Explore the Attractions of Naogaon District
Forming part of the Rajshahi Division, the district of Naogaon in northern Bangladesh has a number of interesting sites to visit. One of the historical attractions of Naogaon is the ruined Raja’s Mansion at Dubalhati. Constructed during the Pala Dynasty (750-1174), this once majestic palace was occupied by the Rajas and Jamindars who ruled the area at the time. The building has been left to decay, but visitors can nonetheless get an idea of its size and architecture, with the sleeping chambers, dining hall, prayer hall, private theater, guest house, stables and attendants quarters still discernible. The palace was originally a three-floored building, but only two floors remain, with some terracotta embellishments and motifs made from plaster having escaped destruction by the elements. Four ponds surround the palace, and large water storage tanks remain within the palace walls, built by Raja Horonath Ray Bahadur I to provide locals with water during the 1874 famine. He also furthered education in the area by founding the high school named in his honor and being a financial benefactor of the Rajshahi Government College.
The village of Paharpur in the Naogaon district is likely best known for the archeological excavations of the Buddhist monastery Somapura Mahavihara. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, this interesting structure was built during the Pala era by Dharmapala, the second king of the dynasty. It has a traditional Buddhist stupa in the center, surrounded by 177 cells used as accommodation and meditation rooms by the monks. Archeological excavations have uncovered additional stupas, along with shrines, terracotta plaques, coins, ceramics, sculptures and other items. Although identified as a Buddhist center, it was also used by Jains and Hindus. Today, visitors can explore this historical marvel and thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, steps are being taken to protect Somapura Mahavihara from further deterioration and damage.
Other places of interest to visit in the Naogaon district are the village of Patisar and the Kusumba Mosque. Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore‘s grandfather, Dwarkanath Tagore, bought Patisar as a zamindari in 1830. The renowned Nobel laureate stayed there for a time, composing poems, and writing stories, essays and novels. He was also instrumental in establishing a number of primary schools and introducing agricultural and craft cooperatives to raise the standard of living in the area. Each year Patiswar celebrates the birth and commemorates the death of Rabindranath Tagore, with devotees traveling from far and wide to attend these occasions.