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Travel Guide Nalanda

Nalanda - The Destination

It is the site of one of the greatest centers of learning in the ancient times. Once a greatly honored monument, today it stands in ruins and is a fascinating trip into the pages of history.
Nalanda University

The ruins of Nalanda University are spread over an area of 14 hectares. This university was totally built in red clay bricks. This university attracted scholars from all over the world. Even Chanakya or Kautilya was once a student of this university. This university was the seat of knowledge for the world. Today only the memories of those glorious days remain well preserved in the ruins. Among the ruins one still recognizes the different sections of the place. Particularly the place of worship and the hostels are very distinct. Beautiful lawns surround the whole area .  Amongst the  numerous  stupas , some of them were

built one over the other twice, even thrice, on the same spot. The main stupa is the result of seven successive accumulations of the shrine-chamber on the top, facing both, can be approached by the staircase of the sixth period. It presumably contained a colossal image of the Lord Buddha, as the pedestal therein would indicate. It derived its name from Na-alam-da, meaning Insatiable in Giving, one of the names by which the Lord Buddha was known.

A row of monastery sites lies from south to north. Almost all of them are of the same pattern. The monastery consisted, as usual, of a number of monk's cells with wide verandas in front, originally set round an open quadrangular court, but later separated from it by a high wall. It was originally a building of two, or probably more storeys, as is apparent from the existence of stairs in the south-east corner. In the courtyard there used to be Lord Buddha's shrine and a well in each monastery.

It goes entirely to the credit of some concerned individuals that the site has been saved. Sculptures, bas-reliefs and frescoes are to be seen amongst the ruins and at the Nalanda museum. In fact, the peaceful ruins are surrounded by shrubs and the scent of roses envelopes the visitor.

Nalanda - Facts at a Glance

State : Bihar
Area : 14 hectares
Temperature : 17.8 C – 37.8 C (Summer)
10.6 C – 27.8 (Winter)
Altitude : 67 mts
Language : Hindi, Maithili, Bhojpuri, English
Best Season : October-March

History of Nalanda

Established in the fifth century AD, Nalanda is renowned as an ancient seat of learning. However, today this ancient university lies in ruins. The place not only has the remains of the great university but also many monasteries, temples, and viharas built by different kings.

Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous center of Buddhist learning acquired fame much later, during 5th-12th centuries AD. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied.

The university was patronized by the Gupta, Kushan, and Pal kings in successive centuries. Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some of its most eminent patrons who built temples and monasteries here. Recent


excavations have discovered elaborate structures here. The university remained in prominence till 12 century AD when the Afghans attacked Bengal and burnt down this great University.

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