Beautiful Bangladesh - Shompur Mohabihar, Paharpur

Shompur Mohabihar or Somapura Mahavihara in Paharpur, Bangladesh is one of the best known Buddist viharas in South Asia. It is the single largest vihara located south of the Himalayas. It is also among the most important archeological sites in Bangladesh. Shompur Mohabihar, also known as Paharpur Bihar, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Paharpur Buddhist Monastery is a major tourist attraction of North Bengal. Architecturally and historically Paharpur Vihara is a treasured heritage of the world. It dates from the 8th century AD. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of South-East Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. 

Shompur Bihar covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment measures more than 900 feet externally on each side. There are high enclosure walls about 16 feet in thickness and 12-15 feet in height.  With elaborate gateway complex on the north, there are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of the other three sides. This immense quadrangular monastery consists of 177 monastic cells in total enclosing the courtyard.

A small site-Museum built in 1956-57 houses the representative collection of objects recovered from the area, where you can see the statues of Buddha and Vishnu. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi. The antiquities of the museum include terracotta plaques, images of different gods and goddesses, potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other minor clay objects.

Sompur Bihar at Paharpur is about 282 km by road from Dhaka and it will take about 6.5 hours to reach Paharpur. The best way to tour the site is to first reach Noagaon and stay there in hotel or reach Badalgacchi and stay there in Dakbanglow.

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