Thursday, 18 January 2018

"The Ancient Seat of Knowledge"- Nalanda

The most popular Mahavihara of the ancient times, a significant Buddhist seat of academic excellence and a modest pilgrim centre, all wrapped in a wisp of spirituality, Nalanda continues to be an equally enriching location in the present. It offers vibrant substance of spirituality, history, culture, architecture, and tourism.

History of Nalanda

Nalanda was originally just a village that ran past the route of Rajgriha (modern-day Rajbir) which was then the capital of Magadha (modern-day Bihar). It is believed that the 24th Jain tirthankar- Mahavir Jain spent 14 rainy seasons in Nalanda. Also, Gautam Buddha delivered his lectures in the area. Not much is known about the territory in the centuries to follow. However, it is believed that in the 17th century King Ashoka- the great Mauryan and Buddhist emperor, built a temple at Nalanda in reverence for Buddha and his belief in the religion. He placed famous philosophers and intellectuals like Nagarjuna and Aryadeva as the head of the institution to impart education. But the notable history of Nalanda begun supposedly during the Gupta era, according to the seal found in the name of King Kumargupta. His successors expanded the empire by building many more monasteries and temples. Post Gupta period, Nalanda flourished under the reign of emperor Harsha. But the place suffered a big blow under the rule of Pala dynasty when it was plundered and destroyed by the Muslim Mamluk Turkish kings. Later in 1915, the Archaeological Survey of India studied the site and excavated 6 temples and 11 monasteries. The site is still a popular tourist destination in India.

Nalanda has got pretty plain food habits, mostly due to the Buddhist influence. The cuisine is pretty much vegetarian and healthy comprising of dal roti and seasonal vegetables. Litti Chokha is the most favourite snack of the people. Some other popular snacks are Samosa, Kachori, Aalu Kachaalu, Bhooja, Ghughni Choora, Dahi Choora, Jhaal Moodhi etc.

How To Reach Nalanda
Nearest Airport: Patna Airport (PAT) - 64 km from Nalanda

How to Reach Nalanda by Road

Nalanda is well connected to nearby cities like Patna, Bodhgaya, and Rajgir by a good network of roads. Regular state-run and private buses move to and from Nalanda to these towns.

How to Reach Nalanda by Train

The Nalanda Railway station controlled by the East Central Railway is well connected to major cities of India via the Delhi-Kolkata Line and Patna-Mughalsarai Line. Regular superfast and express trains are available on this route.

Commuting Within Nalanda

Buses and jeeps are used to get around in Nalanda, but the local way of travel is Tonga, i.e the horse-drawn cart.