SOMPURA MAHAVIHARA – The University of Southern Himalyas

 SOMPURA MAHAVIHARA – The University of Southern Himalyas

Sompura Mahavihara was built in the 8th century and is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries, important archaeological sites, and monasteries in Paharpur Bangladesh. A large number of Hindu idols were found here. It is one of the major architectural examples of pre-Islamic Bangladesh. Xuanzang of China used to live in this Sompura monastery. 

Sompura Vihar is spread over a total of 27 acres, which makes it the largest monastery in the south of the Himalayas. Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists alternately occupied, which can be seen through the artwork on the outer wall here. 

Scholars like Mahapanditacharya Bodhibhadra, Kalamahapada, Virendra, and Karunasrimishra had spent some part of their life here. 

Sompura Vihara is a Mahavihara built in a quadrilateral structure, in which there are 177 rooms and a Buddhist stupa in the middle. The rooms were used for accommodation by the monks of the monastery. This monastery was the largest in area, and there was a temple in this complex that brings to memory the Hindu-Buddhist temples of Burma, Jaba, and Cambodia. 

This Mahavihara was put to an end in the middle of the 12th century by the Brahmaakshatriya army of Karnatakadeshtagata, and it was completely abandoned by about the 13th century, and since then it came under the possession of Muslims. 

Sompura was included in the list of World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985. UNESCO found that the site lacks maintenance, and manpower, while due to heavy rainfall, poor drainage has caused the idols to get spoiled. Due to this, a plan was made by the United Nations to save 5.6 million Sompura Vihar.

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