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Introducing Nalanda

Best time to visit : October to March
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Boasting of how efficient the higher learning system in India was centuries ago, Nalanda is the world-famous site of the ancient Nalanda University. Established in the 5th century, the site flourished exponentially over centuries, until it met the ill fate of destruction by Muslim invaders. Today, the ruins of Nalanda are nothing less than the glorious footprints of past. Apart from attracting history-admirers, old architecture lovers and scholars, the site also attracts Buddhist tourists and pilgrims. One of the true representatives of North India heritage, Nalanda is located in the state of Bihar close to the state capital Patna. The company of a tourist guide is recommended to have the best exploration of this amazing place.


Nalanda University is counted among the world’s first residential universities and it comprised of dormitories, prayer and meeting places, kitchens, granary, temples, monasteries, parks, lakes, wells and a grand library. Nalanda’s glory drew students and scholars from different corners of the world, including Greece, China, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Persia, Indonesia and Tibet. Different rulers and emperors of powerful dynasties contributed towards university’s empowerment. Such was the place’s magnificence that religious and historic figures like Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira and Chinese travellers Hieun Tsang and Xuanzang paid significant visits to the university. Even today there is no dearth of tourists from all over who show great enthusiasm while sightseeing in Nalanda. Note as an important piece of tourist information that summers here can be extremely hot and monsoons bring heavy downpour.

Limited number of restaurants in and around the museums of Nalanda offer good food (mainly vegetarian cuisines). One can relish on tasty snacks like samosas served at small stalls near to the tourist places. Fast food joints can be easily located on the roads leading to the historic site. Khaja, a kind of sweet, is the must-have item and is a popular regional delicacy.

Nalanda’s shopping options are limited to small stalls that sell handicrafts ranging from handmade pens to jewellery items. The nearby destinations like Rajgir and Patna can be visited to buy interesting items like paintings done in the famous Madhubani style, woodwork, papier mache work and appliqué work.

Nearby Places:
  • Rajgir (about 12 km.): Famous for Buddhist Stupas and monasteries, bamboo grove, holy hot water springs and numerous historic monuments and structures and a unique meditation experience.
  • Bihar Sharif (about 12 km.): Popular for Muslim tombs and sacred Muslim shrines and historic pillars.
  • Pawapuri (about 20 km.): A well-known Jain pilgrimage site, the place has a mesmerizing marble temple (Jalmandir) in the centre of a holy tank. 
  • Kakolat Falls (about 70 km.): A cascading waterfall with enthralling beauty and many associated mythological legends. 
  • Patna (about 82 km.): Capital city of Bihar, Patna is known for attractions like Patna Museum, Har Mandir Saheb, temples, mansions and ancient ruins. 
  • Bodh Gaya (about 90 km.): One of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world, as Lord Buddha attained enlightenment here. Attractions include the sacred Bodhi Tree, Mahabodhi Stupa, Barabar Caves and numerous Buddhist monasteries.  

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