Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. World's most ancient University lies in ruins which is 62 kms from Bodh Gaya and 90 kms south of Patna. Emperor Ahoka built many monasteries, temples and Viharas here.
Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th-12th centuries. Hiuen Tsang stayed here in 7th century and has left detailed description of the excellence of education and purity of monastic life practiced here. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here.
The Gupta kings patronised these monasteries, built in old Kushan architectural style, in a row of cells around a courtyard. Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons who built temples and monasteries here. Recent excavations have unearthed elaborate structures here. Hiuen Tsang had left ecstatic accounts of both the ambiance and architecture of this unique university of ancient times. An international Centre for Buddhist Studies was established here in 1951. Nearby is Bihar Sharif, 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 and Nava Nalanda Mahavihar in addition to the great ruins.
Tourist Attractions in Nalanda
Nalanda university : The university was established in the 5th century BC and was one of the oldest Universities of the world. The ruins of the university is spread over an area of 14 hectares land with a number of temples and monasteries built by the contemporary kings.
Nalanda Museum : It was established in 1971 and houses many ancient manuscripts and Buddhist statues. The museum also contains several objects like coins, pottery, inscriptions of Maurya and Gupta period.
Surya Mandir : This famous temple is dedicated to the Sun God and has a number of statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall : The famous Chinese traveller who came to India in the 5th century AD and stayed in Nalanda for 12 years as a student and a teacher and studied the social and political conditions. The memorial hall was built in his memory.
How to reach Nalanda
By Air - Patna is the nearest airport which is around 90 kms away from the village. Regular flights connect Patna city with the major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, etc., which are further connected to major international destinations.
By Rail - The nearest railway station is Bakhtiyarpur which is 38 kms from Nalanda. Gaya (65km) is the major railway point which is connected to all the major cities of India.
By Road - Nalanda is connected to Patna, Gaya, Delhi, Kolkata, etc. with excellent road network.