Nalanda, founded in the 5th century AD, is famous as the ancient
seat of learning. The ruins of the world's most ancient university
lies here which is 62 km from Bodhgaya and 90 km south of Patna.
Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime,
this famous center of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later,
during 5th-12th centuries. Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century
left detailed description of the excellence of education system
and purity of monastic life practiced here. He also gave a vivid
account of both the ambiance and architecture of this unique university
of ancient times. In this first residential international university
of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 monks students from all
over the Buddhist world lived and studied here. The Gupta kings
patronized these monasteries, built in old Kushan architectural
style, in a row of cells around a courtyard. Emperor Ashoka and
Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons who built
temples, monasteries and viharas here. Recent excavations have unearthed
elaborate structures here. An International Center for Buddhist
Studies was established here in 1951. Nearby is Biharsharif, where
an annual urs is celebrated at the Dargah or tomb of Malik Ibrahim
Baya. Baragaon, 2 km away has a sun temple, famous for Chhath puja.
To be visited are Nalanda museum & Nava Nalanda Mahavihar in
addition to the great ruins.
Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological
The total area of the excavation is about 14 hectares. All the edifices
are of the red brick and the gardens are beautiful. The buildings
are divided by a central walk way that goes south to north. The
monasteries or "Viharas" are east of this central alley
and the temple or "Chaiyas" to the west. The 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. A small
chapel still retains a half broken statue of the Lord Buddha.
The enormous pyramidal mass of the Temple no .3 is impressive and
from its top commands a splendid view of the entire area. It is
surrounded by smaller stupas, many of which studded with small and
big statues of the Lord Buddha in Various poses or "Mudras"
Nalanda Archaeological Museum
Opposite the entrance to the ruins of the university and houses,
there is a small but beautiful collection of Buddhist and Hindu
bronzes and a number of undamaged statues of the Lord Buddha that
were found in the area. Two enormous terra-cotta jars of the first
century stand intact behind the museum in a shaded enclosure. The
collection includes copper plates and stone inscriptions, coins,
pottery and samples of burnt rice (12th century AD) found among
the ruins here. Open during 10.00 to 17.00. Closed on Friday.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara
Mahavihara is devoted to study and research of Pali Literature and
Buddhism. This is a new institute, where students from foreign countries
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall
A new construction in memory of the great Chinese traveler, Hieun
In between Nalanda and Rajgir, there is a village namely Silao where
very a popular local sweet "KHAJA" is prepared.
The lake with its temple of Surya, the Sun God , is a pilgrim destination
twice a year in "Vaishakha" (April-May) and in "Kartika"
(October-November) during the Chhath Puja or Sun worship.
The nearest airport is at Patna 89 km. Indian Airlines connect Patna
to Calcutta, Ranchi, Bombay, Delhi and Lucknow.
Though Rajgir (12 km) is the nearest railway station to Nalanda
yet the nearest convenient rail head is at Gaya 95 km.
Nalanda is connected by good road with Rajgir 12 km, Bodh Gaya 110
km, Gaya 95 km, Patna 90 km, Pawapuri 26 km, Bihar Sharif 13 km
There are no taxis available in Nalanda. Cycle rickshaws and tongas
are the only modes of transport.
Temperature (Max./Min.) Deg C:
Rainfall:120 cm (June to September)
Best Season: October to March
General Information & Accomdation info on Nalanda city of Bihar - India