Buddhist rock-cut cave – Vihara
Vihara is nothing but the Sanskrit and Pali term for a Buddhist monastery.Due to many numbers of Buddhist monasteries in the northern Indian state of Bihar area called as “vihara”.
Origin of Vihara
- Vihara was established in 2nd century BCE. The structure of Vihara was similar as rock cut chaitya-grihas of the Deccan which was most commonly seen in South of India.
- Vihara was built quadrangular court, flanked by small cells and the side where were facing it in later periods often incorporated a shrine for the image of the Buddha. Moreover the front wall pierced by a door. At that time few Viharas became extremely important institutions and some of them evolving into major Buddhist Universities with thousands of students, such as Nalanda.
- Viharas are the most important part and institution associated with Buddhism and only Vihara and Guha have survived till today. Some of them became obsolete.
History of Vihara
- In 3rd century BCE, The Buddhist Rock cut architecture found in the western deccan. These rock cut caves includes Bhaja caves, the Karla Caves, and some of the Ajanta Caves. It has been often accompanied traders for the trading business through Indian routes for the religious as well as commercial purposes. Few of the caves Viharas and Chaityas are commissioned by wealthy trades like pillars, Arches, Reliefs, Facades and trades were generally boomed between Roman empire and South east Asia.
- The viharas structure plan may be found out from the Xuanzang, Who is referred to the grand monastery of po-si-po, situated about 6.5 km west of the capital city of Pundravardhana in Mahasthan.
- However, The monastery was popular for its spacious halls and tall chambers. General Cunningham identified this vihara with bhasu vihara.
- The another great Huen-tsang also noticed the famous Lo-to-mo-chi vihara also known as Raktamrittika Mahavihara near Karnasuvarna Rangamati, Murshidabad in West Bengal.
- One of the oldest Viharas in West Bengal located at Biharail. It was designed on an spectacular design pattern and central courtyard during the Gupta period.