My visit to Nalanda University

Nalanda University is one of the first universities in the world, founded in the 5th Century BC (2024 years ago), and reported to have been visited by the Buddha during his lifetime. I am fortunate enough to travel to Nalanda University (Rajgir, Bihar) for the 5th International Dharma Dhamma Conference on 27-28 July 2019. This year’s Edition had participation of 250 Delegates from 15 Countries.

Nalanda university is one of the first universities in recorded history and even some buildings were constructed by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great ( Raja Asoka: 273–232 BCE) which means 2293 years ago.

At its peak, the university attracted scholars and students from as far away as China, Greece, and Persia. Nalanda University at its peak housed 10,000 students from all across Asia. Some famous personalities associated with the original illustrious university include Lord Buddha, who preached at Rajgir centuries earlier.

Nalanda University was sacked by Turkic Muslim invaders under Bakhtiyar Khalji in 1193, a milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. The great library (9 story) of Nalanda University was so vast that it is reported to have burned for three months after the Mughals set fire to it, sacked and destroyed the monasteries, and drove the monks from the site.

The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms.

India has always been revered as a land of learning. From ancient sciences to arts, philosophy, and literature, the country has always been a destination for learners from all over the world.

The purpose of my visit was supporting a event arranged by India Foundation for revival of ancient Nalanda University. At the conference, all 15 countries came together and welcomed the regional initiative for the revival and members supported establishment of Nalanda University and encouraged networking and collaboration.

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