Nalanda history

Nalanda City History-Importance-Origin-Architecture

History of Nalanda: Nalanda has a significant historical past that dates back to the periods of Lord Mahavira and Lord Buddha during the 6th century. It is also reputed for being the birthplace of Sariputra, a close follower of Lord Buddha. The city has been a major center for Buddhism as well because of the fact that Lord Buddha is believed to have visited Nalanda several times. The experiences of famed Chinese travellers such as Hieun Tsang and Fa - Hein confirm them too. Magadh emperor Asoka, who was a chief advocate of Buddhism during his time, is also prominently related with Nalanda. As per the historical observations, it can be found that several temples and other religious structures have been constructed by him. Also, it was during this era in 2nd century B.C. that the legendary alchemist as well as famous philosopher Nagarjuna studied and taught at the Nalanda University here, which was first of its kind in the entire world.

However, a majority of the history from the Asoka period is yet to be restored. The Guptas ruled here in the 5th century. The city was also a vital part in the kingdom of Mauryan king Harshavardhan, who ruled during the period ranging from 606 to 647 A.D. The contemporary Nalanda was formed on 6th November 1972, after it was given the status of an independent district with its headquarters located at Bihar Sharif.

During 1193, the Nalanda University was annulled by the fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk; an act seen by academicians as an eventual milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. As per the excerpts from of the Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj in his famous literary work, Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, thousands of monks were burnt alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to replace Buddhism with Islam by the sword. His devastating actions continued for several months and smoke from the burning manuscripts in the library hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills.

The ultimate throne - holder of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, sought asylum in Tibet in 1204 CE after getting invited by the Tibetan translator Tropu Lotsawa (Khro-phu Lo-tsa-ba Byams-pa dpal). In Tibet, he began an ordination lineage of the Mulasarvastivadin lineage to complement the two existing ones.

After the Tibetan translator Chag Lotsawa (Chag Lo-tsa-ba, 1197–1264) toured the city in 1235, he observed it to have been destroyed and looted, except that a 90-year-old teacher, Rahula Shribhadra, imparting knowledge to a class of about 70 students. At the time of Chag Lotsawa, an incursion by Turkish soldiers resulted in the fleeing of the reset of the students. Even after all these unfortunate incidents, remains of the debilitated Buddhist community still struggled due to scarce resources until c. 1400 CE after Chagalaraja who was presumably the last ruler to have patronized Nalanda.

Ahir considers the destroying of the temples, monasteries, learning zones at Nalanda and northern India to be instrumental in the demise of ancient Indian scientific thought in mathematics, astronomy, alchemy and anatomy.

The Magadhas, The Guptas, The Mauryas, King Asoka, Magadh emperor Asoka, Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II, Mauryan King Harshavardhan, King Asoka, Bakhtiyar Khilji, Xuanzang, Prajñavarman, Chagalaraja are the rulers who ruled the kingdom.

Nalanda is popular for being the ancient seat of learning. The ruins of the world's most ancient university lies here. During those times, Nalanda University used to offer education for eager students under various disciplines. Buddhist monasteries and several Hindu temples too have been constructed in the region making it a historically prominent place for religious activities. 

Famous personalities – Lord Mahavira, Lord Buddha, Chinese travelers Hieun Tsang and Fa-Hein, Magadh emperor Asoka, philosopher Nagarjuna, Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II, Mauryan King Harshavardhan, King Asoka, Bakhtiyar Khilji, Xuanzang, Prajñavarman, Minhaj-i-Siraj, Dharmakirti, Hwui-Li, Chagalaraja.

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