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.
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
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.
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.
of these projects began in 2001.
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.
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
Buddha spent 12 years in Rajgir, the ancient capital of
Getting to Nalanda Nalanda
is 90 kms from
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.