Nalanda University

Nalanda University: History Of The Knowledge Empire

Origins and Early History

Situated in the greenly wide spreading plain of present-day Bihar, in India, and now a mere remnant of an ancient university once known as the Lighthouse of knowledge and Enlightenment – Nalanda.

Come on with me into the past to understand and convey its steep history and intriguing facts about this great College.

Nalanda, which was established in the 5th century of the Gupta era has been widely known as the leading center for Buddhist studies, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, and medicine of logic.

It came to be patronized by numerous kings, including Kumaragupta I among others, and later by the fabled Indian emperor Ashoka whose association saw its reputation spread far and beyond Asia.

Golden Age of Learning

Nalanda was under the king paternity of the following dynasties whose time and heart in promoting the Nalanda was incredibly prosperous especially during 7th to 12th centuries CE.

Peak of time was when scholars and students from such as China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet, some came all the way from Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, came together and exchanged their studies on the Buddha knowledge.

Academic Excellence and Curriculum

The curriculum at Nalanda was comprehensive and integrated, covering various fields including Buddhist teachings (including scriptures and philosophy), secular disciplines (e.g. grammar, logic, medicine and arts, mathematics etc.)

It was a time when its renowned faculties were composed of eminent scholars like Nāgārjuna, Aryabhata, and Dharmapala whose works and teachings contributed to the intellectual awakening of that time.

Aesthetic Campus

Spreading across 14 hectares, the Nalanda campus was lush and dotted with lecture halls, meditation chambers and libraries, along with an excellent arrangement of lodgings for students and teachers.

The physical beauty of the tall buildings elaborate with carefully executed carvings and sculptures always signified exquisite cultural and artistic heritage of ancient India.

Decline and Enduring Legacy

Although Nalanda University is hailing from a past, the decline was caused by deregulation of foreign invasions, economic problems, and changes in patronage.

In a final attack in the 12th century CE, de Volla was torn down by the occupying troops, Bakhtiyar Khilji.

Rediscovery and Revival

The archaeological ruins of Nalanda Omeore again unearthed by the British archaeologists in the 19th century contributed to the revival of curiosity about its existence and heredity.

In 2010, the government of India began the Nalanda University Revival Project targeted at restoring the former renown of Nalanda as it was; a glare of the international center of learning and research.

Interesting Facts

Library of Wisdom: Nalanda’s owners of texts known as Dharmaganja, was one of the largest museums of knowledge in the ancient world, which carried so many books on different topics.

International Influence: A case in point, students and scholars from places far off the Nalanda University came to learn and ply their intellectual trade and gave the institution a global reputation a thousand years before the first university appeared in Europe.

Architectural Marvels: Indian Proficiency of Architecture in Academic buildings Nalanda was the one which was very evident from the stone carving, multi-floored beautiful structures and artistic attributions.

Legacy of Scholarship

The intellectual legacy of Nalanda University still influences educators and scholars from across the world.

In that respect, the erudite search goes on, and the fact that an outstanding example of the scholarship exists is evidence to that.

Therefore, the history of Nalanda University undoubtedly confirms that India is the nest of learning and wisdom inculcation as the growth of educational thinking and teachings is regarded as the backbone of spiritual and human enlightenment.

While the endeavors to restore this venerable practice are constant, the pastimes of the college can serve as the inspiration to future generations who will study and appreciate the pursuit of academic endeavors.

Explore the complete story of Nalanda University here


The University of Nalanda, which in its heyday was the center of enlightenment in ancient India witnessed a slow dimming of its glory beginning from the 12th century AD.

Being taken and looted by the harsh invading forces of Bakhtiyar Khilji in the late 12th century was sacked and destroyed which was a great calamity.

The total devastation revealed the last of Nalanda greatness as an educational center and a place where you could share insights.

On the other hand, though this institute is not operating to date, its memory contemplates efforts that are implemented today in order to revive it.

Nalanda which was in Bihar India, is an old seat of higher learning that bloomed during the periods of Gupta and Pala dynasties.

Contrary to the usual perception of it as a religious institution of Buddhists alone, Nalanda also used to invite as well as accept students and academicians belonging to different religions and cultures, resulting in an intellectual exchange.

The university was unique in its own ways as it hosted a wide range of literature including the vast library of Dharmaganja, which consisted of thousands of philosophical and astronomical manuscripts.

Moreover, the course at Nalanda covered more than one topic that is secular in nature, such as math, medicine and art while the school proved that it is dedicated to holistic education.

Nalanda stands in the Indian state of Bihar, near the town of Rajgir, accessible from here 55 kilometers away, southeast of the state capital- Patna.

Nalanda University, dating back to the 5th century CE, was established when Indian civilization had already reached a high level of sophistication.

The Gupta state was especially significant at the time and renowned for its rich culture and prosperous economy.

While the specific founder of Nalanda University has not been recorded in history, either König Kumaragupta I or his army minister Shakraditya is thought to be the founder of this educational institution.

The revelation of the university as the prominent center offering Buddhist and day-to-day learning programs sustained for some good years until the beginning of the 12th century when it collapsed due to frequent invasions.

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