Somapura Mahavihara the Great Monastery in Bangladesh

Somapura Mahavihara or The Great Monastery in Paharpur is estimated to have been built in the 7th century. This building is an important place for Mahayana Buddhists in Bengali. This temple is known as the center of Buddhist intellectual activity until the 12th century.

Somapura Mahavihara Temple

This temple is an important site in Bangladesh, located in the village of Paharpur in Badalgachhi Upazila, Naogaon District. The remains of the great monastery building are 274 x 15 meters from the north-south direction and 230 x 70 meters east-west direction. The design adapts religious function uniquely, a combination of carved lines and ornaments.

Somapura Mahavihara the Great Monastery in Bangladesh

The style later influenced the other Buddhist monastery’s architectural styles such as in Cambodia. This building is used as a holy place. The four small niches that are on the side of the wall contain other objects of worship. This temple was built during the Islamic period. This can be seen from a lotus flower medallion and a florally patterned brick on the front wall.

Since classical times, the Paharpur Buddhist Temple is located in Bengali. The proof of the birth of Mahayana Buddhism in Bengali in the 7th century was the establishment of this Paharpur monastery which then was known as Somapura Mahavira. On the outside of the monastery wall is a memorial sign of terracotta in the form of pictures of musicians, snakes, and animals that depict human life thousands of years ago.

Somapura Mahavihara Temple Structure

Somapura Mahavihara is known as the largest Buddhist structure in Bangladesh. This monastery is surrounded by 177 rooms, gates, stupas, small temples, tanks, and other forms of equipment needed by its inhabitants. The entire building includes a rectangular courtyard with 5-meter high wall fences with a height of between 3.6-4.5 meters.

As we know, the monastery has 177 rooms, 45 of which are in the north and 44 rooms are on each other. The main purpose of building these rooms was to accommodate monks in the monastery, while a number of pole posts in the room were used as a place of worship and meditation.

One of the most important buildings is the stupas which have various sizes and shapes, a central model of sacred buildings, five sacred buildings, a kitchen and dining room, stone drains, and several wells. This monastery was built in the shape of a cross which appeared on three terraces of the building.

The wall was built from burned bricks and glued with mud. This type of monastery in Paharpur, in Indian architectural literature known as servatobhadra, a sacred building in the shape of a rectangle with a gate at the cardinal point, and with space on each side.

Conclusion

Somapura Mahavihara or The Great Monastery in Paharpur is an important place for Mahayana Buddhists in Bengali that is located in the village of Paharpur in Badalgachhi Upazila, Naogaon District.

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