Nalanda : Ancient University

Nalanda is the site of one of the most ancient universities in the world. Nalada was also one of the greatest universities in the ancient world and it was an important center for Buddhist learning. Now, the glorious university lies in ruins.

Nalanda was founded sometime in the 5th century AD. Xuan Zang, the great Chinese traveller and scholar visited Nalanda sometime between the years of 685 and 762 AD; he was stunned at the university. He found nearly 10,000 students and Buddhist monks living here study subjects that seem remarkable for its age. Among the advanced subjects once taught here, there were philosophy, medicine, metaphysics, astronomy and theology. The library was extensive and was said to have burnt continuously for six months after the university was attacked and sacked by invaders in the 12th century.

With the invasion, the glory of the Nalanda University came to an end. The ruins of the Nalanda University now lie peacefully surrounding the landscape filled with beautiful shrubs, lawns and roses bushes. You can take a walk through the labyrinth of ancient buildings with their remarkable structures and wonder how stunning they would have looked during their heydays.

Amongst the ruins, you can find the remains of four temples and nine monasteries. The Great Stupa is a particularly majestic sight. There is a museum here as well which showcases artifacts that were discorded here and in Rajgir. A visit to the museum will be a fascinating journey back in time. The Xuanzang Memorial Hall is huge and is dedicated to the Chinese scholar who studied and even taught at Nalanda for a few years.