The ruins of the vihara of Somapura in Bangladesh is the largest surviving monumental remains of the Pala dynasty , a dynasty that ruled much of India between the mid-8th and 12th centuries. And he did it always being followers of Mahayana Buddhism. And this vihara or Buddhist monastery is an extraordinary example. For this reason, this site located in the area of Paharpur, near the city of Rajshahi, is considered one of the greatest archaeological treasures in Bangladesh..
Its origins date back to the end of the 8th century, as it was built by the Emperor Dharmapala, the second representative of the dynasty and a fervent Buddhist who promoted this monastery or the Vikramashila, in addition to several universities closely linked to this religion and that lasted throughout the dynastic reign.
But in the 12th century, the Sena dynasty came to power, advocating another religion, Hinduism. So that meant additions linked to that faith. However, when the Islamic religion was established in this territory a century later, Somapura Mahavihara was gradually abandoned and forgotten.
And in this way we reach the 20th century when it becomes an object of archaeological study, since they are impressive ruins. Of the whole set, the attention is drawn to thegreat pyramid with a base in the form of a cross and that develops in a height of three levels. This occupies the central space, while the enclosure is walled. We are talking about a very long wall since its entire perimeter practically reaches a kilometer in length. Considerable dimensions that fulfill not only a protective function. That thick wall also served to locate inside almost 200 cells oriented towards the pyramid and in which the monks stayed in a very austere way.
If we look closely, everything is monumental, although with very simple lines. A set built with red brick, on which the reliefs and sculptures modeled in fired clay were fixed.
There are also other vestiges of the monastic complex. For example, there is a temple or a bath house, as well as the remains of an incomplete stupa, which some historians have wanted to relate to one of the most enigmatic sites in all of Central Asia: the from Mohendo Daro in Pakistan, although that one is much older. What is clear is that relationship between the sculptural decoration of Somapura Mahavira and other later Buddhist monasteries that were made in Southeast Asia, both in ancient Burmaas in Cambodia.