Home | Bodhgaya Excursions | Nalanda
Built on a sacred site where the Buddha had frequently stayed, Nalanda is one of the world's oldest living cities which is situated approx 68 kms. away from Gaya and14 kms. from Rajgir. There was a Buddhist University of Nalanda, which was the most esteemed center of learning in Asia. The university still exists here and the ancient ruins of its monasteries and temples still express a glowing impression of the tranquil and ordered life of contemplation and learning that prevailed here.
Another significant of this place is that-the Lord Buddha and Mahavira both visited this place several times and it remained a famous learning centre till 12th century. Kings of Gupta, Kushan and Palva reigns were the principal patrons of the centre, who built numerous monasteries and temples. The prominent Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang who came here in 7th century A.D as a faculty lived for some twelve years taught and studied here and his documents present details about the university. It is thought that the Nalanda University could accommodate 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers effortlessly. After Hiuen Tsang as many as 11 Chinese and Korean travelers had visited Nalanda. One more pilgrim who stayed at Nalanda for a considerable time was Tsang.
Established during Gupta Period, the University of Nalanda was a center of international repute and was a residential university for more than ten thousand students. Students from diverse parts of the world such as from China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Java, and Sumatra come to Nalanda to study Buddhism, Vedas, Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Meta-Physics, Prose Composition and Rhetoric. The library of the university had a huge collection of literature and books, which according to some scriptures numbered 9 million volumes. The bits and pieces of the university are scattered in an area of some 14 hectares even now. The fact itself shows that the university was booming in a large area and offered the need of a huge section of the students. It was unfortunate for this site that whole knowledge Kingdome was destroyed by the Turkish invader Bakhtiar Khilji in 13th century A.D. The monks were either killed or had fled. The great collections were burnt or destroyed.
Government of India has tried its best to re-establish the ancient glory of this place and in this endeavor in the year 1951, an international center for Buddhist studies was founded.
The major tourist attractions which you can visit during your travel to Nalanda are such as- Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall, The remnants of Nalanda University, Nav Nalanda Vihar, Kundalpur (important destination for Jains, particularly for the Digambar sect of the Jains), Surya Mandir, The Museum and many more.