Nalanda is a famous and globally renowned Buddhist site in the north Indian state of Bihar. Part of the ‘Buddhist Circuit’, It’s an ancient city and also known as the ‘land of Lord Buddha’. The city was founded in 5th century AD and its prominence is as an ‘ancient seat of learning’. The ruins of the most ancient university in the world – Nalanda University – are a major attraction here.
Nalanda is a place where Buddha visited numerous times, and its fame rose a great deal during 5th-12th centuries. The city’s legendary status is ascribed to the detailed description of Chinese scholar and traveler - Hieun Tsang – who stayed here around 7th century AD. The erstwhile finesse of education system and respectability of monastic life brought universal praise for the city.
The genuine identity of the city has always been the unique university whose ambiance and architecture, together with a staggering number of teachers (some 2000) and monks (some 10,000), always grabbed attention. The university attracted monks from across the world, and the monasteries here were patronized by the Gupta kings, followed by emperor Ashoka and Harshavardhana. During the period, the number of temples and viharas grew in astonishing proportion.
Tourist attractions dot the entire landscape of Nalanda and catch the attention of visitors from across the globe. The Hiuen Tsang Memorial and Nalanda Museum are wonder sites to feel the heritage of this ancient land. The ruins of the Nalanda University are a major charm here exhibiting the essence of the ‘greatest learning centers’ of the time. Visit to the ruins to see the first international university that operated here.
The nearby attractions of Nalanda hold immense value for tourists, and Bodh Gaya is one of those – a town that holds great significance for visitors from Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. If Gaya is one of most sacred sites for Hindus, then Rajgir is the melting pot of Buddhism and Jainism. Bihar Sharif is another nearby site with huge religious significance.
Nalanda does not have direct air connectivity and the nearest airport is at Patna, some 89 km away. This airport has regular domestic flights to key Indian destinations.
The nearest railway head is at Rajgir (12 km) but the one at Gaya (95 km) has superior services and connectivity.
A network of road easily connects Nalanda to rest of India. Buses, taxis and cabs are available for nearby destinations.