An ancient center of higher learning, Nalanda city was once home to a flourishing university where monks and students from all over the world came to study. All through its existence, it contributed to Indian thought and culture. A large number of ancient Buddhist establishments, stupas, chaityas, temples and monastery sites have been excavated here and they show that this was also one of the most important Buddhist centers of worship.
Much of what is known about the university today is through the writings of Hieun Tsang, a Chinese Buddhist monk who visited the city in the seventh century AD.
Only ruins of the university remain today. Walking past these evocative ruins, one can’t help but try to fill in the missing walls, roofs and pillars, as they are transported back to the rich life of the monastery. But in a heartbreaking turn of fate, the present population around Nalanda is mostly illiterate. Despite its beautiful landscape, natural riches, and awe-inspiring history, the district today has some of the worst human development indices in the country.
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