Somapura Mahavihara

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Map of Bangladesh

Somapura Mahavihara (Shompur Mohabihar) is an ancient Buddhist place in Paharpur, Badalgachhi Upazila, Naogaon District, Bangladesh.

Origin of name



It is among the best known Buddhist viharas in the Indian Subcontinent and is one of the most important archeological sites in the country. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Somapura Mahavihara at Paharpur in Naogaon District was once the biggest Buddhist monastery south of the Himalayas. It dates from the 8th century AD.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pāla period in ancient Bengal and Magadha. According to Tibetan sources, five great Mahaviharas stood out[1]: #Vikramashila, the premier university of the era;

  1. Nalanda, past its prime but still illustrious;
  2. Somapura Mahavihara;
  3. Odantapura; and
  4. Jaggadala.

Visit by Xuanzang

External links


  1. Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-329-X pg 15