Location : Lat. 250 19’ N ; Long. 87016’ E
District : Bhagalpur
State : Bihar
Excavation years : 1971 to 1982
Director of Excavations : B.S.Verma
Assisted by :

B.N.Prasad, S.C.Saran, B. Bandhopadhayay, S.K. Chaudhary & Vijay Shankar


The remains of historical Vikramshila Mahavihar/University, founded by the King Dharmpal (770-810A.D.) of Pala dynasty has been found in the excavation of village Antichak in district Bhagalpur of Bihar. The site is about 50 kms. east from Bhagalpur and about 15 kms. north–east from Kahalgaon Railway station. Famous Tibatan Lama Taranath has given a very elaborate description of this forgotten University. He refers the rich grants and regular allowances donated by the Pala rulers for maintenance of the Mahavihar. Dipanukara srijnana or Atisa, Nagarjuna, Ratnavajra, Acharya Jetari, and Ratna Kirti were scholars, who teaches Theology, Philosophy, Logic and Tantra to the students coming from various East Asian countries. All the six gates of the Mahavihar were presided over by the six dwarpandit who used to conduct a severe test for the candidates seeking for admission.

Initially excavation at Antichak has been started in 1960 by Prof. B.P. Sinha and continued till 1969. Though this was a small scale excavation but exposed a huge brick stupa, cruciform in plan with chambers and antechambers on its all the four directions along with two tiered Pradkshinapatha at a height about two meters from each others.
Further excavation has been conduct by this office from 1972 to 1981 which exposed a huge monastic complex measuring 330x330sq. mts. All together the remains of 208 monastic cells which measure 4.15x4.15 sq. mts. have been unearthed. The main gate has been exposed in the north of the monastery which was flanked with rectangular structure and the circular and rectangular projections around the outer wall.

The cells open into a passage supported on a 1.75 mts. thick inner wall. The passage of entrance is paved with brick on edge and covered on 7.08 mts. high eight monolithic pillars. At the end of the passage, there are three stone staircases and a heavy door–sill providing access to a big platform which is projected in the inner courtyard of the monastery which was also roofed and there are steps for going down in the inner courtyard. From here upto the main central stupa a badly damaged brick rammed pathway has been found.  
The magnificent central stupa of this Mahavihar has four chambers is all the coordinal directions in which colossal clay images of Baddha and Bodhisattvas were installed. It seems that when this clay image got weathered, these chambers were closed by bricks and stone images were installed on them. At a distance of about 70 mts. east from the north gate, a postern gate is also discovered which was blocked in later period. There are some other structural remains traced in course of excavation presumed to be as Mahavihara library and enclosure wall of the monastery. A cluster of votive stupas were also exposed on the either side of the main gate. Further 500 mts. east of the main monastery the remains of a fortress have also been exposed which is constructed by robbed materials of Mahavihara.

A large number of antiquities of terracotta, stone, iron copper, gold, silver, bronze, ivory, bone and shell have yielded in course of excavations. A large number of sculptures of Buddha, Bodhisattva, Maitreya, Manjusri, Marichi, Mahakala, Tara, Jambhala, Aparajita, Sadakshari Avalokiteshwara, Mahachanda Rosana, Navagraha, Vishnu, Siva, Uma-Maheshwara, Surya, Mahisasurmardini, Kaumari, Chamunda etc.  in stone and Buddha, Maitrya, Vajrapani, Avalokiteshwara, Lokeshwara etc. in bronze are noteworthy.

The entire complex is of single culture site with three sub-phases. In about 1206 A. D. this temple of learning was completely destroyed by the invaders.


“The excavation report of Antichak by Dr. B.S.Verma published by Archaeological Survey of India”.


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