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Established in the fifth century BC Nalanda is recorded as the world’s earliest unversity.Since the time of Lord Buddha ,the bhikkus were always encouraged to study the vaious arts and sciences.Learning was greatly encouraged as it served dual purposes: Knowledge and practice.The monks therefore took to learning so that they might practice it and realize Dhamma perfectly and thereby enrich the masses.Buddha is believed to have said that if a man lived in a Sangha for a few days only and observed the precepts prescribed in the Patimokha his life would be more precious than his previous one.
Many kings right from 5th to 12th century extended their royal patronage to ensure the progress and prosperity of the university.A copper plate inscription tells us about the erection of a monastery by the King of Sumatra and records and grant of five villages by the Pala kings for the maintenance of the monastery at the request of the foreign king.
Nalanda today is in ruins but still it imparts the scholarly look.The archeological zone here is classified into a number of sites that include 11 monasteries and several temples built in red bricks.
The discovery of metal smelting furnace with metal pieces and slag in it establishes that metal objects were cast in Nalanda.One of the finest bronze specimens depict Buddha in abhaya mudra which is noted for its simplicity.The Pala school of art is seen at its best at Nalanda with several sculptures belonging to this period.
How to reach there
- Air: The nearest airport is Patna (93kms)
- Rail: The nearest railhead on Delhi-Howrah main line is Bakhtiyarpur,38kms though the loop line connects Nalanda.
- Road: Nalanda is connected by road to Patna,Rajgir,Gaya and Delhi/Kolkatta.
Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation organizes trips to Nalanda,Rajgir from its Headquaters,Tourist Bhawan,Beer Chand Patel Path,Patna -800001.
- Where to stay :
There are number of moderately priced hotels available in Rajgir.Tourist Bungalows of Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation located at Rajgir have AC and Non AC roomes .There are other options like Centaur Hokke hotel.