Nalanda Bihar - The Famous Site of Ancient University of Nalanda
trip from Rajgir
is to Nalanda. This small village and its surrounding area
have numerous associations with the Buddha and his disciples. Sailo 3
kilometres south-west of Nalanda ruins is where the Buddha met and converted Maha
Kassapa, the man who was later to become his successor. A large statue of
Kassapa with an inscription on it was found in the village in the early
1900's but unfortunately its whereabouts is now unknown. The village of Kul
some 1.5 kilometres south-east of Nalanda district is the Kolita of old and the
birthplace of Moggalana, the second of the Buddha's two chief disciples.
Nalanda in Bihar itself was often visited by the Buddha during his numerous sojourns
through Magadha and he taught several important discourses there.
In about the 5th century B.C. a monastic Nalanda university was established
that was eventually to develop into the greatest ancient centre of
Buddhist learning. Students from China and Korea, Sri Lanka and Indonesia
and from all the regions of India came to Nalanda monastery to study. When Hiuen
Tsiang was studying at Nalanda in the 7th century there were 1510 teachers
and 8500 students. The Tibetan pilgrim Dharmasvamin was here in 1234 and has
left an a gripping account of the monastery's destruction by the Muslims.