Tourist Attractions of Nalanda, Bihar

NalandaNalanda is situated 90 Km from Patna, Bihar and it represents the rich ancient legacy of knowledge in Bihar. It is among the most famous tourist attractions of Bihar. Tourists from all over the world and specially Budhhists come to this place throughout the year and it is their most favoured tourist destination. Once it was the most prestigious centre of learning in Asia. Nalanda is one of the world’s oldest living cities. It is the place where Budha had often stayed. Nalanda is located in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. It is well known as the ancient centre of learning which has the remains of the great Nalanda University and several monasteries and temples. Both Lord Buddha and Mahavira visited this place and it remained a renowned learning centre till 12th century. Kings of Gupta, Kushan and Palva dynasties were the chief patrons of the centre, who built several monasteries and temples. The famous Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang studied here and his documents provide details about the university.The word ‘Nalanda’ has been derived from Na-Alam-Da, which means ‘insatiable in giving’, one of the names by which Lord Buddha was known. One of the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites, Nalanda is also known for the ruins of the world famous ancient learning centre. With the nearest habitation at the village of Bargaon, Nalanda is though now a deserted place, but still is very important to the history of Buddhism and Jainism (The Teerthankar Mahavira got moksha near Nalanda at Pawapuri). Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century AD and he is the one who created the atmosphere for further studies in the region. He is the one who established the excellence of education system and practicing of monastic life.  

Once, the most prestigious centre of learning in Asia, the Buddhist University of Nalanda, founded in the 5th century AD, had over 5,000 international students andNalanda University teachers, and a library of nine million manuscripts. Built on a hallowed site where the Buddha had often stayed. The university had centres for studies in Buddhism, Vedas, Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Meta-Physics, Prose Composition and Rhetoric. Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira have also taught here. Nalanda flourished until AD 1199, when it was looted and destroyed by the Turkish raider, Bakhtiar kalji. The evocative ruins of its monastries and temples still convey a vivid impression of the serene and ordered life of contemplation and learning thet prevailed here. Tourist Attractions in Nalanda feature the excavated remains of this ancient university. Elaborately planned monasteries and temples in addition to the daises for the professors speak a lot about the glorious past of Nalanda. The famous ancient learning centre, Nalanda is recorded as the world’s earliest university set up in the 5th century BCE. It is believed that the Buddha had visited the place and gave sermons near the ‘Mango grove of Pavarika’. Later the Buddhist monks undertook learning, practice, meditation and understanding of the Dhamma in the centre to enrich the masses. The sects of Buddhism – Theravada, Vajrayana, Mahayana and Theravada were born due to the teachings of the University. .. Even the decline of Buddhism in India is associated with the destruction of the Nalanda University by the Islamic invasion of India in the 12th century CE. . Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang writes that the university had more than ten thousand students and more than one thousand faculty members. Students from Java, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, and other near by countries would come to study at the Nalanda University. Buddhism, spirituality, Vedas, and other life sciences were the subjects taught here.

 

 

 Some significant Tourist attractions of Nalanda are:

Nalanda University Archaeological Complex;

It is  stretching across 14 hectares of land, houses red brick buildings having some magnificent gardens on the borderline. The Viharas (monasteries) in addition to the Chaityas (temples) in the premises offer a rare visual treat.Today, the entire Nalanda site has been divided into a number of sites that include 11 monasteries and several temples built in red bricks. The buildings are divided by a central walkway thet goes south to north, the monasteries or Viharas are east of this central alley and the temples of chaiyas to the west. The Vihara-1 is perhaps the most interesting with its cells on two floors built around a central courtyard where steps lead up to what must have been a dais for the professors to address their students. A small chapel still retains a half broken statue of the Lord Buddha. The enormous pyramidal mass of the temple No 3 is impressive and from its top you can command a splendid view of the entire area. It is surrounded by smaller stupas many of which are studded with small and big statues of Lord Buddha in various poses or mudras.

Nalanda-Hiuen%20Tsang%20Memorial%20Hall-1The Nalanda Archaeological Museum:

It is another site that ranks high amongst the Nalanda Tourist Attractions. Opposite the entrance to the ruins of the university and houses it has a small but splendid and beautiful collection of Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and a number of undamaged statues of the Lord Buddha that were found in the area. Two enormous terracotta jars of the first century stand intact behind the museum in a shaded enclosure. This museum contains a remarkable collection of Buddhist and Hindu artefacts besides some Lord Buddha’s statues. Two massive terra-cotta jars inside a shaded enclosure, situated behind the museum belong to the 1st century. It was established in 1971 and houses many ancient manuscripts and Buddhist statues. The museum also contains several objects like coins, pottery, inscriptions of Maurya and Gupta period.

Nava Nalanda Mahavihara:

It was  constructed in 1951 and dedicated to the research and study of Buddhism and Pali Literature, is a new stopover amongst the Tourist Attractions in Nalanda.  A modern centre for Theravadin Buddhist studies, known as the Nava Nalanda Mandir was set up in 1951, which is still a pioneer in pursuing an ambitious program of satellite imaging of the entire region. In the year 1951 Indian government decided to reestablish the past glory of Nalanda and in this effort it decided to institute a center of higher learning. The center aims to study Buddhism and its essence in modern times. Near the place is another institute which aims to research the ancient language Pali, which is now out of tongue in India

hiuen-tsang-memorial-hallHieun Tsang Memorial Hall:

It was built in the memory of Hieun Tsang, the renowned Chinese traveller who came to India in the 5th century AD and stayed in Nalanda for 12 years as a student and a teacher and studied the social and political conditions. The memorial hall was built in his memory is another sure shot winner on Nalanda Tour Packages.

Surajpur Baragaon:

It is an admired Hindu pilgrimage positioned close to Nalanda also attracts many tourists. The Sun temple at this place beside the lake is a huge draw amongst travelers coming to Nalanda.  The lake with its temple to Surya, the God Sun is a pilgrim destination twice a year in Vaishakha (April-May) and in Kartika (October- November) during the Chhath Puja or Sun worship.

Kundalpur
Kundalpur is located at the distance of 1.6 kilometers from the remnants of the Nalanda University. The place is an important destination for Jains, particularly for the Digambar sect of the Jains. Digambar Jain followers believe that the 24th and the last Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira was born here. Being linked to Mahavir’s birth place, people built many temples at the place which are major tourist attractions here.

Getting to Nalanda;

Air:  The nearest airport from Nalanda is the Patna airport, 90 Km away.

Rail: The nearest major railway station is Gaya around 65 Km from Nalanada. Gaya is well connected to other parts of india.

Road: Nalanda is connected through a good road network with Rajgir (12Km), gaya (65 Km), and Patna  (90 Km)

 

General Information

  • Country : India
  • State : Bihar
  • Location: South Bihar. 90 Kilometres southeast of Patna and 18 kilometres from Rajgir.
  • Climate: Summer – Hot; Monsoon – Warm; Winter – Cold.
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February.
  • Significance: World famous ancient learning centre for the Buddhists.
  • Language : Hindi and English
  • Famous food: Khaja, a famous sweet of Silao.
  • Festival: Buddha Jayanti.

 

 

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