Somapura Mahavihara Travel Guide

Somapura Mahavihara Travel Guide


A number of monasteries built during the Pala dynasty in the ancient Bengal and Magdah. Somapura Mahavihara is one of the largest monasteries in the south of the Himalaya and Indian sub-continent. It is one of the most significant ancient historical Buddhist monuments. The famous British archaeologist, Sir Cunningham discovered this huge monastery and later on, in 1985 It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site  


History of Somapura Mahavihara

In the middle of the 8th century, Huyen Tsang came to Pundravardhan, but it is not mentioned the name of Shomapura Mahabihara, the monastery, and the temple in his description. Emperor Dharmapala was a very earnest Buddhist and he built Vikramshila and Sompur Vihar.

According to others, the author of the famous Tibetan history book "Pag Sam Zhon Zhang" very clearly mentioned that Devpal's son Devpal has built the monastery and the temple in the 8th Century.  In various scripts, the monks of Sompur Vihar donated money and treasure to various Buddhist pilgrimages like Nalanda, Buddha, and others and it indicates the prosperous condition of Buddhists in the 1st - 5th centuries.

At the end of the 8th century, the Gurjar Raj and Mahendra Pal did the first damage to the Pala empire. Later on, King Mahaipal of the Pala dynasty restored the empire and repaired Sompur Vihar. But after the death of Mahipal and his son Nayapal, the Pala dynasty began to decline. In the 12th century, the Sena kings who came from Karnataka in the south of the Deccan occupied Bengal.

He defeated the royal patronage of Sompur during the reign of kings. Finally, Ikhtiar Uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji invaded Bengal and occupied most of northern Bengal. Probably because of the anti-idolatrous attitude of these Muslim rulers, the monastery and temple of the Buddhists were destroyed. 


Architectural aspect of Somapura Mahavihara

Somapura Mahavihara
A different angle of Somapura Mahavihara - Photo Credit: Anik Reza  

This monastery occupies 27 acres of land. There are 177 rooms inside the monastery. It looks like a small hill from far away. The basement of this site has the shape of a cross. The current height of this monastery is 21 meters, but it is anticipated that the height was more than 30 meters. But the local people surrounding this temple is saying that with the times it is getting down in height. 

Somapur Mahavihara, Paharpur
Somapur Mahavihara, Paharpur - Photo Credit : Mahmudul Hassan

The actual height of in the 80s when the excavation started was, in fact, higher than now.  Terracotta works are on the walls of the main temple and those created in the various form of idols. All the rooms were located surrounded by the main temple. 

It is anticipated that the tantric priests and student monks from distant places used to come and stayed in those rooms. The rooms are approximately 8.2m in length and 5.7m in width. The rooms are surrounded by the main temple as a square field. There are 45 in a row on the north and 44 on the other three rows.


Traveling to Somapura Mahavihara

Located in the village of Paharpur union of Paharpur union, about 5 km north of Naogaon district and about 12 km south of Jaipurhat district. From Naogaon city via Badagachi upzila you will reach at Paharpur Bazar. Paharpur Buddhist monastery can be accessed by CNG, Autorickshaw or Van Rickshaw on the 2km road from Paharpur Bazar. Open and and closing time of Somapura Mahavihara as below: 


Summer timing (April – September)

Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm

Friday: 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm (Closed for prayer)

Monday:  2.00 pm- 6.00 pm

Sundays: Weekly Holiday 


Winter timing (October – March)

Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday: 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm (Closed for prayer)

Monday - 1.30 pm- 5.00 pm

Sundays: Weekly Holiday 


Entry fee of Paharpur Mahavihara: 

International Tourist: Tk 200

National Touris: Tk 20

(Entry to the museum is included in the ticket to the main Paharpur site.)


Check out our Archaelogical Tour and the Package Tours that cover this historically important site in Bangladesh 


=>Prehistoric Civilizations Tour

=>Popular Archaeological Sites Tour

=>Heritage Tour of North-Bengal

=>Archaeological Tour of Bangladesh


Our Day Tours

Full-Day Tour At Sonargoan (Old Capital)

National Parliament Building Tour

Full-Day Photography Tour

Tour To Old Dhaka and Sonargoan

Brass and pottery tour

Excursion to ManikGanj Baliati palace

Full-Day River Cruise