Ideal Time: 1-2 hrs
Nalanda University is a UNESCO world heritage site is located South Bihar. Considered as one of the oldest universities in the world and known as Nalanda Mahavira back in time, its origins date back to the 3rd century. Mahavira is a Sanskrit term for a great 'Vihara'(Buddhist Monastery). Located about 85 km away from Patna, it is regarded as one of the greatest and oldest universities recorded in history. It finds references in the oldest epics of India as well as in the travels of Hiuen Tsang. The Gupta kings built various monasteries in old Kusan style of architecture. Emperor Ashoka and Emperor Harshavandhana were also patrons of this university who built few temples, viharas, and monasteries for the university. Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam pitched the idea of reviving the university in March 2016.
With reference found in the Tibetan and Chinese culture, the university was a centre of advanced Vedic learnings until it was ransacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji in the 12th century. Lord Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, but the university became popular in the later years when Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century AD and he left a detailed description of the education system and monastic life of this place. The site was recovered by Archeological Survey of India in 1915. It's said that the library of the university had so many books and manuscripts that it kept on burning for six months after the entire structure went up in flames.
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