Nalanda is a famous tourist destination of Bihar, noted for its ancient Center of Higher learning, also known as the Nalanda University.
Nalanda had a Buddhist Center of learning established in 450 BC, and was the largest University in the world during its era. The remains of the University is spread over 14 Acres and is located at a site about 88 kilometres south east of Patna. The University accommodated over 10,000 students and 2000 faculty at a time. Much about it were discovered from the writings of Chinese Traveller Hiuen Tsang.
Almost 90% of Nalanda yet remains unexcavated. Nalanda is no longer inhabited, hence visitors are advised to stay at Rajgir.
- Altitude: 67 meters above MSL
- Temperature (Max./Min.) Deg C: Summer 37.8/17.8 Winter 27.8/10.6
- Rainfall: 120 cm (June to September mainly)
- Best time to visit: October to March
How to reach?
Patna International airport is the nearest airport(100)Km. Nalanda Travels provides taxi services from Patna airport to Nalanda. Bodh Gaya Airport is at equal distance but has very few regular flights.
Nalanda itself has a Railway station. However, the nearest major Railway Station is Bihar Sharif (about 15 km) which in turn is connected to Patna and several other important towns and cities of eastern India.
Nalanda is well connected by Roads. Taxis and Vehicles for hire are readily available to and fro of Nalanda. Shared vehicles plying the route between Rajgir (15 km) and Bihar Sharif (35 km) make a stop at the turn off for Nalanda. Bus facilities are also available from Patna, Gaya, Bihar Sharif and Rajgir.
Places to visit
Ancient Nalanda University Ruins: Spread over 14 hectares, the remains comprise of edifices of red bricks and beautiful gardens. The buildings are divided by a central walk way that goes south to north. The monasteries or “Viharas” are east of this central alley and the temple or “Chaiyas” to the west. There also exists a half broken statue of the Lord Buddha.
Great Stupa. Near the University remains, there exists remains of a great stupa. It has terraces and several smaller stupas.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum. The museum houses a significant collection of Pala and Mauryan statues. 10AM-5PM daily, closed on Fridays. The six rooms show off stone and metal statues that were found during the excavations of Nalanda and surrounding villages. The Nalanda Museum contains a number of manuscripts, and shows many examples of the items that have been excavated. Besides this there are four more sections in the Multimedia Museum: Geographical Perspective, Historical Perspective, Hall of Nalanda and Revival of Nalanda.
Nalanda Multimedia Museum. Great place to visualize the History of Nalanda. Started on 26 January 2008, it recreates the history of Nalanda using a 3D animation film . To get there, keep walking up the road from the university ruins/official museum about 200m and it will be on your right. Ticket Charges: Rs 50 per person.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara: Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is devoted to study and research of Pali Literature and Buddhism. This is a new institute, where students from foreign countries also study.
Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall: A new construction in memory of the great Chinese traveler, Hiuen Tsang.
Surajpur Baragaon: The lake with its temple of Surya, the Sun God , is a pilgrim destination twice a year in “Vaisakha” (April-May) and in “Kartika” (October-November) during the Chhath Puja or Sun worship.
Tourists prefer to stay at Rajgir (15 km. from Nalanda). There are a number of moderately priced hotels available at Rajgir. Tourists can stay at any of the three Tourists Bungalows of Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, Tathagat Vihar, Ajatshatru Vihar and Gautam Vihar.
Local Sight Seeing : Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation operates one day excursion from its head quarter i.e. Tourist Bunglow, Kautilya Vihar, Beer chand patel Path, Patna-1. Ph-0612-2222622, 0612-2225411. Fax: 0612-2506218. AC, Non-AC cars, mini deluxe coaches and Hi-Tech coaches are also available.
Things to Do
- Buy Local Arts & Craft, Stone Sculptures and Madhubani Paintings.
- Buy unique cuisines called Khaja