Arguably the most essential Buddhist archaeological site in Bangladesh is the Shalban Buddha Vihara. It is located in Comilla. Comilla is placed about 97 km from Dhaka at its south-eastern side and is beside the Dhaka Chittagong Highway.
AT A GLANCE Name: Shalban Buddha Vihara Location: Shalban Vihara, Comilla, Bangladesh. Destination: Dhaka to Comilla Transport: BRTC exclusive AC bus service, Tisha Bus service, Asia Air Con. Bus Service, Upakul Travel (Royal/Platinum AC Bus Service), Prime Bus service etc bus services from Saydabad etc. Fair: BDT 250 – 800 (Bus) Time: 3- 4 Hours (Bus) Explore: Shalbon Buddha Bihar, Comilla, Bangladesh. Distance: 97 kilometers from Dhaka Cost: Depend to coverage tourists spots. Accommodation: Hotels available. Food: Available. Advice: Keep dry foods, water, medicines, saline, glucose, extra money, and kits.
There are numerous historical and archaeological places in and around Comilla. The northern part of Comilla is called Moinamoti, and the southern part of Comilla is called Lalmai. In between these two areas is situated the Shalban Buddha Vihara or Buddhist Vihara. There are 115 cells within the Shalban Buddha Vihara where many Buddhists practitioners used to study critical Buddhist texts and meditate. Bihar is known in English as a monastery, as Shalban Buddha Vihara is hence translated in English, Shalbon’s Buddhist Monastery. Some historians claimed that this Bihar, monastery, was built by Bhavadeva around the 8th century.
Four walls are surrounding the walls of Mainamati, but there was only one door for entering the monastery which was on the northern side. Archaeologists have unearthed many things such as silver coins, copper-plates, jewelry etc. in Shalbon Bihar. This place is wonderful for tourists, the vast open area unearthed by the archaeologist is magnificent, and indeed this place is a gift for Bangladesh and also for all its visitors.
Tourists must come and visit this historical place as in Bangladesh there are few places which are historical and as vast in size as the Shalbon Buddha Bihar. There are series of hills across the area of the Shalbon Bihar as between Mainamati and Lalmai there are situated a long series of hills running like waves.
About five kilometres north from the Shalbon Bihar, inside the Comilla Cantonment there exists a Kotila Mura, a flattened Hillock where there exist three stupas representing the three jewels of Buddhism which are Buddham Saranam Gachammi, Sangham Saranam Gachammi, Dhammam Saranam Gacchami. All in all this place is transcendental in its beauty and majestic in its appearance, and every tourist who intends to tour around Bangladesh must at least for once visit this fantastic place.
How to go to Comilla and then to Shalbon Bihar
There are a couple of ways for tourists to visit Comilla from Dhaka. Firstly those tourists who prefer travelling by road for them there are various bus services BRTC exclusive AC bus service, Tisha Bus service, Asia Air Con. Bus Service, Upakul Travel (Royal/Platinum AC Bus Service), Prime Bus service and a lot more bus services are there. Tourists can select any of these bus services and quickly travel to Comilla. AC Bus tickets start from 500 taka and go up to approximately 800, more or less, taka. Non AC bus ticket costs around 300 to 350 taka, there is also bus service whose ticket cost is 250 taka. Tourists can select any of the bus services depending on their preference and travel to Comilla.
Another way to travel to Comilla is by train. There are some train services such as Dhaka Mail, Karnafuli Express, Chattala Express, Mahanagar Godhuli, Upakul Express etc. which depart from Dhaka to Comilla and also come back to Dhaka from Comilla almost every day. There is the number of services so tourists will have no hassle as far as availability of train tickets are concerned.
Once tourists are in Comilla, they can take a taxi and directly visit the Shalban Buddha Vihara. Also, tourists can go to the Comilla Cantonment Bus Stand, and from there they will find rickshaws and buses as well available which will directly take the tourists to Shalbon Bihar.
Living Accommodations and Food Facilities in Comilla
There are many quality residential hotels and rest houses in Comilla where tourists can stay. For example Hotel Nurjahan in Paduar Bazaar, Ajmeer Rest House in Monohorpur, Ansaria Rest House in Mogoltuli, Hotel Dreamland in Chattipotti are some hotels where tourists can spend the night comfortably. All these hotels are near inside the Comilla town so tourists will easily be able to find them.
It is wise to visit the Shalbon Bihar by day and see and experience its magnanimous physical structure and the vast open spaces with hills covered by green grass and return to Comilla town before nightfall. From Comilla town, tourists can travel to Shalban Buddha Vihara and come back to Comilla town.