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Nalanda, the Ancient Buddhist University

Nalanda was an ancient Buddhist University for higher education which is located about 89 km away from Patna in the state of Bihar, India. It was founded by the Gupta ruler, Kumaragupta-I in about 427 BC and it was later supported by the Buddhist emperors Harshabardhana and Pala Emperors. Nalanda University complex cover an area of 14 hectors and its building were constructed with red bricks. Today, Nalanda is in ruin but its architectural masterpiece still can be imagining from its rest portion. There were eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms with in the university complex.

Nalanda was one of the world's ancient housing universities where the students and faculty members were facilitated with comfortable accommodations. The hostels of Nalanda were the abode of about 10,001 students and 2001 teachers and the subjects taught at Nalanda covered every field of learning such as fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, war tactics, politics, etc. It attracted many pupils and teachers from the neighboring countries like Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. The library of Nalanda was most renowned storehouse of Buddhist knowledge in the world at the time which contains a collection of about hundreds of thousands of volumes.

The Ruins of Nalanda University, Bihar

(The Ruins of Ancient Buddhist Nalanda University, Bihar)

Nalanda was destroyed by Turkic invader Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1197. The great library of Nalanda University was so vast that it is reported to have burned for four months after the invaders set fire to it. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj reported that thousands of monks were burned alive or killed by sword as Khilji tried to uproot Buddhism and plant Islam. The last throne-holder of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, fled to Tibet in 1204 BC at the invitation of the Tibetan translator Tropu Lotsawa. Recently, in 2006 a proposal has taken to restore and revive the university as Nalanda International University by the together cooperation of Singapore, China, India, Japan, and other nations.

Tour Spots in and around Nalanda

The Ruins of Nalanda University are spread over 14 hectares of land. You will found here many Buddhist structures including stupas, chaityas, temples and monasteries. The ruins of student hostels indicate the residential status of Nalanda.

Stupa of Sariputta is one of the most noticeable structures among the ruins of Nalanda. It was a place was where Lord Buddha believed to have attained salvation. It is an impressive structure with a pyramidal shape and towers above the entire complex and surrounded by pillared structures.

Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall is erected in memory of the famous Chinese scholar, Hiuen Tsang who stayed here for 12 years as part of his tour of India in the 7th century.

Surya Temple was constructed respect to the Sun God. Several statues of Buddha and Hindu gods are major attractions of the temple. Among them the five ft high statue of Goddess Parvati is best.

Nalanda museum was established in 1971 for tourist to provide the historical glory of it. You will discover here a large number of artifacts that include manuscripts, seals, and statues.

Nav Nalanda Vihar institute was set up in 1951 by the state government to bring back the status of Nalanda. The institute teaches the Pali language and other aspects of Buddhism to Indian and foreign students.

Bihar Sharif is located about 14 km away from Nalanda. The tomb of Malik Ibrahim Vaya, Hanuman Mandir at Badi Pahari, and prison of Jarasandh are major tourist attractions at Bihar Sharif.

Pawapuri was once famous for Jain culture located about 22 km away. Lord Mahavira and the founder of Jainism, breathed his last at this place, and were cremated here around 500 BC. Now Jalmandir (a Jain temple) is major attraction at Pawapuri. Another Jain temple called Samosharan is located here.

Some other major tourist destinations around Nalanda are Rajgir, Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Baihsali, Buxur, Muzuffarpur, etc. The hill town of Rajgir located just 12 km away from Nalanda famous for its unique hot springs and it is surrounded by seven hills with the midst of lush green forest.

How to reach Nalanda?

Travel by Roadways
Nalanda is well connected to its adjoining cities with roadways like Rajgir, Bodh Gaya, Gaya, Pawapuri, and Bihar Sharif. Patna, the capital city of Bihar located about 89 km away from Nalanda which is well served by several state and private regular buses to this destination.

Travel by Railways
Rajgir is the closest railway station to Nalanda located about 10 km away and it is by regular passenger trains from Patna. If you a traveler from out side the Bihar State, like Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi and some other major points of eastern India, then the railway station of Gaya which is located about 64 km away will be best for you.

Travel by Airways
The nearest airport of Nalanda is situated in Patna about 89 km away. It receive several domestic flights from major parts of India like Kolkata, Delhi, Ranchi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Lucknow, etc. You can also reach here from Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal.

Hotels in Nalanda

Indo Hókke Hotel
Near Virayatan, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255245
Hotel Mamata
Dharmshala Road, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255044
Hotel Siddhartha
East of Kûnd Road, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255216
Hotel Sardá Group
Near Police Station, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255201
Hotel Akâsh
Main Bazar, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255239
Hotel Prince
Chhabilapur Road, Rajgir
Phone: 9934952185
Hotel Hills Queens
Bus Stand, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255637
Hotel Royal India
Near Hospital, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-697043
Hotel Diamond Plaza
SBÌ Building, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255199
Hotel Rajgir
Navlakha Temple, Rajgir
Phone: 06112-255266

General info of Nalanda

Country India
State Bihar
District Nalanda District
STD Code 06112
ISD Code +91
Postal Code 803115
Dialects Bihari, Maghdhi, Hindi.
Climate Winter Minimum - 5°C and Summer Maximum - 41°C
Best season to visit October to May
Targeted Railway Station Rajgir Railway Junction
Airport Patna Airport