- The ancient Buddhist centre literally means the place that confers the lotus.
- It was visited by Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira, but came into prominence after 5th century A.D., as a leading centre of learning in the world.
- Emperor Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons.
- Nalanda, the world’s first residential international university imparted teachings on philosophy, literature, medicine and Buddhism besides philosophies of Brahmanism and Jainism.
- Hieun Tsang and Fa-Hien, the great Chinese pilgrims and scholars visited Nalanda.
- According to Hieun Tsang, the university had 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world, who lived and studied here.
- There were massive libraries well stocked with a very rich collection of books on Hinayana, Mahayana, Brajyana Buddhism and other religious sects.
- The university also imparted the knowledge of sculptural art and some of the finest specimens of Indian sculptural art were created here.
- Great world University was invaded and brutally destroyed by the Turkish raider, Bakhtiar Khalji in 1235.
- An International Centre for Buddhist Studies was established here in 1951.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna (PAT), 89 kms away from Nalanda town.
- Rail: Bakhtiyarpur Railway Station, Bakhtiyarpur, 41 kms away from Nalanda town. Gaya Railway Station, Gaya, 95 kms away from Nalanda town.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT & MONUMENTS
Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex Nava Nalanda Mahavihara
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
Nalanda Archaeological Museum Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall
ATTRACTIONS OF NALANDA
- Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex:
- Excavation area of about 14 hectares has relics of beautiful red brick structures and gardens.
- Buildings are divided by a central walk way that extends in south – north direction.
- Viharas (monasteries) are to the east of this central alley, while the Chaityas (temples) are in the west.
- Vihara-1 is perhaps the most interesting with its cells on two floors built around a central courtyard where steps lead up to what must have been a dais for the professors to address their students.
- Nalanda’s main temple – Temple No. 3 is an enormous pyramidal mass rising to a height of 31 metres.
- Nalanda Archaeological Museum:
- It lies opposite the entrance to the ruins of the university.
- Exhibits artefacts excavated from the region.
- Nava Nalanda Mahavihara:
- New institute is engaged in the study and research of Pali literature and Buddhism.
- A number of students from abroad come here to study.
- Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall:
- Commemorates Hieun Tsang, the great Chinese scholar and traveller, who also studied and taught at Nalanda.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND NALANDA
- Bihar Sharif:
- 13 kms away from Nalanda town.
- It was the capital of the Muslim governors of Bihar between 13th and 16th centuries and became an important centre of culture and learning under their patronage.
- Today, it is well known for the tomb of Makhdum Shah Sharif-ud-din, a Muslim saint of 14th century.
- A large number of devotees visit the sacred site.