Nalanda (Bihar - East India State)
Nalanda had been a world famous seat of learning in ancient India. Like Taxila, Nalanda was also famous for its great university. It was a self-reliant residential education centre. Later in medieval era, Muslim invaders ransacked and destroyed the great Nalanda University out of religious hatred. The remnants of the then University of Nalanda have still been kept preserved here. These remnants are these days major attractions of Nalanda tourism. Nalanda was a world-famous university for the study of Buddhism in the 5th century AD.
Nalanda is deeply steeped into history. Twenty fourth Jain Tirthankara Mahavir and Lord Buddha frequently visited this place in 600 BC. The Gupta rulers built and founded the University of Nalanda in 5th century AD. Thousands of teachers, scholars and monks used to inhabit it. During the early 7th century AD, Chinese scholar Hieun Tsang, who stayed here for five years to learn Buddhism, had mentioned that more than 10,000 monks and students housed this institution. Hieun Tsang received here the Indian name Mokshdev.
Nalanda was a seat of high learning and a large number of subjects like Buddhism (Hinayana and Mahayana), Vedas, Logic (Hetu Vidya), Grammer (Shabda Vidya), Medicine (Chikitsa Vidya) were taught, learnt and practised here. This monastic university kept spreading higher learnings until the end of 12th century when Muslim invaders burnt the university, monastery and the rich library.
The total area excavated to unearth the remains of Nalanda University Archaeological Complex is 14 hectares. All the edifices are of red bricks. There is Nalanda Archaeological Museum which houses sculpture and other remains found on the site.
There are Burmese and Japanese rest houses in Nalanda.
There are two famous and historical places nearby Nalanda- Rajgir and Pawapuri. During Buddha's lifetime, Rajgir was the capital of this part of India and Buddha spent 12 years here. Pawapuri is the place where twenty-fourth Jain Tirthankar Mahavir attained nirvana.