When it comes to visiting top word heritage sites in India, importance of Nalanda University ruins can’t be ignored. However, there are different types of ancient universities found in India, but Nalanda is considered among the world’s top universities in ancient times. From china to Central Asia, students came to grab desired education. It was considered as the best place to grab Vedic, Buddhism and ancient Indian education. If you are planning to visit a forgotten university with great Buddhism importance, you should look nowhere else but Nalanda. So, let’s have a detailed look at archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara or Nalanda University in the Indian state of Bihar.

Nalanda Our Pride

Nalanda Our Pride | Image Credits: By Arunava de Sarkar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What Is the History of Nalanda University in Bihar?

It was considered as a Mahavihara i.e. a grand Buddhist monastery during the kingdom of Magadha, which is now called Bihar. The archeological site is situated only 95km southeast area of Patna adjacent to the city of Bihar Sharif. Nalanda University used to be the center of higher education during the 7th century BCE to 1200 CE. The site has also been given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, there are no adequate evidences available regarding who constructed the university, but yes it has been found that the university was renovated and supported by various kings – from Great Ashoka to Harshvardhan. The best part of visiting this Buddhist monastery is that Lord Buddha visited the university several times during his own lifetime.

Long View Nalanda University

Long View Nalanda University | Image Credits: By Neilsatyam (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Insight about Nalanda University Archaeological Complex

This world-famous archaeological complex is known for its amazing history. It is an excavated location of an ancient university in India. The ruins of the university cover an area of about 14 hectares. It is considered among the most visited tourist destinations in Bihar. The archeological complex or area had red brick structures surrounded by beautiful gardens. It is certainly the great attraction when it comes to knowing about ancient educational system in India. However, there is no evidence available regarding how the building would be in past, but still it can be analyzed that it used to be a great educational complex. The most effective historical documents that modern experts found, is the written travelogue of Hieun Tsang who stayed in Nalanda during 7th century AD. This Chinese traveler encountered the reality of the then education system in ancient India. He expressed his thoughts in his writings regarding the monastic life of people living here.

Walled off Building at Nalanda

Walled off Building at Nalanda | Image Credits: By Photo Dharma from Penang, Malaysia (036 Walled off Building) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Contribution of Gupta Kings, Emperor Ashoka and Harshvardhana

However, there are various dynasties that took great interest in making the university a great place of grabbing higher education, but Gupta Kings gave something distinct. Available history shows that Gupta kings constructed several monasteries in the area using ancient Kusan architecture or design. Apart from the great contribution of the then Gupta kings, Emperor Ashoka and king Harshvardhana too did great job for the development and betterment of the university. They constructed several temples, monasteries, viharas, and other structures for the Nalanda University.

Nalanda University – How to Reach

Nalanda University in the Indian state of Bihar is a renowned Buddhist structure. However, the archeological site is situated in a remote village, but tourists can easily visit there. Since it is considered among the top 10 archeological sites in India, tourist or visitors can easily grab desired transportation to reach there.

By Air

The nearest airport is situated in Patna. It is only 90km far from the actual tourist destination. Domestic as well as international visitors or tourists can easily grab direct flight to Patna airport from any airport in the country.

By Train

If you want to reach Nalanda with great traveling comfort, railway can be a right option to go with. Bakhtiyarpur is the nearest railway station. It is located only 38m far from the actual tourist site. The best part of this railway station is that it falls in famous Delhi and Howrah line.

By Road

If you want to enjoy real tour in India, you are advised to witness the beauty of top tourist attractions in India by road. Nalanda is well-connected with neighboring cities, towns and villages via roads. It can easily be accessed from Delhi, Kolkata, Bodhgaya, and yes Patna.

Historical Facts about Nalanda University

  • Nalanda University is considered among the top ancient universities in the world.
  • It was formed during 5th century BC.
  • It’s highly believed that the university was visited by Lord Buddha several times in his lifetime.
  • It is found that during 7th century AD, the university has about 10000 students as well as 2000 teachers.
  • However, there is still no solid evidence available regarding who constructed the university, but still after analyzing the texts written by Chinese traveler and scholar, Xuanzang, it can be concluded that Gupta King Kumara Gupta played the great role in constructing the university.
  • The university witnessed its development and growth from 9th
  • It also witnessed its gradual downfall from 9th century to 13th
  • It was Bakhtiyar Khilji who demolished the sacred educational structure.

Places to See in Nalanda

If you want to witness the beauty of architecture, design and history of this most ancient Indian university, you should not forget visiting the top places to see in Nalanda. So, let’s have a quick look at what can be seen at Nalanda University archeological complex in Bihar.

  • Nalanda University ruins may cover an area of around 14 hectares.
  • The available edifices can be seen in red bricks.
  • Visitors or tourists still can enjoy witnessing the beauty of marvelous gardens in the archeological complex.
  • The structure is divided by a main walkway.
  • Monasteries are located on the eastern area of the walkway.
  • Ancient temples can be seen on the west site of the complex.
  • An archaeological museum situated at the entrance gate of the Nalanda complex is considered among the top attractions.
  • The museum is famous for its great collection of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures.
  • Other places to see in Nalanda complex are Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, gardens and a memorial hall devoted to Huien Tsang.

Best Time to Visit Nalanda

Tourists or visitors can visit this archeological site whenever they want irrespective of location, weather and time.

Timings: Tourists or visitors can visit here – from 9 AM to 5 PM.

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