Nalanda University, Rajgir, Bihar

Nalanda University is now called Nalanda International University, which was reopened on 1st September 2014 after many long years. Presently it is now running with 15 students, which 5 of them are women. This university is established in Rajgir near Nalanda, Bihar with only some temporary facilities. It is supposed to be working with complete facilities from 2020.

In the 2006, then president APJ Abdul Kalam, proposed the revival of the University in the Joint Session of Bihar Vidhan Sabha. The bill of Nalanda University was passed in Rajya Sabha on 21st August 2010. On 26th August 2010 Lok Sabha passed the bill. Later on 21 September 2010 it gained presidential assent then the university came into existence on 25th November 2010.

The dream project of the former chief minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar acquired 443 acres of land from the local people to the university, where the construction has already started.A sum of 500 million USD is needed for the reconstruction of the University.An amount 100 million USD was sponsored by the countries Japan and Singapore for the development of the Nalanda University. The government is in need of remaining 400 million USD, for which it is looking for donations and sponsorship.

In the year 2007 a group under the chairmanship of Dr. Amartya Sen formed to process and proceed the activities of construction, develop, and maintain International Co-operation with a proposed partnership to support the establishment of Nalanda University as an International Study Centre. The group is then called as Nalanda Mentor Group with the international partners of Singapore, China, Japan and Thailand. This body is under the charge of East Asia Summit, as a regional summit.

A global competition was held for the construction of international state of the art museum for best architectural design and from the competition Vastu Shilpa Consultants were selected as the winner who were given the opportunity of the infrastructure and architectural design of the University.

The history of Nalanda goes back to the 6th BC during the time of Buddha and Mahavir. This was the birthplace of Sariputra, the famous disciple of Buddha. The university was founded by Kumar Gupta 1 during his reign from 413 – 455 AD. King Harshavardhan of Kannauj and the Pala Kings during 8th -12th centuryextended the University, the revenue of this university met with the revenue of 20 villages. During the late Pala rule the existence of this university started declining, by the invasion of Bhaktiyar Khilji in 1933 put a grand stop on this university which was completely destroyed.

The University campus has a huge stupa which was flanked by huge stairs and terraces which were found during excavations. It is found that the stupa has gone with nearly seven successive rebuilds. Main stupa was found to be succeeded by many explorations and rebuilds. It is also noted that the main stupa has a huge structure of Buddha. The excavation is done for nearly 14 hectares where monasteries with quadrangular courts were found from north to south of the platform.A temple of Lord Buddha was found in the fossils of Nalanda.

During the running stages of Nalanda University which is also called as Nalanda Mahavihar has educated nearly 10000 students supporting with 2000 teachers. It is also the world’s earliest university. It is said that Lord Buddha visited this university regularly and thus it gained fame as the biggest center of Buddhism Art and Literature. Nalanda University has a huge 39 storied Library with hundreds of thousands books. During Afghan invasion it was set to fire and is said that it went on burning till three months after the invasion. Buddhism suffered a major loss due to the destruction of Nalanda University.

The university is 90 km away from Patna by road and 62 km away from Bodh Gaya. Now the university is isolated and can’t provide sufficient accommodation, Rajgir the nearby place with 12km away provides accommodation during the visit to the university.