100 kms south-east of Patna, Bihar
: Ruins of Nalanda University (5th to 12th
Best Time To Visit :
October to March
A world famous destination Nalanda lies about 100 kms south-east of Patna.
The name of Nalanda has been derived from Sanskrit word that means 'giver of
knowledge.'Now mostly in ruins Nalanda was a major centre of Buddhist
learning from 427 AD to 1197 AD. Nalanda was known for the university, where
10,000 pupils and 2,000 scholars from Buddhist world lived and studied. Also
referred to as "one of the first great universities in recorded history
of world", Nalanda was identified by Alexander Cunningham in the
village of Bada Gaon. In the excavation of the place a number of structures
have revealed that include stupas, monasteries, staircases, lecture halls,
hotels, meditation halls and many other structures.
It is said that Buddha had stayed at Nalanda several times and he would
usually reside in Pavarika's mango grove. According to the Kevatta Sutta,
during Buddha's time Nalanda was a prosperous town and densely populated.
Nalanda was also the residence of Sonnadinna. Nalanda is also considered a
centre of activity for Jains, Mahavira had stayed at the town several times.
It is believed that Mahavira had attained Moksha at Pawapuri which is
located in Nalanda. Mauryan King Ashoka is said to have built a temple at
Nalanada in 250 BC. Noted Chinese traveller and Scholar, Hieun Tsang had
stayed at Nalanda and has given a detailed description of the situations of
Even today after hundreds of years, the ruins of Nalanda
provide a glimpse of the bygone era. When you reach amidst the ruins of the
town, you will get a virtual feel of the period when India was a coveted
destination for studies.
How to Reach Nalanda
By Air :
Nearest airport is located in Patna (100 kms)
which is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow and many other
cities of India. Indian Airlines, Air Deccan and many other airlines operate
to and from Patna to other Indian cities. From the airport taxis are
available for various parts of Patna.
By Train :
Patna Junction is the nearest major railhead
which is served by several trains from important places of India.
: Nalanda is connected by good roads with other
parts of Bihar. From Patna Bihar Tourism and Development Corporation operate
buses for Nalanda. You may also hire private taxis for Nalanda from Patna
for a day trip.
Places Where You Can Stay
Patna is the ideal base to visit Nalanda, which is dotted with a number of
good hotels including deluxe and budget hotels. Equipped with all the
necessary amenities the hotels in Patna provide a pleasant stay to guests.
: Hotel Maurya Patna (South Gandhi Maidan)
and Hotel Chanakya (Beer Chand Patel Marg).
Standard Hotels :
Pataliputra Ashok (Beer Chand Patel
Marg), Samrat International (Fraser Road).
Tourist Attractions in Nalanda
Nalanda University :
Nalanda's prime attraction, the
world famous Nalanda University is located in a village called the 'Bada
Gaon', which is in ruins now. Established in the 5th century A.D, Nalanda
University is renowned as the ancient seat of learning. Nalanda was the
first residential international university of the world, around 2000
teachers and 10,000 students from various parts of the Buddhist world lived
and studied here.
Apart from its educational value, Nalanda was considered an architectural
masterpiece and it had a lofty wall and one massive entrance gate. Nalanda
university had eight separate compounds, ten temples, several meditation
halls and classrooms, lakes and parks. The library of the university was
situated in a nine storied building where meticulous copies of texts were
kept. At Nalanda University the subjects from every field of learning were
taught and it attracted students and scholars from China, Japan, Indonesia,
Korea, Persia and Turkey. In the 7 th century A.D, Xuanzang, the Tang
Dynasty Chinese pilgrim left detailed accounts of the university.
Various forms of Buddhism were taught at Nalanda University that include
the Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana), the Mahayana Buddhism followed in China,
Korea, Japan and Vietnam and also the Theravada Buddhism. During the 12th
century due to disappearance of Buddhism, the Nanlanda University was in
decline. In the year 1193, the university was sacked by the armies of
Bakhtiyar Khilji, and the Nalanda University suffered a final blow.
Close to Nalanda University complex a number of ruined structure survive.
Till now the known and excavated ruins of Nalanda extend over an area of
about 150,000 sq. mts. Surya Mandir, a Hindu temple stands nearby. The
Nalanda museum has a good collection of manuscripts and many items that have
been excavated here. In the year 1951, an institute for Pali (Theravadin)
Buddhist studies was founded by Bhikshu Jagdish Kashyap, the Nava Nalanda
Mahavihara. Now this centre is working on an ambitious project of satellite
imaging of the entire region.
Tourist Attractions Around Nalanda
city Patna (100 kms) is the nearest tourist destination from Nalanda. Patna
is also the ideal place to visit the ancient town of Nalanda. The capital
city has a number of tourist attractions namely - Gol Ghar, Patna Museum,
Planetarium, Zoological Garden etc.