Nalanda University – An Ancient Seat of Learning

Nalanda was one of the earliest and finest universities in India.

It is located in Nalanda District, Bihar, India.

Nalanda University - Indian's ancient University

ORIGIN OF NALANDA

The origins of this scholastic institution in 5th century CE. It served for an uninterrupted duration of 800 years

The university thrived under the patronage of the rulers of the Gupta dynasty during the 5th and 6th centuries.

 It continued to flourish under Emperor Harshavardhan of Kannauj in the 7th century as well. 

The growth and the popularity of the university continued until the 9th century.

The declination of Nalanda University was primarily due to the establishment of four other seats of Buddhist learning in the same region under the Pala Empire from the 9th century to the 12th century

FACTS

  • Oldest university with hostel facilities in India.
  • The massive library of Nalanda was called Dharma Gunj, meaning the Treasury of Truth or the Mountain of Truth.
    • It contained hundreds of thousands of books.
  • The subjects taught at Nalanda covered in every field of learning, and it attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey
  • It is believed that the library of Nalanda was so huge that it burned for months after the university was ransacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji and the library was set on fire.
  • Nalanda was attacked three times by the invaders –
    1. The Huns
    2. The Gaudas
    3. Bhaktiyar Khilji – who brought about its complete destruction.
  • Archeologists and historians are of the opinion that just 10% of the Nalanda campus has been excavated till date. Around 90% remain to be excavated.
  • The ruins of Nalanda were the location for the shooting of the popular song “O Mere Raja” from the Bollywood movie Johny Mera Naam starring Hema Malini and Dev Anand.
By Kirti kumari

DECLINATION

  Muḥammad Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Turkic invader destroyed the Nalanda University in 1202 AD.

At that time Bakhtiyar Khilji had captured some areas ruled by Buddhists in North India and once he became quite ill. He got enough treatment from his princes but he could not recover and reached a moribund condition.

Then someone advised him to take the treatment from Acharya Rahul Sribhadra, who was head of Ayurveda department of Nalanda University. But Khilji was not ready for this. He had more faith in his princes. He was not willing to believe that Indian physicians have more knowledge than his wife and their masters.

But to save his life he had to call Acharya Rahul Sribhadra, head of Ayurveda department of Nalanda University. Then Bakhtiar Khilji put a strange condition in front of Vaidyaraj that I will not eat any kind of medicine given by him. They had to fix it without medication. After thinking of this, Vaidyaraj accepted his condition and after a few days, he came to Khilji with a Quran and said that he had to read the page of the Quran. And after reading these pages you will free from illness.

Bakhtiar Khilji read the Quran as Vaidyaraj said he was cured.

“It is said that Rahul Shribhadra applied for medicine on some pages of the Quran. and as he started reading those pages of the Quran he kept on recovering.”

After recovering khilji was shocked by the fact that an Indian scholar and teacher had more knowledge than his princes and countryman.

After this, he decided to destroy the roots of Buddhism and Ayurveda. As a result, Khilji set fire to the great library of Nalanda and burned around 9 million manuscripts.