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Pilgrimage in India »» Buddhist Pilgrim Centers»

Nalanda, Bihar, India

Information on buddhist pilgrimage site Nalanda- India, providing on-line reservation /booking for visit to Nalanda on discounted rates, air/rail ticketing, car/ taxi / coach hire for NalandaTour, package tour to Nalanda and Hotel Booking in Nalanda.

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The stupa of Sariputta at NalandaNALANDA FACTS & FIGURES

Location: Bihar, India
Best time to Visit: October to March
Significance: Largest and oldest university of ancient times.

The name is a Sanskrit word that means giver of knowledge.Nalanda is the name of an ancient university in India. It has been called "one of the first great universities in recorded history. Nalanda was identified by Alexander Cunningham with the village of Baragaon.

Located in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Nalanda was one of the greatest centers of learning in the ancient times. Now a small village, Nalanda is about 72 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar and is part of the Buddhist circuit that also includes Bodh Gaya and Rajgir. It has ruins of its rich past scattered all around. Sculptures, frescoes and bas relief are still to be seen amongst the ruins.

Both Lord Buddha and Mahavira visited this place and it remained a renowned learning centre till 12th century. Kings of Gupta, Kushan and Palva dynasties were the chief patrons of the centre, who built several monasteries and temples. The famous Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang studied here and his documents provide details about the university.

The Past

Founded in the fifth century AD, Nalanda is well known as an ancient seat of learning. However, today this ancient university lies in ruins. The place not only has the remains of the great university but also many monasteries, temples, and viharas built by different kings.

Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th-12th centuries AD.

Pilgrim/Tourist Attractions in Nalanda

Nalanda university

The university was established in the 5th century BC and was one of the oldest Universities of the world. The ruins of the university is spread over an area of 14 hectares land with a number of temples and monasteries built by the contemporary kings.

Nalanda Museum

It was established in 1971 and houses many ancient manuscripts and Buddhist statues. The museum also contains several objects like coins, pottery, inscriptions of Maurya and Gupta period.

Surya Mandir

This famous temple is dedicated to the Sun God and has a number of statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities.

Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall

The famous Chinese traveller who came to India in the 5th century AD and stayed in Nalanda for 12 years as a student and a teacher and studied the social and political conditions. The memorial hall was built in his memory.

Nav Nalanda Vihar

Established in 1951 to keep the ancient tradition of spreading knowledge, Nav Nalanda Vihar was set up by the Bihar government to teach Pali language near the ancient university. Pali a widely used language in the ancient times.


Unique in Nalanda is the Chhath Puja, or worship of the Sun god. The most famous one is at the Sun temple in Baragaon near Nalanda, where new paddy, sweets, and fruits are offered in worship.

The Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and attained nirvana, all on the same full moon day of April/May. Thus, Baisakhi Purnima is celebrated as Buddha Jayanti here.

How to Reach Nalanda

Air : The nearest airport from Nalanda is Patna around 89 km away.

Rail : Rajgir 12 km away is the nearest railway station from Nalanda.

Road : Nalanda is connected through a good road network with Rajgir 12 km, Bodh Gaya 50 km, Gaya 65 km, Patna 90 km, Pawapuri 26 km, and Bihar Sharif 13 km.

Important Buddhist Pilgrimage Places»

Lumbini (Nepal)


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