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Six centuries later Nalanda's decline, it was first discovered and reported by Sir Francis Buchanan.

Located near the town of Rajagriha and about 90 kilometres southeast of Pataliputra Nalanda was a renowned Buddhist monastery and university in ancient Magadha (Now Bihar). The university was established within the 5th Century AD during the Gupta empire era. It had been functional from about 427 to 1197 CE. It's been called "one of the primary great universities in recorded history. Few of the buildings under Nalanda University were built by the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka the great which was recorded within the early developments of Buddhist learning. However, it was under the reign of Gupta Ruler Śakrāditya (also referred to as Kumāragupta) who reigned from 415-55 that the university finally flourished. The university complex occupies an area of 14 hectares.

Courses

The courses of Nalanda University were mainly dedicated to Buddhist and Hindu sacred and secular studies; nevertheless, it didn't stop the university to excel their students in foreign studies and philosophy, science, astronomy, logic and medicine. Later the scholars indulged in philosophy, metaphysics, Yoga-shastra, the Vedas, Samkhya and other scriptures of Buddhism. thanks to its reputation, vast choice of courses Nalanda attracted scholars from as distant as China, Greece, Persia, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and various other Asian countries.


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The Library of Nalanda

The library of Nalanda was referred to as Dharma Gunj (Mountain of Truth) or Dharmagañja (Treasury of Truth). Yijing a scholar who resided in Nalanda for 10 years took back large numbers of texts providing evidence for a well-equipped library at the university. Several traditional Tibetan sources have made mentions of the existence of an excellent library at Nalanda named Dharmaganja which comprised three large multi-storeyed buildings, the Ratnasagara (Ocean of Jewels), the Ratnodadhi (Sea of Jewels), and the Ratnaranjaka (Jewel-adorned). Ratnodadhi alone was nine storeys high and housed several sacred manuscripts including the Prajnaparamita Sutra and Guhyasamaja.

The exact number of volumes in the Nalanda library remains unknown, but it's appraised to possess been hundreds of thousands. When a Buddhist scholar at Nalanda died, their manuscripts were added to the library's collections. When the Mughals invaded they set the libraries of Nalanda ablaze which has been reported to possess burned for about three months and more. One can only imagine the worth of data and scriptures that were being burnt right down to crisps and therefore the fact that it burnt for 3 whole months only adds to the incontrovertible truth about the vast libraries of Nalanda.

Architecture

Nalanda was marked as one of the world's first residential universities, i.e., it had dormitories for students to reside in. made up of red bricks it occupies an area of 14 hectares. At its peak, Nalanda accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, several meditation halls and classrooms. On the campus, it had lakes and parks.

Xuanzang the Tang dynasty Chinese pilgrim left an in-depth account of the university during the 7th century. He described how the regularly laid-out towers, forest of pavilions, harmikas and temples appeared to "soar above the mists within the sky" so that from their cells the monks "might witness the birth of the winds and clouds. He states "An azure pool winds around the monasteries, adorned with the full-blown cups of the blue lotus; the dazzling red flowers of the stunning kanaka hang here and there, and outside groves of mango trees offer the inhabitants their dense and protective shade.

ALSO READ: How did "Nalanda" Come About?

The Fall and Discovery

At the end Of the 12th Century India was invaded by Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, the troops destroyed the monasteries, killed several monks, burnt the Grand library of Nalanda and drove the remaining of the monks out of site. The invasion by Bakhtriyar Khaliji was followed by the demise of Nalanda and therefore the decline of Buddhism in India.

About six centuries after Nalanda's decline, the location was first discovered and reported by Sir Francis Buchanan. The site was systematically excavated and consolidated by the Archaeological Survey of India from 1915 to 1937 and again from 1974 to 1982. It became key archaeological evidence of a truly international centre of organized learning. Nalanda was a rare combination of outstanding achievements in institution-building, site-planning, art and architecture. "The Excavated Remains at Nalanda" got included within the Tentative List of World Heritage on 09.01.2009. The known and excavated ruins of Nalanda extend over a region of about 150,000 square meters; however, if Xuanzang's account of Nalanda's extent is compared with present excavations, almost 90% of it remains undiscovered and unexcavated.

Revival

New Campus, Nalanda University, Rajgir (May 2021) In September 2014, Nalanda University opened its doors for the primary batch of students. The campus is anticipated to be finished by the end of 2021.Twitter/nalanda_univ

The former President of Indian Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam raised the thought of reviving the ancient Nalanda University in his address of March 2006 to the Bihar State legislature. Not too long after the Singapore Government approached the govt. of India with the "Nalanda Proposal" which essentially talked about the re-establishment of the international educational institute, Nalanda. The government of Bihar was quick to take action to the visionary idea and consulted with the govt. of India on the way ahead. Other nations like Japan, China, Thailand, Bhutan and several others formed a consortium to fund this international state-of-the-art institution that aims to blend values of the ancient Nalanda University with the contemporary. In 2010, the govt. of India passed the Nalanda University Act to revive the famous university, and a contemporary institute, Nalanda University, at Rajgir. After a gap of nearly eight hundred years on 1st September 2014, the University opened its doors for the primary batch of 15 students. A modern campus spreading over 160 hectares is anticipated to be finished by the end of 2021.


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