Thursday, 29 July 2010

Visit Nalanda

votive stupa Nalanda The ruins of the ancient residential university of Nalanda near Patna, in Bihar, are the silent reminders of the high levels attained in the field of education and learning in India during the ancient ages. Nalanda was one of the best known universities of its time, attracting thousands of students from far off places. Scholars all over Asia and other countries in the Middle East had learnt about Nalanda and continued to visit Nalanda till its destruction by the Turkish and Afghan invaders in the 12th century. The place is now one of the tourist attractions in Bihar and attracts tourists, especially Buddhists from all over the world. provides online information about Nalanda and other famous as well as lesser known tourist spots in India.

Fast Facts
Languages : Hindi & English
Best time to visit : October to March
STD Code : 061194
Nearest major City : Patna ( 95 kms )

The exact date of the establishment of the university is not yet known. Scholars have varied views on this, but it is generally accepted that the university reached its pinnacle during 5th to 8th centuries under king Harshavardhana ( 7th century AD ), and the Guptas who succeeded him in Northern and Eastern India. Although much of the vast compound is yet to be excavated, the ruins do give an idea about the extent of the university. As many as 10000 students are said to have studied here at a time, in addition to about 2000 teachers and a similar number of monks. To provide for these vast numbers, there must have been an extensive system of rationing and providence of all the other necessary amenities.

This proves that a well organized administration continued to exist through many centuries at Nalanda. Many famous scholars have visited the university in search of the various Indian manuscripts of repute. Hieuen Tsang is the best known among them. He visited the place during the reign of Harshavardhana, one of the greatest kings of India, in the 7th century AD. The Turkish and Afghan invaders, who followed the first invasions in India by Mohammad Ghuri, attacked Nalanda and destroyed it completely in 1197 AD. The damage was irreparable. Buddhism suffered heavily, never regaining its past status in India. However, it flourished in the countries whose scholars had taken knowledge from Nalanda with them, like China, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Korea.

Climate and Tourism
Summer temperatures range between 20 to 37.8°C, while winters see temperatures between 8 – 25 °C. Temperatures can dip below this range though, and visitors should carry woolens during December to February. The Best time to visit is between October and March.

 Nalanda is among the major places that are associated with Buddhism in India. Tourism in Bihar benefits a lot from these places. The tours of Nalanda cover the entire site of the university, and some interesting spots nearby, including Surajpur and Rajgir. offers all inclusive online information about Nalanda in Bihar, and other important tourist places in India.

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