculptures. These sculptures depict scenes from Buddhist mythology and they are a fascinating example of ancient art.

 

Visiting Somapura Mahavihara

The Somapura Mahavihara is located in the Paharpur village in the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh. It is easily accessible by road and there are a number of buses which run from nearby cities such as Dhaka and Rajshahi.

The complex is open from sunrise to sunset and there is an admission fee of 10 Taka. There are also a number of guides who can be hired to provide tours of the complex and they can provide interesting information about the site and its history.

 

Conclusion

The Somapura Mahavihara is a magnificent archaeological site in Bangladesh which is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the country’s rich history and culture. The complex is home to a number of impressive structures such as temples, stupas, and shrines which are decorated with beautiful sculptures. It is also a great place to learn about Buddhist mythology and appreciate the skill of the artisans who crafted them. So, make sure to add the Somapura Mahavihara to your itinerary if you are planning a trip to Bangladesh.

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