ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on December 31, 2010


Formal education in ancient India was confined to two types of institutions namely Brahmanical and Buddhist. Study in a Brahmanical institution lasted nearly three decades whilst Buddhist institutions demanded a minimum of ten years of intense study. Nalanda was the foremost Buddhist monastery and educational centre in North India. The Etymology of the word NALANDA is interesting. NALA means ‘lotus', which symbolizes knowledge and DA means ‘to give'. In other words NALANDA existed to impart knowledge which it did for nearly a thousand years.

Nalanda is one of the oldest Universities of Ancient India. The other being Takshashila (also known as Taxila). It was located in the Indian state of Bihar, near Modern Patna, which was earlier known as PATALIPUTRA. The university dates back to the time of Gautama Buddha who was supposed to have visited the place around 500 BC. Even Mahavira the founder of Jainism is said to have lived in Nalanda for a while. It was also the first residential university, and had in its heyday nearly 10000 students and about 2000 faculty members. It was truly an international university as it had students and scholars, from China, Japan, Korea, Persia, and Indonesia. According the writings of Xuanzang who had stayed at Nalanda for over 17 years, the campus was a huge complex spread over 14 hectares consisting of lecture halls, dormitories and temples.

It was supported by the income from a number of villages which the monastery acquired over time through donations. The subjects taught here were Grammar, Rhetoric, Prose, logic, metaphysics, astrology, astronomy, ayurveda, mathematics and of course Philosophy. In fact Nalanda was renowned as a centre of Buddhist learning. Nalanda's contribution to the evolution of Buddhism is immense. Three forms of Buddhism namely, MAHAYANA, (followed in China, Japan, Korea and Viet Nam) VAJRAYANA (followed in Tibet, Mongolia, Russia , North eastern China) AND THERAVADA had its protagonists in the portals of Nalanda University.

It was however the scholars connected with Nalanda who were responsible for its reputation and they were many. There was for example Silabhadra a preceptor of Xuanzang and a master of the Sutras. Dharmakirti the father of Buddhist logic and Padmasambhava who on the invitation of the Tibetan King Thri Song went to Tibet and introduced the Tantric form of Buddhism there. Other renowned scholars included Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and Asanga.

The decline of Buddhism in India is closely connected with the burning of Nalanda. The renowned centre of learning was razed to the ground by Turkish Muslim Invaders the Khiljis. For centuries it remained unknown having been reduced to mounds of earth, but in 1861 Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered this ancient seat of learning. The inscriptions, Icons and sculptures found during the excavation were then preserved in a museum.

However efforts are now being made to revive the Nalanda University. The objective is to set up a university on the basis of an inter-governmental treaty involving countries like Japan, China and other East Asian countries. For this a mentor group under the chairmanship of Amartya Sen has been set up. The Bihar Government has for this purpose acquired 500 acres of land and it is hoped that like the proverbial phoenix Nalanda would rise up from the ashes.




This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)