Once the greatest learning centre of the ancient times, ‘Nalanda University’ stands in ruins today. Yet it’s past glory and essences of its knowledge is passed on through its leftover structures and accounts of the travellers.
This Mahavihara of the Magadha Kingdom (today in Bihar state) was the nucleus of learning from the 5th to 12th centuries CE. It received the royal patronage of the mighty Gupta Empire from 5th to 6th century CE. Later on, King Harsha of Kannauj supported this intellectual hub.
Nalanda offered subjects like the history of Mahayana, Hinayana sects of Buddhism, Vedas, logic, Sanskrit grammar, medicine and Samkhya. This university covers an area of 14 hectares, students and scholars from countries like China, Tibet, Persia and Greece came to Nalanda. It is said that Mahavira, the Jain Thirthankara stayed here for 14 rainy seasons and Gautama Buddha delivered lectures in a mango grove named Pavarika near it.
In the 12th century, CE India was covered by the splashes of invasion, this medium of Knowledge and learning was burned in it. Nalanda was ransacked and destroyed by the armies of Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate under Baktiyar Khiliji.
Today Indian government is trying its best to bring Nalanda to its former glory. The parliament passed the Nalanda Act, an irresistible idea to open this university again. Nalanda University has opened again with 15 students in Rajgir adjoining to the old Nalanda. It has become a new image of the old dream.
India Post has issued a commemorative stamps to herald Indepex 97 and to promote the great cultural heritage of India in 1997.
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