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7 Facts You Must Know About Nalanda University

Bihar’s culture, history and historical sites are mentioned in the golden pages of the history of India. At Patnabeats, we are trying to bring those pages to common people so that each and every Bihari is aware of their cultural heritage. You need to know the facts so that you can tell others about your culture and society. In this article, we have brought 7 facts about Nalanda University which is one of the well known ancient universities of the world.

1. Nalanda University was founded during Gupta dynasty

According to historical studies, University of Nalanda was established during the era of the Kumaragupta. He was a famous Gupta emperor. Prajnavarman and Xuanzang, both claimed him as the laying founder of the university, which is also proved by the seal discovered at the site of ruins of the Nalanda University.

2. The university was attacked thrice by the invaders- Huns, Gaudas and Bhaktiyar Khilji

During the reign of Skandagupta, Huns were the first one who tried to destruct the university under Mihirakula. But the library was restored and improved with bigger building and better faculties by Skanda’s successors. The second invasion was done by the Gaudas which was again restored by Harshavardhana; the Buddhist king. Khilji was an illiterate person who was hired by some Turkish rulers due to his military skills.  But the army led by Turkish leader Bakhtiyar khilji did the most destructive attack in 1193 who tried to destroy the roots of knowledge, Buddhism and Ayurveda, from the country.

3. The library kept burning for more than 5 months

At that point of time, the Library was a very prestigious and renowned repository of the Buddhist knowledge throughout the world. The library of the Nalanda University was called Dharma Gunj which meant the “Mountain of Truth”. The library constituted of three main buildings, which stood up to nine stories. It was composed of hundreds and thousands of volumes of books. This is quite evident from the fact that it took about 3-6 months for it to burn down completely, at the time when it was set aflame by the Muslim invaders. The three library buildings were called upon by their respective names that included Ratnasagara-The Sea of Jewels, Ratnarañjaka-Delighter of Jewels and Ratnodadhi-The Ocean of Jewels.

4. Ruins still have a lot to say

Till today, a number of ruined structures survive at the ruins of the university. The excavated ruins are known to extend over an area of about 150,000 square foot meters. According to the report, it is believed that 90% of the remains at Nalanda University is still unexcavated.

Also See: See these pictures of Darbhanga to revisit the glorious past of Bihar

5. At that time it was the only international university in the world

In 6th century B.C. during the reign of Narasimha Deva, the university was built to serve the quench of knowledge of the world. It remained the best for over 800 years with around 10,000 students and nearly 2700 faculties who came from all over the world like Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Greater Iran, Persia, Greece, Mongolia and many more.

6. The glory of the library was matchless

With the smoke, all the knowledge that mankind has collected and stored went into the flame. It is not tough to understand the vastness of the library of Nalanda University from the information that it took so many months by the invaders to burn it down completely and the smoke of the burning invaluable books and nearly 9 million manuscripts stayed there for many days.

7. Renowned alumni cum scholars of the university

Some of the very famous scholars who studied at Nalanda University include Dharmapala, Vasubandhu, Suvishnu, Dharmakirti, Asanga, Harshavardhana, Shantarakhsita, Aryadeva, Nagarjuna, Padmasambhava and Xuanzang.

Buddhism is a major religion in India which had seen a setback for around hundreds of years due to the loss of the religious texts.

Article By: Shubham
Photo Credit: दो घुमक्कड़

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–  Helen Keller

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Shubham kumar

Shubham Kumar is a student of St. Xavier's College, Patna, perusing bachelors in Mass Communication. He is a freelance content writer, photojournalist and amateur researcher. Being raised and born in Patna, he takes special interest in happenings of central and eastern India. His interest varies from film/documentary making, social media marketing, writings poems to travelling. He aims to explore everything that other fear to experience in their life. You can contact him on Instagram @the.shubhamkr