Vasu monastery, (near) Mahasthangarh, Rajshahi Division, BD

Raw data

"The grand monastery of Po-si-po, situated about 6.5 km west of the capital city of Pundravardhana (Mahasthan). The monastery was famous for its spacious halls and tall chambers. General Cunningham identified this vihara with Bhasu Vihara."

Buddhist Viharas in Bangladesh
Bhasu Vihara (N of Bogra)

"Mahasthan or Mahasthangarh  represents the earliest and the largest archaeological site in Bangladesh, consists of the ruins of the ancient city of Pundranagara. The site is 13 km north of Bogra town on the Dhaka-Dinajpur highway."

"The ruins of the city of Pundranagara (Pundravardhanapura of the Gupta and subsequent periods) have been identified with the ruins discovered at Mahasthan [=Mahasthangarh - tmc], Bogra district, on the basis of the above mentioned Brahmi inscription, Hiuen-tsang's account, who visited the place in the 7th century AD, and the early medieval literary text of Karatoyamahatmya."

Bogra, Bangladesh Page
World:Bangladesh:Rajshahi Division
Latitude 24.8500 Longitude 89.3667

"About four miles (six km) west of Mahasthan are the ruins of Vasu Bihar, an early Buddhist monastic site recorded by the famous Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang in the seventh century."

"Bihar and Vasu-Bihar are two villages, situated about 4km to the west of Mahasthangarh. The Nagar river passes through the present Bihar village and, on its western bank, there is a very large brick mound, approximately measuring 213.3m ? 182.8m. About 1.61km northwest of this place is the Vasu-Bihar village, where there is another considerably large mound, about 9.14m high, locally known as Narapatir Dhap. A little south or this ruined mound lies a large tank known as Jhinjhrailer Dighi. Close to it on the northwest, the ruins of a temple with carved and ornamental bricks is visible, which now bears the name of Sanyasir Bari. Beyond that on further south lies the Susong Dighi or Sasanka Dighi, traditionally known to have been excavated by king Sasanka (606-636 A.D.). Another large ancient brick mound also is visible towards the south of the Bihar village, situated on a large tank.

The famous Chinese pilgrim, Yuan Chwang, in his itinerary has mentioned Po-Shi-Po, the name of a grand monastery situated about 6km west of Pundravardhana (Pan-na-fa-tan-na), which he visited. Cunningham identifies this Po-Shi-Po either with the mound located at Bihar or at Vasu-Bihar. The pilgrim found here ‘a grand monastery remarkable for the size and height of its tower and pavilion. It was occupied by no less than 700 monks who studied the Mahayana; and men famous for their learning flocked here from the eastern districts. At a short distance from the monastery there was a stupa built by Asoka on the site where Buddha explained his laws to the Devas. Near this was a spot where the last Buddha had taken exercise and rested, traces of his foot-marks were still to be seen’.‘Not far from the last place there was a temple containing the statue of Avalokitesvara which manifested its divine powers by prodigies’.

Cunningham identifies the great monastery of Yuan Chwang with the extensive brick mound of the Bihar village itself. The lofty stupa built by Asoka, he thinks, is well represented by the solid brick mound at Vasu Bihar (present Narapatir Dhap), to the east of which is a large tank (present Jhinjhrailer Dighi).

He further identifies the Vihara containing statue of Avalokitesvara with the small ruined temple to the north-west of the Asokan Stupa (present Sanyasir Bari). He describes that ‘It is a small building, only 3.9m ?3.3m inside, but the walls are 1.21m thick and it is surrounded by a wall forming an enclosure 31.69m long from north to south by 19.50m broad. The entrance is on the south towards the stupa. No remains of sculpture could be found, but there were plenty of carved bricks, both in situ in the walls and scattered about the ground. Recent excavation, however, has revealed the derelict relic of a medium size Buddhist monastery at village Bihar and a group of three smaller monasteries at village Vasu-Bihar. They have been dated in the 7th- 10th century A.D."

Lat 24.961031, Long 89.342722

"List of All Sites of Bangladesh: Rajshahi Division
Sly.No District Upaziila Monuments/Sites
34 Bogra Do Narapatir Dhap (Bhasu Bihar)"

Input by: tmciolek, Jul 16, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 30 Jul 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Vasu monastery, BD.

General location of the Vasu monastery, BD.
Lat 24.961031, Long 89.342722
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2010.

Google Map link:,%20BD)&ll=24.961031,89.342722&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Vasu monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Bangladesh:Rajshahi Division

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag: 0633-66p - tmciolek 30 Jul 2014
0633-66p 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag: 0933-66p - tmciolek 30 Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological, pilgrim account

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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