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Paharpur - The Single Largest Buddhist Monastrey South of teh Himalayas

Paharpur is a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj Railway Station in Naogaon district and about 60 km. away from Bogra town where the remains of the most important and the single largest known monastery - South of the Himalayas, has been excavated. This 8th century AD archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment occupies a quadrangular court, measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12 ft. to 15 ft. in height with an elaborate gateway complex on the north. There are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of the other three sides with a total number of 177 cells. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of southeast Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. It had taken its name from a high mound, which looks like pahar or hillock.

The excavated findings have also been preserved at the Verandra Research Museum at Rajshahi. The antiquities of the museum include potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other clay objects. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Beside throwing light on the architecture and Buddhist religion in early medieval Bengal, the Paharpur excavations were extremely significant in terms of the history of sculptural arts (both in stone and terracotta) in Bangladesh. No other single site has yielded so many stone sculptures and such numbers of terracotta plaques. These Paharpur sculptures, 63 of which are fixed on the basement wall of the temple, offer a unique

opportunity to make a detailed study of them from the religious, artistic, technical and socioeconomic points of view.

The numerous terracotta plaques, on the other hand, offer a means of study, among other things, of everyday life in Bangladesh in those bygone days. The number of miniature bronzes from Paharpur, which abound in Bhashu Vihara and Mainamati, however are not many. The discovery in 1982 of a 9th century torso (43) of a colossal bronze image of Buddha (which originally must have been over 8 ft. in height) mutilated by fire in ancient times, has however, compensated for this. It is a splendid example of the excellence achieved by 9th and 10th centuries AD in bronze casting.

Paharpur Museum

This north facing building accommdates three galleries around the central introductory hall. Except the western gallery, these are displaying the objects collected from Paharpur monastery and the western gallery is preseved for findings collected from the neighbouring regions of Paharpur.

Interested tourists may avail package tours offered by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and the Private tour operators for visiting the World Cultural Heritage at Paharpur.

How to go

There are luxurious coach services from Dhaka to Joypurhat. It takes about 5 hours to reach Joypurhat and there are rickshaws and auto-rickshaws available from there to go to Paharpur. Besides, it is possible to go to Paharpur from Dhaka by car or microbus. On the other hand, comfortable coach services are available from Dhaka to Bogra and from Bogra to Joypurhat takes about two and half hours and then from Joypurhat to Paharpur could be visited by rickshaw or auto-rickshaw.

Where to stay

There are a few accommodation and restaurant facilities at Joypurhat. But a good number of accommodation and restaurants are available in Bogra town. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation owns a modern luxurious motel with restaurant facilities in Bogra town. Besides, a number of private hotels, guest and rest-houses are available for tourists. Name and address of some motels are as follows:

Parjatan Motel, Bogra
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Sherpur Road, Banani, Bogra

Hotel Naz Garden
Silimpur, Bogra
Tel: 051-66655,73888,62468 Tel: 051-66753, 67024-7

Motel Safeway Int'l (Pvt.) Ltd.
Charmatha, Santahar Road, Bogra Tel: 051-66087
Fax: 880-51-73552

Motel North Way
Chinese restaurant and residential facility Latifpur Colony, Bogra
Tel: 051-66824, Mobile: 0171-385036

Visiting Hours at Paharpur Museum

1st April - 30th September
Monday - Thursday: 10:00 a. m. to 6:00 p.m. (Break: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Break: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.)

1st October - 30th March
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Break: 1 :00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Break: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.)

Note : The museum remains closed on Sunday and in all holidays as declared by the government. The Ramadan time-table is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a break from 1 :00 p.m. to 1 :30 p.m. except Friday.


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