NIU Nalanda-The Ancient Buddhist University
The most famous International Buddhist center, Nalanda university campus of Ancient times, is present in Bihar state,India.It is about 120 Kilometers away from state capital-Patna.Archeological evidences have proved that it belongs to 5th century A.D.The place is well linked both by road and rail.Nalanda is the name given to the district also, in respect of the great center of Buddhist learning.
Visit this place, to know the grandeur of ancient Education system that prevailed in India.
How was Nalanda?
In its hay days,Nalanda was one of the five topmost universities teaching Buddhism. Though all the six philosophies of India were taught there, Buddhism was the main subject.The campus was spread over 14 hectares area. Of this only 10% has been excavated so far. if this small area sxposes so much, imagine how much must be still hidden!
Nalanda unversity had 10,000 learners then. Learners came from different countries like-present Afghanistan(that was not under Muslim influence then),China, Burma, SriLanka,Indochina, Nepal etc, let alone different states in india.
Hiuen-Tsang -the famous Chinese traveler stayed here for 10 long years,first as astudent, and later as a teacher
Courses of study.
At Nalanda, both Mahayana and Hinayana Schools of Buddhism were taught.Along with these, Logic(Hetu Vidya),Grammar(Shabda Vidya),Medicine(Vaidya) etc were also taught.
Nalanda was a residential university. It was monastic tye of education.Monks were the teachers.The ruins show us the rooms meant for monks and students, with diffeent arrangements.
The present ruins show us-teaching halls, prayer halls, dormitories, open parks,cemetries, kitchen and dining halls, water canal system, etc.
Visiting Nalanda is a wonderful experience.Well informed guides are available there to help tourists. Guide charge is also not much. Presently they are taking Rs100/-only per batch of about 50.
Near this campus there is a well built museum that houses so many important materials. That should also be seen.
Buddha visited this place many times before and after his enlightenment.That's this place got the prominence and this center of higher learning was started here.
Muslim invasion to India was the cause of decline of this famous center of higher learning.That started after 12the century.those invaders burnt many monks alive. They burnt the libraries here.But even after that, Nalanda had its breath.But by 16th century, it was attacked again by muslim army. And the remaining students and teachers were forced to flee.