Day 11/30: The ruins of Nalanda, Bihar photofest

Here’s another selection of unedited photos of the ruins of Nalanda, the world’s most ancient university. Again this little historical and architectural gem is found in Bihar, a couple of hours drive from Bodh Gaya. As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s not as developed as the main cities, but there are improvements! I have to admit I was shocked to see so many tourists, during my 2002 visit, my brother and I were the only people at the ruins, it wasn’t well kept at all and at most there were three very tiny stalls outside. You may wonder why there’s pictures of random walls, it’s to show how thick the walls are (around 6 ft!!), also you’ll be able to see the rooms/dormitories for the student monks. They don’t look too comfortable! It’s amazing how much foresight they had and how solid the building is.

For anyone who wants to learn something new, here’s a tiny bit of paraphrased information from the Bihar Tourism website and Wikipedia:

Nalanda is home to the ruins of the world’s most ancient university. Founded in the 5th century AD, it was famous as the ancient seat of learning. Nalanda shot to fame much during 5th-12th centuries. Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century AD and left detailed description of the excellence of education system and purity of monastic life practiced here. It was the first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 monks students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied in Nalanda. The Gupta kings patronized these monasteries, built in old Kushan architectural style, in a row of cells around a courtyard.

Evidence in literature suggests that in 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by the fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk during the period of Muslim conquest in India. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaqat-I-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism the burning of the library continued for several months.

Anyway, have a gander at the photos!

DSC06048DSC05975 DSC05983 DSC05984 DSC05986 DSC05987 DSC05988 DSC05998 DSC06005 DSC06006 DSC06016 DSC06018 DSC06024 DSC06027 DSC06028 DSC06038 DSC06045 IMG_0121 IMG_0129 IMG_0131 IMG_0132 IMG_0133 IMG_0137 IMG_0146 IMG_0148 IMG_0149 IMG_0158 IMG_0168 IMG_0170 IMG_0172

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