Nalanda, Bihar, India
- Founded By
- Founded In
5th century AD
UNESCO World Heritage Site
India was known for its high quality education in ancient period. Besides Takshila, Nalanda was another higher learning center located in Bihar, a state in India. This ancient university is located about 88 kilometres away from Patna. During 5th century CE, this University stayed a prominent learning center for Indians as well as students coming from other countries. During Sakraditya’s reign, this University flourished a lot. It was also patronised by Hindu Gupta rulers. Harsha and other Buddhist emperors and many other Pala rulers also supported this University.
The University complex was constructed using red bricks. In an area of about 14 hectares, the ruins of this University are sprawled. During its zenith, many students and scholars came from far away destinations like Greece, Tibet, Persia, China and Tibet. Bakhityar Khilji’s army ransacked and damaged this University in the year 1193. It is believed that this University was so huge that it burned for about three months after invaders set it on fire. The monasteries were destroyed and monks were driven away from this site.
A plan has been proposed for the restoration and revival of this ancient University as Nalanda International University by nations like China, Japan, Singapore and India.
During the reign of Sakraditya, a Gupta Dynasty king, this University flourished a lot and it has been suggested by several historical studies. He has been considered as a founder by Prajnavarman and Xuanzang. This has also been proved by a seal that was discovered at the ruins of this ancient University.
There are two main divisions of this University as per Sukumar Dutt, a prominent historian. Growth, development and fruition form the first division that occurred from 6th to the 9th century. The second division entails the decline and dissolution of this University from 9th to 13th century. During the first phase, liberal traditions and culture from the Gupta period dominated and during the second division, Buddhism’s tantric developments enhanced.
During Pala period, several monasteries came up in ancient Magadha and Bengal. Five Mahaviharas were most prominent as per to Tibetan sources. These were- Vikramshila, a prominent University, Somapura, Nalanda, Jaggadala and Odantapura. A network was formed by these five monasteries. These monasteries were supervised by state and there was excellent coordination among them. Scholars from all over the world came here to learn advanced things in life.
In 1193, the University was attacked and ransacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji, a fanatic Turk as per literary evidence. One of the reasons behind a decline in Buddhism in the country is Muslim invasion. As per some eminent historians, during Mughal invasion, many monks had to face severe atrocities like many of them were burned alive. There were many tries to uproot Buddhism from India. After so many attacks on this ancient University, the popularity of this institution reduced considerably. Slowly and gradually, decline of this University began.
The famous Nalanda University is located about 55 miles from Patna in its south east direction. In 5th century CE, the University gained a lot of prominence as a Buddhist’s learning center. This residential University gained a lot of popularity for its advanced studies.
A wide array of events was organized at Nalanda University when this ancient seat of learning was at its zenith.
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