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Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara - Paharpur
The Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara affirms to be a gem in which significantly contributes in the tourism of the country, apart from the culture and history. It has been enlisted under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites which brings pride to the nation. Buddhist Vihara which adorns the territory of Paharpur is known to be the largest monastery present in South Asia. However, the ravages of time have changed it to mere ruins but even in the ruined form it equally fascinates travelers and brings glory to Bangladesh. It is the most interesting heritage site in Bangladesh. The Vihara used to be an epitome of charismatic architecture and the most significant archaeological sites of the country.
This remarkable Vihara was originally named as Somapura Mahavihara. It was prominent in the world as the most important intellectual centre. However, its downfall in 12th century AD shrunk its prominence as an intellectual centre. The Buddhist architecture and the unique infrastructure kept its name high as the design of the Vihara was inspired by different and distance cultures like Java (Indonesia). The monastery showcases a systematic plan influenced from culture of abroad. The Vihara still constitutes the artistic brilliance with pleasant lines, terracotta plaques of musicians, snake charmers and carved embellishments. The walls of the Vihara beautifully depict the life of the common man of the era.
Not just the architecture but the geographical setting of this monastery showcased rigorous planning and commendable hard work. The geographical situation served as the vital links for trade and cultural exchange between India and Southeast Asia since ancient times. This exchange further welcomed Buddhism in the 5th century and lead to the increase of the religious influence. The influence resulted in the building of such monasteries which now stands as the prominent heritage sites.Paharpur witnessed the emergence and fall of many empires. The most significant among them was the Pala Dynasty which ruled during 8th century. Under these Pala Dynasty Kings, Buddhism flourished and developed in the country. The kingdom wholeheartedly embraced the Buddhist ideals and established major Buddhist temples and monasteries in the region. It was the second King Dharmapala of the Pala Dynasty who gave orders to construct the present World heritage site - Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur. The place has a strong historical past which reflects the rough times the monument has sustained. One should definitely explore its remarkable history as well as the era-old charm that the edifice comprises.