Nalanda University in Bihar: A UNESCO World Heritage Site of Institutional Importance

The Nalanda University, which was once known as the educational hub of India was shattered for a long time. But this UNESCO World Heritage Site is again on the path to revive its educational spree.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
 Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara

The Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Bihar. It represents one of the most ancient centres of learning in the Indian subcontinent, dating back to the 5th century CE. Nalanda which was in Magadha (modern-day Bihar) was a renowned Buddhist monastery and university that attracted scholars and students from all over Asia. With the passage of time, this historical site of utmost importance went into the swamp of ruin. But this educational institution that couldn't stand the test of time has been built again to conserve its heritage and provide knowledge to all which was its prime motto. 

The Olden Times, The Golden Times  

The ruins of Nalanda University
The ruins of Nalanda University

Nalanda is about 90 km southeast of Patna. Although its history goes back to the times of the Buddha, the university at Nalanda was founded in the 5th century CE and it flourished for the next 700 years. More than 500 years before Oxford University was founded, this University housed nine million books and attracted 10,000 students from around the world. It taught various subjects like Buddhist scriptures (of both the Mahayana and Hinayana schools), philosophy, theology, metaphysics, logic, grammar, astronomy, and medicine.

Rooted in nature-based treatment techniques, Ayurveda, India’s very own ancient Indian medical system was taught extensively at Nalanda and then spread to other regions of India through alumni. The layout of the campus, which featured open courtyards surrounded by lecture halls and prayer halls, served as an example for other Buddhist institutions. Additionally, the metal art that originated here made its way to Tibet and the Malayan peninsula, while the stucco that was manufactured here had an impact on Thai church art. Although this University flourished it saw its decline in the late Pala period, and the final blow was the invasion by Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1200 CE. 

The Revival Time 

Nalanda University
Image Courtesy: Nalanda University

Since its destruction, the place has been just a tourist attraction for historians, archaeologists and people of interest from all over the world. But not anymore as the revered Nalanda University has regained its status of being an educational institute with the newly built campus. 

The new campus is set up close to the ancient ruins of the university and is built at a cost of Rs. 1,749 crore. The campus which is spread across 455 acres is located in Rajgir, nearly 100 km from Patna.

The new campus of Nalanda University will offer various courses under the seven schools of study; School of Ecology and Environment Studies, School of Historical Studies, School of Historical Studies, School of Languages & Literature/Humanities, School of International Relations and Peace Studies, Business Management in relation to Public Policy and Development Studies and additional schools as prescribed by statutes. 

courses at Nalanda University new campus of Nalanda University university at Nalanda UNESCO World Heritage site in Bihar Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara UNESCO World Heritage Site