One of the oldest universities in the world dating back to 5th century, Nalanda University was a Buddhist university with around 10,000 monks and students which was later destroyed by Muslim invasion. It is believed that about 9 million manuscripts were burnt in the destruction and now there are only ruins to see and imagine the history. It is the second most visited place in Bihar and was recognized by UNESCO as well. It is located in the Nalanda district of Bihar.
Much of the knowledge we have about Nalanda comes from the pilgrim monks’ writings on the wall. Nalanda University used to be an epitome of knowledge and was one of the best schools at its time. At its peak, it was attracting students and scholars not only from India but also from Central Asia, Korea, China, and Tibet. All the students here compulsorily studied 18 sects of Buddhism and Mahayana. Their courses also included subjects like Samkhya, Sanskrit grammar, logic, and medicine.
It is believed that Nalanda was destroyed and ransacked around 1200 CE by the army of the Mamluk Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, following the rules of Bakhtiyar Khalji. Some sources say Mahavira continued to teach in a makeshift arrangement post the attack. However, all the teaching activities were completely shut off eventually. Archaeological Survey of India found the Nalanda University ruins in the 19th century.
The Classrooms at Nalanda University. Around 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers used to come to the university to attend classes of Philosophy, religion, Buddhism, and various other scientific thoughts like astronomy, mathematics, anatomy, etc. More than 100 students used to take the class in a single classroom and they were not permitted to visit anywhere else during the classes.
Dormitory of the Students. It was the first of its kind boarding university in its right sense. It was differentiated into three floors where new students used to live in the basement, mid-level students used to stay at the ground, dormitory captain and experienced students used to stay at the top floor. All the floors were connected through a stairway system.
Chullah. Open cooking mud-oven called Chullah. View a Chullah burned from both sides.
Cooking Area. Explore the octagonal well, a part of the university complex.
The Nalanda University Complex. View the east side called “Viharas” (Monasteries) and west called “Chiayas” (temples).
October to March is the best time to visit Nalanda University Ruins as the weather remains favourable this time.
You can take air, train, as well as bus route to here. Special buses are also arranged for here if you live nearby.
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here
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