Nalanda | Ancient Nalanda University | Ruins of Nalanda

Nalanda | Ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara| Things to do in Nalanda

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Nalanda is a well-known district of Bihar province of India with its headquarters in Bihar Sharif.  Nalanda is famous in the world for its ancient history.  Here the remains of the oldest Nalanda University in the world are still present, where students from many far and wide countries used to come to India to study.

Nalanda is located 100 km southeast of Patna Airport and 16 km north of Rajgir in the present state of Bihar.

The remains of Nalanda University were discovered by Alexander Cunningham on the basis of Hiuen Tsang's diary.  This university is believed to have been founded by the Gupta ruler Kumaragupta in 450 CE.  This university received the support of all the ruling dynasties that followed.  This university was burnt by the  Turko-Afghan  Muslim invader Bakhtiar Khilji in the 12th century. Who was the military general  of Kuttubuddin.

History of Nalanda University

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Ruins of nalanda mahavihara

Lord Buddha is believed to have visited Nalanda many times.  This is the reason that in the fifth to twelfth century it was also known as the center of Buddhist education.  The number of Buddhist travelers was more among the students coming here.  The Gupta dynasty patronized these monasteries built with ancient Kushan architecture.  They look like rows of chambers around a courtyard.  Emperors Ashoka and Harshavardhana had built the highest number of monasteries, viharas and temples here.  Recently detailed excavations have unearthed the structures here.  An International Center for Buddhist Education was established here in 1951.  People visiting Nalanda can see the 'New Nalanda Mahavihara Museum' besides the great ruins here.

Historical Mention  & Archives

Ruins of Nalanda HD image download
Hostel Building

Nalanda was an important and world-renowned center of higher education in ancient India.  In this education center of Mahayana Buddhism, students of other religions and from many countries were studying along with Hinayana Buddhism.  The ruins of this great Buddhist university, discovered by Alexander Cunningham, reveal much of its ancient splendor.  Many epigraphies and the history of India in the seventh century, which came to read the history of the Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang and Etsing, provide detailed information about this university.  There were 2,000 teachers to teach 10,000 students.  In the seventh century, when Henshan came to Nalanda, 10,000 students and 1510 Acharyas were at Nalanda University.  Students came to this university not only from different regions of India but also from other countries of the world like Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey.  The distinguished educated graduates of Nalanda went out preaching Buddhism.  This university was of international repute from the ninth century to the twelfth century.  The famous 'Buddhist Sariputra' was born here.

Nalanda University Structure & Functions

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Math |  The monastery

The ancient Nalanda University was a marvelous piece of architecture.  Its entire complex was surrounded by a huge wall with a main entrance to the entrance.  From north to south there were rows of monasteries and in front of them there were many grand stupas and temples.  Lord Buddha's beautiful idols were established in the temples.  The Kendriya Vidyalaya had seven large rooms and in addition three hundred other rooms.  Untill now only thirteen monasteries have been excavated.  By the way, there is a possibility of more monasteries.  The monastery had more than one floor.  The room used to have a stone outpost for sleeping. Cavity were placed in the wall to hold lamps, books, etc.  A well was made in each monastery's patio.  Apart from eight huge buildings, ten temples, many prayer halls and study rooms, this complex also had beautiful gardens and lakes.

Nalanda University Management 

All the management of Nalanda University was done by the Vice Chancellor or the Chief Acharya who was elected by the monks.  The Vice Chancellor used to make all the arrangements in consultation with two Consultative Committees.  The first committee looked after the work related to education and curriculum and the second committee looked after the financial system and administration of the entire university.  The committee used to look after the produce and income received from the nearby villages donated to the university.  Due to this, food, clothes and accommodation of thousands of students were managed.

Acharya of Nalanda University|Teachers

Nalanda University had three categories of teachers who used to fall in the first, second and third class according to their ability.  Among the famous masters of Nalanda were Sheelabhadra, Dharmapala, Chandrapal, Gunamati and Sthyamati.  At the time of Hieun Tsang in the 7th century, the head of this university was Shilabhadra, a great teacher and scholar.

Entrance exam in Nalanda University was very difficult and due to this only talented students could get admission.  They had to pass three difficult exam levels.  This is the world's first such parable.  Pure conduct and adherence to the rules of the Union were extremely important.

Nalanda University Study Area / Subjects

The ancient Nalanda University used to study the works of Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Asanga and Dharmakirti, the promoters of Mahayana.  Vedas, Vedanta and Numbers were also taught.  Grammar, philosophy, surgery, astrology, yoga and medicine were also under the syllabus.  Based on the many bronze sculptures found in Nalanda's excavations, some scholars believe that the science of making metal sculptures was also probably studied.  There was also a special department for the study of astronomy.

Renowned Chinese scholar traveler Hiuen Tsang and Etsing studied cultural and philosophy here for many years.  He has written a lot about Nalanda in his travelogue and memoirs.  Hiuen Tsang wrote that thousands of students used to study in Nalanda and that is why Nalanda became famous.  All day was spent in study.  Foreign students also used to solve their doubts.  Etsing has written that the names of eminent scholars of the university were written in white letters at the main entrance of the university.

Nalanda University Library

Nalanda had a vast nine-storey library with a unique collection of more than 3 lakh books, for the study of thousands of students and masters.  This library had books related to all fields.  It was situated in three huge buildings called 'Ratnaranjak' 'Ratnoddhi' 'Ratnasagar'.  Many unattainable handwritten books were stored in the 'Ratnoddhi' library.  Copies of many of these books were taken with Chinese travelers.

Complex of ancient relics / Ruins 

Ruins of Nalanda

 Burn mark on wall

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Class room

Nalanda ka khandhar hd image download


The remains of Nalanda University have been found in an area of ​​fourteen hectares.  All the buildings found in the excavation were constructed of red stone.  This complex is built from south to north.  Monasteries or viharas were built in the east direction and chaitya (temples) in the west direction of this complex.  The main building of this complex was Vihar-1.  Even today, there is a two-storey building remaining here.  The building is adjacent to the main courtyard of the complex.  Probably here, teachers used to address their students.  A small prayer hall is still in safe condition in this Vihar.  A fractal statue of Lord Buddha is built in this chapel.  The temple no.  3 is the largest temple in this complex.  A panoramic view of the entire area can be seen from this temple.  This temple is surrounded by many small and big stupas.  All these stupas have idols of Lord Buddha in various postures.

Destruction of Nalanda University

By the 13th century, this university was completely eliminated.  The accounts of the Muslim historian Minahaz and the Tibetan historian Taranath show that this university suffered greatly from the invasions of the Turks.  In 1199, the Ottoman invader Bakhtiar Khilji burned it and destroyed it completely.  The vastness of the library can be gauged from this, the book kept in which kept burning for many months.

Other important places

Nalanda Archaeological Museum

There is a small archaeological museum on the opposite side of the university campus.  Remnants obtained from the excavation are kept in this museum.  It has a good collection of different types of idols of Lord Buddha.  Along with this, terracotta statues of Buddha and two first-century jars are also kept in this museum.  Apart from this, there are copper plates, inscriptions on stone, coins, bartan and burnt rice grains of 12th century in this museum.

New Nalanda Mahavihara

It is a educational institution.  There are studies and research in Pali literature and Buddhism.  It is a newly established institute.  In this, students from other countries also come here to study.

Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall

It is a renovated building.  This building has been built in memory of the great pilgrim of China, Xuan Tsang.  In it, items related to Hieun Tsang and their idols can be seen.

How to reach Nalanda

Air: The nearest airport is Jayaprakash Narayan Airport in Patna, 100 km from here.

Rail route: Nalanda also has a railway station, but the main railway station here is Rajgir.  All trains going to Rajgir go via Nalanda.

By Road: Nalanda is connected to many nearby cities by road:

 Rajgir (16 km),

 Bodhgaya (83 km),

 Gaya (72 km),

 Patna (100 km),

 Pavapuri (15 km) and

 Bihar Sharif (15 km)

Where to stay in Nalanda

Good hotels are not available to stay in Nalanda. Tourists can stay in Patna or Rajgir where there is good hotel facilities.

Near by tourist destination


Those visiting Nalanda must also visit Rajgir.

Important information about Rajgir can be obtained by clicking on the link given below.






Rajgir, 16 km from Nalanda, is also an international tourist destination.  It is also an important site for Bodh Dharma.

You can get complete information about Rajgir at the link given below.

Historically, Rajgir has had a very important place in Jainism as the capital of many empires.  The main tourist attractions include the ancient city walls of Ajatshatru period, Bimbisara prison, Jarasandha arena, Krishna's chariot wheel sign, Rajgir hot spring / Brahmakund, Gridhkut mountain ('mountain of vultures'), Son Bhandar caves.  / Swarna Bhandar, Ropeway and Vishwa Shanti Stupa.

The main tourist attractions include the ancient city walls from Ajatshatru's period, the Bimbisar's Jail, Jarasandh's Akhara, The Krishna Charriot wheel mark, Rajgir Hot Spring / Brahmakund, Gridhra-kuta, ('Hill of the Vultures'), Son Bhandar Caves & Vishva  Shanti Stupa & Ropeway.

The Vishwa Shanti Stupa here is quite attractive.  This stupa is built on Gridharkoot Hill.  There is a ropeway to go on it.  Its fee is Rs 80.  is.  You can see it from 8 am to 1 pm.  After this it can be seen from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Venu is forest near Shanti Stupa.  It is said that Buddha once came here.

Prasadhi Saptaparni cave is located in Rajgir itself where the first Buddhist conference was organized after Buddha's Nirvana.  This cave is 1000 steps from the hot water reservoir south of Rajgir bus stop.  Apart from all this, the arena of Jarasandha in Rajgir, Swarna Bhandar (both sites belong to Mahabharata period) and Viratan are also places to visit.


The famous Jain pilgrimage place Pavapuri is located 5 kilometers from Nalanda.  This place is related to Lord Mahavira.  Mahavira is a grand temple here.  It must be visited when Nalanda-Rajgir arrives.

Bodh Gaya

Bodhgaya, 83 km from Nalanda, is a famous city located in Gaya district, which has great historical and religious significance.  Here Mahatma Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Bodhgaya is a small town in Gaya district located about 125 km southeast of Patna, the capital of Bihar.  Lord Gautam Buddha, who was doing penance under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, had attained enlightenment.  Since then this place is extremely important for the followers of Buddhism.  The city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2002.

Information of Bodh Gaya given in link given below.



Watch the video of Nalanda University at the link given below.


Location of Nalanda University


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