Mainamati (Bengali: ময়নামতি Môenamoti) is an isolated low, dimpled range of hills, dotted -with more than 50 ancient Buddhist settlements of the 8th to 12th century A.D. It is extended through the centre of the district of Comilla. Mainamati is located almost 8 miles from the town of Comilla, Bangladesh. It is the home of one of the most important Buddhist archaeological sites in the region. There are a number of Buddhist sites in this region, dating approximately from 7th to 12th centuries CE. Comilla Cantonment is located nearby and houses a beautiful colonial era cemetery. Mainamati is named for the Candra queen of the same name, mother of the Govindachandra. Mainamati is only 114 km. from Dhaka city and is just a day's trip by road on way to Chittagong.
The centre piece of the Buddhist sites at Mainamati is the Shalban vihara, almost in the middle of the Mainamati-Lalmai hill range consists of 115 cells, built around a spacious courtyard with a cruciform temple in the centre, facing its only gateway complex to the north, resembling that of the Sompur Bihara. It is clearly a Vihara, or an educational centre with residential facilities.
Kutila Mura situated on a flattened hillock, about 5 km north of Shalban Vihara inside the Comilla Cantonment is a picturesque Buddhist establishment. Here, three stupas are found side by side representing the Buddhist "Trinity" or three jewels, i.e. the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Charpatra Mura is an isolated small oblong shrine situated about 2.5 km. north-west of Kotila Mura stupas. The only approach to the shrine is from the East through a gateway which leads to a spacious hall. Here a number of shrines can be found.
The Mainamati site Museum, situated next to Shalvan Vihara, houses a good collection of artifacts found at these sites. The Museum has a rich and varied collection of copper plates, gold and silver coins and 86 bronze objects. Over 150 bronze statues have been recovered mostly from the monastic cells, bronze stupas, stone sculptures and hundreds of terracotta plaques each measuring on an average of 9" high and 8" to 12" wide.
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