Thursday, June 24, 2010


Most would suggest Thailand if asked to say where this magnificent temple is to be found. They would be wrong. It is, in fact, in Bandarban area of the ‘Hill tracts’ in east Bangladesh. And Bangladesh is surprisingly, where some of the most notable Buddhist sites in South Asia are to be found.

From the world heritage site of South Asia’s largest vihara at Paharpur, through the Ancient City site of Mahasthanghar that was obviously an early Buddhist convert, to at least three other major sites in Comilla,and North Bengal, there is much to visit and see of the past and present of this, one of the world’s great religions.

Across the ‘Hill Tracts’ and along the eastern coastal area there are still many, mostly small, and some ancient, temples and monasteries.A few of the latter are wooden structures, in the style of local house building, including the one in the heart of Cox’s Bazaar.

Bangladesh, a largely Sunni Muslim Islamic nation, with a history of art visible in so many of its ancient mosques, was founded on a secular constitution. It is rich in historic places of worship and study of all major religions, bearing testimony to its rich and diverse past. And religious tourism is welcomed.

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