High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Pranay Verma on Tuesday visited Shalban Buddhist Vihar located in Cumilla District of Bangladesh. The High Commissioner also visited the Mainamati Museum located in the south of Shalbon Vihara. Verma discussed with the curator and local administrative officers about the excavations, upkeep, and preservation of Shalban Vihar archaeological site and Mainamati Museum.
Shalban Buddhist Vihara is located in the Lalmai-Mainamati region of the Cumilla district and is one of the archaeological sites of the ancient civilization of undivided India. The ruins of Buddhist temples and viharas were uncovered in this archaeological site known as ‘Shalban Vihara during archaeological excavations conducted at different times. The actual name of Shalban Vihara is ‘Bhabadeva Mohavihara. This Mohavihara was built by the fourth King Bhabadeva during the rule of the Deva dynasty from the middle of the seventh to the eighth century CE.
The length of each side of the square vihara is 168 meters. The Vihara has a total of 115 monk’s rooms in its four arms and a temple in the middle. Several smaller temples and ruins of stupas are uncovered around the central main temple. The unique attraction of this Vihara is the ruins of the large arcade uncovered on the north side. Four phases of ruins of construction, reconstruction, and renovation-repair at Shalban Vihara are exposed during archaeological excavations.
Shalban Vihara is an excellent example of the complete development of Buddhist temple architecture in Bengal during the seventh-eighth centuries CE.
Various valuable artifacts including various types of terracotta plaques, pottery, terracotta beads, bronze and clay figurines, decorated bricks, copperplate inscriptions, seals, and gold and silver coins are found during the archaeological excavations. These artifacts are preserved and displayed in the Mainamati Museum located in the south of Shalbon Vihara. The antiquities discovered in Shalban Vihara bear the memories of the ancient Bengal and Samatata towns from the seventh to the twelfth century CE.