Buddhism originated in India 2500 years ago and spread from here to many countries especially to the east. The Buddha propagated many teachings and in order to safeguard these as well as to promote art and the continual safeguarding of Buddhist scriptures there were many universities that were set up. Nalanda in present day Bihar is among the most famous of these. Close to the capital city Patna and from Bodhgaya, Nalanda was established in the 5th century and this was a very important center of learning in ancient times. Nalanda also benefitted from the patronage of the rulers of the region like the Gupta's, the Pali’s etc. The University of Nalanda was very famous and students and learned men came from many countries to hold discourses and to exchange knowledge.
The famous traveler in ancient times Hiuen Tsang recorded that Nalanda had about 10,000 scholars and 1500 teachers with a library that was unrivalled in those times. Teaching was imparted in the style of discussions and debates. Recent excavations have revealed stupas, monks resting areas, a community kitchen etc. The excavations and restoration work is ongoing and a visit here will be a learning in the ways of this ancient university. There are many decent places to stay at while on a visit to Nalanda and this is usually a stop on the Buddhist trail that includes Bodhgaya and Kushinagar. Find a good tour agency that will help to plan a comfortable trip to Nalanda and especially for those interested in following the footsteps of the Buddha, this is a must see place. It is recorded that Buddha himself visited Nalanda many times in his lifetime.
Get a glimpse of the past with a trip to this ancient seat of learning.