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Fast Facts
Location : 100 kms south-east of Patna, Bihar
Attractions : Ruins of Nalanda University (5th to 12th centuries A.D).
Best Time To Visit : October to March

Introducing Nalanda
Nalanda University 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 that time.
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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.

By Road : 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.

Deluxe Hotels : 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).
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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.

Other Attactions
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
Patna : Bihar's capital 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.

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