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Somapura Mahavihara at Pahapur

Naogaon District is within the Rajshahi Division in northeastern Bangladesh. The district is perhaps most well known for being home to the world heritage listed Paharpur Vihar.



Naogaon is an important farming region, with extremely fertile soil and one of the highest cultivation rates of rice than any other district. 90% of the population is Muslim and the majority live a simple, farming lifestyle.

As historical data and establishment in the town, the district was most famous for marijuana. Naogaon district had a very big marijuana warehouse since British rule in the subcontinent.

Get in


Three major highways lead into the Naogaon District, from Bogra, Natore and Rajshahi.

By bus


It takes about 5½ hours by road to reach Naogaon from the capital, Dhaka. A number of bus services are available from Dhaka via Bogra, some with air-conditioning. Bus services to other major districts are also available from the Gabtali & Mohakhali bus terminal.

Some bus services for Dhaka to Naogaon are:

  • Shayamoli Paribahan - Tk350-450
  • Hanif Enterprise - Tk350-450
  • Ekota Paribahan - Tk350-450
  • S R Travels - Tk350-450. Air conditioned: Tk650 (varies)

There are plenty more services almost similar, but air conditioned services give a little deluxe flavour.

By train


There are a number of intercity services between Dhaka and Naogaon each day. Main railway station in Naogoan is "Santahar Junction", which is situated at the end of Bogra. However it costs just TK 15–20 to reach Naogaon by rickshaw or CNG-powered auto rickshaw.

From Dhaka to Santahar, Naogaon Intercity trains from BimanBandar: Except "Nilsagar" all the train can be embarked on from "Kamlapur Junction Station, Dhaka" as well. Just add around 35-40 mins prior to the time given for Bimanbandor (Bengali of Airport) time.

  • Train No Name Off Day From Departure To Arrival
  • 772 Rangpur Express Monday BimanBandar 05:58 Dhaka ₩6:35
  • 771 Rangpur Express Sunday BimanBandar 09:33 Banga Bondhu setu (East) 11:32
  • 705 Ekota Express Tuesday BimanBandar 10:22 Dinajpur 19:10
  • 706 Ekota Express Monday BimanBandar 06:43 Dhaka 07:40
  • 751 Lalmani Express Friday BimanBandar 22:42 Lalmonirhat 08:20
  • 752 Lalmani Express Friday BimanBandar 20:28 Dhaka 21:05
  • 757 Drutajan Express Wednesday BimanBandar 20:12 Dinajpur 05:00
  • 758 Drutajan Express Wednesday BimanBandar 17:10 Dhaka 17:55
  • 765 Nilsagar Monday BimanBandar 08:36 Nilphamari 17:30
  • 766 Nilsagar Sunday BimanBandar 07:35 Dhaka Cantt 07:45
Indented line

Note: All the train above touches "Santahar", destination above are end destination of the train.

From Santhar, Naogaon to Dhaka
Train No Name Off Day From Departure To Arrival
772 Rangpur Express Sunday Santahar 23:55 Dhaka 06:35
706 Ekota Express Monday Santahar 00:45 Dhaka 07:40
748 Simanta Express No Santahar 21:45 Khulna 04:30
752 Lalmoni Express Friday Santahar 14:30 Dhaka 21:05
758 Drutajan Express Wednesday Santahar 11:15 Dhaka 17:55
766 Nilshagar Sunday Santahar 01:50 Dhaka Cantt 07:45
  • 1 Santahar Junction railway station. Santahar Junction railway station (Q7420007) on Wikidata Santahar Junction railway station on Wikipedia
  • 2 Jamalganj railway station. The railway station closest to Paharpur. It's served by just one daily train from Santahar. Jamalganj Railway Station (Q16956696) on Wikidata Jamalganj railway station on Wikipedia

By car

A road trip with no destination

The journey from Dhaka is around 240 km, taking approximately 5 hours, depending on traffic. One must cross the famous Jamuna Bridge to reach the city.

The ruins at Paharpur are situated just off the Naogaon-Jaipurhat Road. There are regular buses from Jaipurhat between 07:00 and 16:00 to Paharpur for Tk10. The journey is 9 km, taking about 25 minutes.

Another option is to catch a train to Jamalganj Railway Station, located only 4.5 km down the road (about 10 minutes). A rickshaw can be waved down for the short trip from the station to the Paharpur ruins.

Get around

Map of Naogaon District

Buses can be used to get between major towns, or else rickshaws for small distances. There are two major bus stands/stops in Naogaon District. The first but small one is Dhaka Bus Stand, where usually you will get buses to go to Dhaka, Bogra, Sylhet & Chittagong mainly. The other one is Baludangga Bus Stand almost at the end of the Naogaon Municipality. At Baludangga Bus Stand you get buses to travel to Paharpur, and other Sub-division of Naogaon District, such Sapahar, Nazipur, badalgachi etc.

The other most convenient options is the Bangladesh Railway, from Santahar Railway Station. You can find numerous trains from Santahar to various district in Northern & Southern Bangladesh. Using First class ticket is a very convenient way for foreign tourists, to be safe and pleasant journey, and price is also very reasonable in fact Bangladesh Railway is cheap.


  • 1 Balihar Royal Palace (Balihar Rajbari), Sadar. This was home to the Balihar kings with ponds (dighis) and even a zoo that sported monkeys and tigers and such. After transitioning to the zamindari system and then the abolishment of that with the partition in 1947, this and other places like it were abandoned.
  • 2 Dubalhati Rajbari (24.7974884, 88.9337213), Village of Dubalhati (about 6km west of Naogaon City). An ancient mansion built sometime during the Pala Dynasty (8th-11th centuries). It is a three-building that stands on tall, wide columns at the front. Although it has fallen into disrepair, the mansion is still occasionally used for events and seminars.
  • 3 Kusumba Mosque, Rajshahi-Naogaon Hwy, Kusumba. Located on the bank of the Atrai River, this 16th century mosque was built by an Afghan ruler of Bengal. The building itself is circumscribed by an elaborate wall and entrance gate, with sentry boxes for guards. It is in the style of most traditional Bengali mosques, with three domes on a square building made of stone and bricks. Elaborate carvings adorn many of it walls. Kusumba_Mosque on Wikipedia
  • 4 Village of Patisar (12 km south-east of Atrai Railway Station). Patisar is a small village that was the home of famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore, the writer of the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems. A ruined zamindari mansion is still located in the town. During the birth and death anniversaries of Tagore, festivals and events are held in the village to celebrate the occasion.
  • 5 Debor Dighi. Tank with a granite pillar in the center to commemorate how Kaivarta chief Dibya took over the Pala throne. Dibar_Dighi on Wikipedia
  • 6 Jagaddala Mahavihara. Monastery or mahavihara built by the Buddhist Pala kingdom around 1100 AD in a region of the time known as Varendra but abandoned by 1207 when the Muslims came. Jagaddala_Mahavihara on Wikipedia


Kusumba Mosque, Naogaon
Paharpur Buddhist Bihar

Probably the most renowned monument in the region is the ruins of a major Buddhist vihara: Somapura Mahavihara. Also known as Paharpur Vihar, it is located in the tiny town of Paharpur, 5km west of Jamalganj. The shrine is estimated to have been built sometime during the 7th or 8th century. It formed part of a network of five major monasteries across the Indian subcontinent, and scholars would regularly travel between the sites as part of their lifelong learning. The monastery was destroyed by fire during a conquest, but rebuilt about a century later. When the area came under Muslim occupation in the 13th century, Paharpur went into decline until it was finally abandoned in the 13th century when the Buddhist population fled the region. Its ruins today are not the result of any conquest, but of centuries without maintenance or use.

The architecture is not particularly Indian, but influenced by similar sites in Myanmar and Java. To the north is an elaborate gateway complex, with other sites surrounding the temple. The temple is raised upon a pyramid structure, which is all that really remains of the original building. On the walls, various pictures and script can be observed.

A site museum is located right near the structure. It houses a collection of interesting objects collected from excavations in the area. Some valuable artefacts are housed at the Varendra Museum in Rajshahi, while others are on what seems like a permanent world tour. Artefacts on display include terracotta plaques, images of various gods and goddesses, Buddha heads, pottery, coins, ornamental bricks and other clay items. Admission to the museum is Tk50. Opening hours from April to September are: M 14:30-18:00, Tu-Th Sa 10:00-13:00 & 13:30-18:00, F 10:00-12:30 & 14:30-18:00. From October to March: M 13:30-17:00, Tu-Th Sa 09:00-13:00 & 1:30-17:00, F 09:00-12:30 & 14:00-17:00.

Getting there: Paharpur is a good day trip from Bogra. From Charmatha Bus Terminal, ask around for a bus to Joypurhat. You will not have to wait long and the bus will take approximately two hours. From Joypurhat, either wait for a bus (infrequent) or take an auto-rickshaw. The auto-rickshaw should take you through scenic backroads, while the bus will be a slow and bumpy ride.

  • 7 Somapura Mahavihara. Somapura Mahavihara (Q305044) on Wikidata Somapura Mahavihara on Wikipedia





There are not so much famous restaurant in Naogaon. Good Hotels are in "Churi patti, Islampur " Area, middle of the Naogaon Bazaar. But they are mostly famous for their sweets and yogurt. Most of the hotels are good with Bangladeshi foods, and a good place for snacks in "Bridg er More", adjacent to Naogaon Bridge.


  • Archaeological Rest House, Paharpur, +880 571 89119. Located in the white building right near the ruins, the rooms are clean and spacey. The buildings are located within the boundary of the ruins, allowing visitors to go out for a stroll on their own at night. Ask at the museum if no one is working in the rest house. Tk200 per person.

Go next

  • Bogra District - Borders the district in the east, just beside Naogaon City.
  • India - The West Bengal region borders the district in the north and the west, although there are no significant land border crossings.
  • Jaipurhat District - Located to the north-east, only a few kilometres from the Paharpur site.
  • Natore District - Borders in the south-east.
  • Nawabganj District - Borders the district to the south-west.
  • Rajshahi - The division capital within Rajshahi District, which makes a good base to explore the surrounding districts and regions.

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