Nalanda is famous all over the world. An ancient university established in 5th century BC. Evidently, the subjects taught were Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Meta-Physics, Maths, Prose, Composition and Rhetoric.
Nalanda has ruins dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. Besides, it includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings). Also found are important art works in stucco, stone and metal. Moreover, Nalanda is the oldest university of the Subcontinent.
Nalanda was established in the 5th century AD in Bihar, India. Founded in 427 in northeastern India, not far from what is today the southern border of Nepal, it survived until 1197. It was devoted to Buddhist studies, but it also trained students in fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war.
However, Turkish Muslim invaders destroyed the University in 1193. Wherein they massacred students and teachers and burnt down the massive university library. Currently all that remains are extensive ruins spread over an area of 14 hectares.
Seals discovered in Nalanda refer to it as Mahavihara (“Great Monastery”). A museum at Nalanda houses many of the treasures found in the excavations. In 2016 the ruins were designated a UNESCOWorld Heritage site.
Places to see in Nalanda
Nalanda University is famous as the ancient seat of learning. Nalanda’s main importance comes from its Buddhist roots as a center of learning. Hsuan Tsang, the famous pilgrim from China came here and studied and taught for 5 years in the 7th Century A.D. Nalanda University at that time had over 10,000 students and 3,000 teachers. For some 700 years, between the 5th and 12th Centuries, Nalanda was the center of scholarship and Buddhist studies in the ancient world.
Surya Mandir, Nalanda
Dedicated to the Sun God, this temple is near the Nalanda University. It has Buddhist as well as Hindu deities. The temple also has a five feet high idol of Goddess Parvati. This temple conducts the popular Chatth Puja twice every year.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum
The museum holds ancient relics of Nalanda University. It offers a glance into the culture of ancient Nalanda. Additionally, you will find a variety of artifacts in the museum ranging from statues to other displays of art. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best places to see in Nalanda.
A holy site for the Jains, Pawapuri is in the Nalanda district. Pawapuri is the place of Mahavira‘s nirvana.
Best Time to Visit
October to March is the best time to visit Nalanda.
How to reach Nalanda
Airport: The nearest airport is in Patna 101 km away.
Railway Station: The nearest important station is Bihar Sharif (about 15 km). Nalanda itself is a station.
Road: Distance between Patna to Nalanda by Road is 80 Kms
Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar are the important places that are related directly to the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. In addition to these, there are various other important sites too where he had traveled during His lifetime. These are Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Keysariya, Kapilvastu, Sravasti, and many more.