By far the most spectacular Buddhist monuments, discovered in regular excavation is the gigantic temple and monastery at Paharpur in the Noagaon district. Architecturally and historically Paharpur Vihara is a treasured heritage of the world. It has been identified from a set of inscribed clay seals, as the reputed Somapura Vihara, of the great Pala emperor Dharmapala. It is the single largest Vihara south of the Himalayas. This immense quadrangular monastery with 177 monastic cells enclosing the courtyard, its elaborate northern gateway and numerous votive stupas, minor chapels and extensive ancillary buildings within the 22 acre courtyard, is dominated by a lofty pyramidal temple in the centre. A site museum houses the representative collections of objects recovered from the area. The excavated finds have also been preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi.
Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in Bangladesh. The village Mahasthan in Shibganj thana of Bogura District contains the remains of an ancient city which was called Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura in the territory of Pundravardhana. A limestone slab bearing six lines in Prakrit in Brahmi script, discovered in 1931, dates Mahasthangarh to at least the 3rd century BC. The fortified area was in use till the 18th century AD.
Mahasthan means a place that has excellent sanctity and garh means fort. Mahasthan was first mentioned in a Sanskrit text of the 13th century entitled Vallalcharita. It is also mentioned in an anonymous text Karatoya mahatmya, circumstantially placed in 12th–13th century. The same text also mentions two more names to mean the same place – Pundrakshetra, land of the Pundras, and Pundranagara, city of the Pundras. In 1685, an administrative decree mentioned the place as Mastangarh, a mixture of Sanskrit and Persian meaning fortified place of an auspicious personage. Subsequent discoveries have confirmed that the earlier name was Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura, and that the present name of Mahasthangarh is of later origin.
Mahasthangarh is a notable historical tourist attraction of Bangladesh. Many tourists come here to see the glory of Mahasthangarh.