The great Chinese traveller and scholar monk, Xuanzang, was a student at Nalanda and subsequently became a teacher of the ancient Nalanda Mahavihara. He recorded a vivid account of life in this great centre of learning in the 7th century AD.  

During a visit to China in the 1950’s, Ven. Kashyapji had the opportunity to meet the Premier Zhou-en-lai with whom he discussed the possibility of the Chinese Government giving some of the physical relics of Xuanzang, said to have been carefully preserved in Buddhist shrines in China for over 13 centuries, to Nava Nalanda Mahavihara. On January 12, 1957 , Pandit Jawarlal Nehru, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, on behalf of the Government of India, received the relics of Xuanzang from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama of Tibet in a function at the Mahavihara, along with a cheque for the construction of a Xuanzang memorial at Nalanda. The relics, which will be enshrined in this hall are currently preserved in the Patna Museum , in Patna . Nava Nalanda Mahavihara has prepared a detailed plan for the development of Xuanzang Memorial Hall, which includes the following:

1. Development of the hall as a memorial with an exhibition and texts to highlight the life and work of Xuanzang.

2. Establishment of a Centre for Mahayana Studies, which would include Chinese, Japanese, Korean Mongolian comparative studies in Buddhism, with future plans to add comparative studies of other religious traditions.

3. Development of a Meditation Centre, for the practice of patipatti or applied Buddhism.

4. Development of a small Cultural Village in the surrounding 52 acres of land in order to highlight important places and incidents connected with the life and teaching of the Buddha, and to present ancient Indian culture from the time of the Buddha and the spread of Buddhism to Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

Implementation of these projects began in 2001.  


Ancient Nalanda has been described by King Yashovarman in the 7th century AD as ‘rows of monasteries with their series of turrets licking the clouds’. The ruins, which today are spread out over 14 hectares, are comprised of a large caitya, 11 monasteries and 5 temples. The site is open daily to visitors.  



A museum is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, which houses the ancient Nalanda Mahavihara seal, stone and bronze sculptures from the 8th -10th centuries, Pala dynasty, and other remains excavated from the site. The museum is open Saturday through Thursday.  


Patna , the state capital of Bihar , situated on the banks of the Ganga , is a major entry point for pilgrims wishing to travel in the footsteps of the Buddha. Bihar derives its name from vihara, meaning Buddhist monastery, as there were once a number of Buddhist monasteries in Bihar . Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Vaishali are the main sights connected with the Buddha in Bihar .

The Patna Museum contains stone sculptures dating back to the Mauryan, Gupta and Pala periods. A portion of the relics, found in Vaishali is also in the museum.

Patna is connected by air, rail and road to Calcutta , Delhi , Mumbai and Varanasi .    


The Buddha spent 12 years in Rajgir, the ancient capital of Magadha . The first Buddhist council was also held here. Rajgir is 100 kms from Patna and 11 kms from Nalanda by road.    


Getting to Nalanda   Nalanda is 90 kms from Patna by road. Private and State Transport buses leave for Biharsharif every ten minutes and pass through Nalanda on the way to Gaya . Tempos and taxis are available from Biharsharif. There is one train from Delhi-Nalanda, 2401/2402 Shramjeevi Express. Many other trains come to Patna . The Institute is 3 kms from the Nalanda Train station.

Climate The best time to come to Nalanda is between October and April. During the winter from mid-December to the end of January temperatures can range from 2-3 to 15 C (35-60 F). The summer months of May and June are hot and the temperature can rise as high as 46 C (115 F). Monsoon arrives toward the end of June.















Ancient Nalanda Mahavihara

Nava Nalanda Mahavihara

Main Aims




Administration & Faculty


Nalanda & Surroundings

Xuan Zang Memorial