Nalanda: A Treasure Trove of History, Culture, and Spirituality
Nalanda, the most popular Mahavihara of ancient times, was a significant Buddhist seat of academic excellence and a modest pilgrim center. Today, it is an equally enriching location, offering a vibrant substance of spirituality, history, culture, architecture, and tourism.
This city houses one of the world’s oldest and finest residential universities, which itself was an architectural masterpiece. Although in ruins, the entire complex presents a pretty picture and is flocked by tourists day in and day out. It has “viharas” or monasteries to the east and “chaiyas” or temples to the west.
In addition to this, the complex houses a charming little museum, which has a collection of several of original Buddhist stupas, Hindu and Buddhist bronzes, coins, terracotta jars, a sample of burnt rice, etc. The district is believed to be a cradle of religions. Apart from Buddhism, it is an important center for Jainism, Hinduism, and Sufism as well. Considering the rich heritage and the historical importance, it is a hot tourist destination.
Here are some of the things you can do in Nalanda:
Visit the Nalanda University ruins: Explore the ruins of this ancient university and learn about its rich history.
Visit the Nalanda Archaeological Museum: See a collection of artifacts from the Nalanda University ruins, including sculptures, coins, and pottery.
Visit the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara: This modern university is located near the Nalanda University ruins and offers courses in Buddhist studies and other related fields.
Visit the Pawapuri Jain Temple: This Jain temple is located about 30 km from Nalanda and is one of the most important Jain pilgrimage sites in the world.
Enjoy the local cuisine: Nalanda is known for its delicious litti chokha, a dish of grilled wheat dough balls served with a mashed potato dish.
Be respectful of the religious and cultural significance of the sites you visit.
Dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious sites.
Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against theft and other crimes.
Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially during the summer months.
Wear sunscreen and protective clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
The best time to visit Nalanda is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant.
Nalanda is well connected by road and rail to major cities in India.
There are a number of hotels and guesthouses available in Nalanda to suit all budgets.
It is advisable to hire a guide to help you explore the Nalanda University ruins and other sites in the area.