Nalanda an acclaimed mahavihara, a large buddhist monastery in ancient Magadha (modern-day Bihar), India. The site is located about 95 kilometers southeast of Patna near the city of Bihar Sharif, and was a centre of learning from the fifth century CE to 1200 CE. Nalanda is often considered as a university. Nalanda flourished under the Gupta Empire as well as other emperors like Harsha and the rulers of the Pala Empire. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. It was very likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Muslim Mamluk Dynasty under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1200 CE.
Nalanda was initially a prosperous village by a major trade route that ran through the nearby city of Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) the then capital of Magadha. It is said that the Jain thirthankara, Mahavira, spent 14 rainy seasons at Nalanda. Gautama Buddha too is said to have delivered lectures in a nearby mango grove named Pavarika and one of his two chief disciples, Shariputra, was born in the area and later attained nirvana there. This traditional association with Mahavira and Buddha tenuously dates the existence of the village to at least the 5th–6th century BCE.
Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall: Hiuen Tsang was one and only traveler who helped Nalanda fetch its fame outside India. Hiuen Tsang had compiled lots of information about the medieval India which can be found in his writings. It is believed that Hiuen Tsang had lived here for 12 years as a teacher and a student. To commemorate this great scholarly figure of yesteryears, one of the halls in the famous Nalanda University has been named after Hiuen Tsang.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum: A museum that exclusively exhibits the relics of the ancient Nalanda University and its adjoining areas, Nalanda Archaeological Museum offers a authentic peep into the Pala art which proves that the university gave equal importance to creative arts along with the intelle. The museum is a retreat to the eyes.
Nalanda University: A glittering edifice in the entire history of Indian subcontinent, Nalanda University boast of a rich tradition that had gained accolades from world wide. Though the University was a Buddhist university, this renowned institution of the 5th century was established under the patronage of the Gupta rulers.
Nav Nalanda Vihar: A modern center of Buddhist thought set up by the Bihar Government, in the year 1951 Nava Nalanda Vihar tries to spread the ancient tradition to the modern generation. The institute is located at the famous lotus pond in Bihar. The centre mainly dealt with research-oriented education in the Pali script
The Great Stupa: The great stupa at Nalanda is the end result of seven consecutive accretions. Flanked by flight of steps and terraces, beautiful sculpture and votive stupas the great stupa offers a glance of the past splendor of Nalanda.
Surya Mandir: Dedicated to the sun god, centuries old Surya temple is a popular attraction in Nalanda. It is situated just near to he University premises. Apart from the idols of so many gods and goddess, one can find Buddhist deities inside the temple premises.
- Air: Lok Nayak Jayaprakash airport at Patna is the nearest airport, which is 78 km away from Nalanda. This airport is connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Taxis are readily available from the airport.
- Train: Rajgir is the nearest railway station which is 12 km away from Nalanda. It had direct connectivity with cities like Delhi & Patna
- Road: Nalanda is well connected with Patna & Rajgir by road. Local transport is available abundantly.
Rajgir, was the seat from where Buddha delivered many of his sermons. It was here that the teachings of Buddha were recorded in writing for the first time.
- State: Bihar
- District: Nalanda
- Famous for/as: Heritage
- Languages: Hindi
- Best time to visit: October to March
- Weather: Summers 20 to 44°C, Winter 4 to 28°C
- Pincode: 803115
- STD code: 06112
- State Govt. tourism website: http://www.bihartourism.gov.in/