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Nalanda



 


What :

Nalanda was the seat of higher education in India through the 12th century. Founded in 450 B.C., Nalanda University drew scholars from across Asia and the Middle East to study mathematics, medicine, languages, and the Buddhist religion.

At its zenith, Nalanda University is thought to have housed upwards of 10,000 students who were instructed by 1,500 residential scholars. The campus was divided into 8 main structures with lecture halls, 300 dorm-like cells, and communal dining areas. The library was 9-stories high, and filled with thousands of ancient texts covering a multitude of varying topics from Buddhism to astronomy.

Well-funded by royal patronage, Nalanda University expanded considerably through early history. The archeological site contains evidence of granaries, drainage and sewage systems, and at least 10 temple structures. The students who trained and studied here would go on to spread Buddhism throughout Asia by building monasteries in places like Tibet and Japan.

Today, the brick foundations of these structures are all that remains of one of the world’s greatest universities. In 1193 A.D. Turkish invaders sacked the university under the command of Bakhtiyar Khilji. Muslim reports of the sacking of Nalanda claim that the university’s great library was so large and well stocked that it took weeks for the Muslim conquerors to burn the documents within after massacring the instructors and students. The loss of Nalanda University is considered to be the tipping point where Buddhism began a long decline in India due to the rise of Muslim rulers.


When :

Visit between October and March for the best weather to explore the sprawling ruins of Nalanda University. From April to June the weather is hottest, but the rains that come through between July and September cool the region considerably and revive the countryside to a lush green.


Where :

Nalanda is about 50 miles from the Bihar State capital of Patna. The ruins of the ancient university are best reached by private vehicle departing from Patna.


Who :

The chance to visit and explore one of the world’s oldest institutions of higher learning is a must-see on our tours of India.


Appropriate Attire :

Dress for a hike with good shoes. While only the foundations of the original structures remain, there are plenty of good vantage points worth climbing, like the steps leading to the library, to get a better view of what’s left of one of the world’s oldest universities.




Guest Reviews :

 
  Robin and Clifford Topol
April 2014
We are back and recovered from jet lag and finally able to reflect on what was a truly great trip and wonderful experience. The trip was well thought out and provided multiple highlights. Arpita did a great job and called several times to check our progress.  Raju, our driver from Delhi thru Jaipur, is a warm and good person. The hotels were exceptional and the service was at a very high level. Thank you for letting the hotels know that it was Robin’s birthday. It made the trip very special for her. Thank you again and please make sure that all involved, in making our trip a success, understand that we are thankful and will be referring Easy Tours to our friends
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  Susan and Gerard Totorelli
February 2014
Excellent rating for Tour Design, Tour Directors, Guides, Hotels, Ground Transportation, Transfers.
We had a wonderful time. Your company made it very 'Easy' to navigate the hustle and bustle of India. Our Tour Director in India, Abid Ali, was superb. He was knowledgeable about all aspects of Indian life (culture, art, history, religion, traditions, etc. He was very open when we asked him personal questions about his family and their traditions and beliefs. Our guide in Nepal, Vejay, was also wonderful. He adjusted our tour slightly, to accommodate our needs. His knowledge of the history, religion and traditions of the country was excellent. He had answers to all of our questions. I cannot say enough in this small area to adequately compliment your operation for running an absolutely first class trip. India would have been impossible to tour on our own. From the ceremonies at the Ganges, to the glamor of the palaces, to the splendor of the Taj Mahal, we were exposed to the many faces of India. The sensory overload of the traffic, congestion, horns, garbage, food was so overwhelming in the beginning. But it became just the way of life after a while. As the traffic is so wild in India, our lives were in the hands of your drivers who were very competent. We were grateful for their expertise. Our trip was a wonderful experience. I have been telling people that it was not a vacation but an education. You are never too old to learn! I now want to read up more on the history and religions of India. Thank you Easy Tours for making it 'easy'!
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