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“Giver of knowledge” is the meaning of the Sanskrit term Nalanda. Although the city was created in the fifth century AD, when it received its name, it still carries that name now. About 90 kilometers separate Nalanda from Patna, the nation’s capital. Nalanda University was one of the most well-known and esteemed educational institutions in the nation from the fifth through the twelfth century, and it was also one of Nalanda’s main tourist attractions.
Nalanda, the place that houses the ruins of Nalanda University, the world’s most ancient university, is called Nalanda Ruins. Nalanda University’s history is one of the richest in the country. The place has been blessed with the presence of the great Buddha several times and has been the International Center for Buddhist Studies since 1951.
Nearest Airport: Patna
How to reach: By Road/Train/Air
Famous for: Ruins of Ancient Nalanda University
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Ancient Nalanda University Ruins,Nalanda Stupa
Pawapuri Jal Mandir
Hieun Tsang Memorial
Places of Interest:
Ancient Nalanda University Ruins: The Nalanda University Ruins are without a doubt Bihar Nalanda’s most well-known feature. The exploration team is fascinated by this magnificent location’s splendor. The university, which the Gupta emperors constructed in the year 450 AD, had a capacity of close to 10,000 students and 2,000 faculty members. A chunk of the university is made up of several compounds, not to mention the sizable dorms, temples, libraries, and meditation halls. The university still contains a number of ruins, including old inkpots, stone beds, and study tables. The Nalanda Stupa, however, is the most well-known.
Nalanda Stupa: The Nalanda Stupa is a significant aspect of Nalanda University’s history. The Mauryan monarch Ashoka constructed the stupa in the third century, and it has a pyramid-shaped top. Great Stupa and Sariputra Stupa are some of Nalanda Stupa’s alternate names. The most significant structure in Nalanda’s history is the Nalanda Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tribute to the city’s rich and illustrious cultural past.
Pandu Pokhar: Pandu Pokhar, another historic site that dates back to the Mahabharata times is located in Rajgir and serves as a residential camping site with several activities, picturesque landscapes, and restaurants and lounges to enjoy the stay. This place has a history of the attack of King Pandu to occupy Rajgriha and then leaving this beautiful horse stable of a place behind which is now called Pandu Pokhar.
Pawapuri Jal Mandir: Jal mandir translates to “water temple”. This historic temple is situated in the city of Pawapuri in Bihar. This temple was built by the king in the middle of a lake. This marble temple stands as a famous pilgrimage spot for Jains. Adjacent to the mandir, over the lake that it is built on, beautiful lotus flowers can be spotted.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall: Built in memory of a popular Chinese traveler, Hieun Tsang, who stayed in Nalanda to study Buddhism and Mysticism at Nalanda University in 633 AD, the Hieun Tsang Memorial is one of the famous attractions in Nalanda. The memorial hall is known as the place where he used to learn yoga. In fact, our first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the one who first initiated the construction of the memorial in 1957. The hall gracefully preserves all the documents of the Buddhist writings collected by Tsang.
Surajpur Baragaon: Surajpur Baragaon is a lake and a temple, located towards the north of Nalanda. There are many statues in the temple, of Buddhist and Hindu deities. A 5 ft high statue of Goddess Parvati stands as the main attraction in the temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, the sun god. It is a pilgrimage spot for several followers.
Kundalpur: Kundalpur in Bihar is located just outside of Nalanda. It is known to be the birthplace of Lord Mahavir. The major attraction is a temple built to mark the birth of the lord with four and a half feet tall idol of Lord Mahavir. There are also several other idols within this grand temple with beautiful spires.
Rajgir: Located in the modern-day Nalanda District of Bihar, Rajgir is a town of many attractions. Rajgir, which was previously known as Rajgriha means “house of the king”.A few attractions in Rajgir are the Saptaparni Cave, temples, and monasteries. This town is known for being the place of a congregation of various spiritual leaders and scholars. Lord Buddha had blessed the place with his presence on several instances and it is said that Lord Buddha had lived here. The Jivekarmavan Monastery is believed to be the most liked residence of Lord Buddha here.
Traditional craft shops of Wooden inlay items: The production of wooden furniture and other woodcraft items has a long tradition in Bihar. Wood carving and inlay work are used to create items like wall plaques, tabletops, and writing instruments. Anyone who has seen these works of art has admired the craftsmanship that goes into them. Ivory, metal, staghorn, and wood chips are only a few of the materials used for the inlay work on wooden objects. Then, these are offered for sale in little stores that can be seen all across Nalanda.
Stone Crafts: Carving sculptures from stones has been a tradition since the ancient eras. The dynasty from those times is still known for its stone craftsmanship. The region is blessed with the abundant availability of lustrous, colorful stones. The guests visiting Nalanda love to take back the stone-carved Lord Buddha souvenirs with them. Many of the traditional stone crafts deal with the preachings of Lord Buddha. These are sold in various shops all around Nalanda.
Sikki Work: In Sikki work, a particular kind of grass called Sikki is used to make delicate beautiful objects and toys. These are sold in shops and are available for visitors to purchase. The grass is stitched together to form shapes that resemble animals, birds, and other things. The women in Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, and Madhubani in Bihar indulge in the practice which is done on a large scale.
Bihar is a state of several delicacies. People from around the world take back the experience of indulging in mouthwatering food items.
The sweets in Bihar are different than in any other part of the country. A few of the most famous sweets of Nalanda are Khaja, tilkut, pedakiya, laai, thekua, and anarsa.
Silao Khaja, the traditional delicacy of Bihar Nalanda is known for its lip-smacking taste. Its crispness and texture add to the perfection of this dish. It is made of all-purpose flour, wheat flour, sugar, ghee, cardamom, and aniseeds.
Sattu Pani is a savory drink made of Sattu, flour from ground pulses, and cereals. It is a great cooler to help you rehydrate and cool down during the hot summers.
Most of the dishes Nalanda is known for being vegetarian. Litti chokha, Dalpuri, Dahi choora, and Jhaal modhi are a few of the most famous snacks and food items of Nalanda.
Another sweet of Bihar, Khaja is popular in the entire state and enjoyed during festivals. It is one of the main and most relished food items of the Chhath Puja Festival.