Trude Banner

Trude Banner

Published: 14 Sep 2023


Nalanda University, once a thriving center of learning and intellectualism, now lies in ruins, serving as a haunting reminder of its glorious past. Situated in present-day Bihar, India, Nalanda University was an ancient seat of knowledge and a symbol of intellectual excellence. Established in the 5th century CE, it flourished for over seven centuries and attracted scholars and students from all over the world.

Today, the Nalanda University ruins stand as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering a glimpse into the rich history and wisdom that once graced its halls. These enigmatic ruins hold fascinating secrets and stories that continue to captivate historians, archaeologists, and curious visitors alike.

In this article, we will explore nine intriguing facts about the Nalanda University ruins, shedding light on the significance and importance of this magnificent institution in the ancient world.

Table of Contents

Nalanda University was an ancient center of learning.

Nalanda University, located in present-day Bihar, India, was a renowned Buddhist center of learning during the Gupta Empire. It was established in the 5th century CE and attracted scholars from all over the world, gaining fame for its vast library and academic excellence.

The ruins of Nalanda University cover an area of approximately 14 hectares.

The sprawling ruins of Nalanda University extend over an area of around 14 hectares, comprising various structures like temples, monasteries, lecture halls, and residential quarters. These ruins provide fascinating insights into the architectural brilliance and intellectual atmosphere that once thrived here.

Nalanda University had a library called Dharmagupta.

Dharmagupta, the library of Nalanda University, was renowned for housing a vast collection of manuscripts, with estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of texts. These precious manuscripts covered a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, astronomy, medicine, and literature.

Nalanda University attracted scholars from different parts of the world.

The fame of Nalanda University spread far and wide, attracting scholars from not only India but also China, Tibet, Korea, and Central Asia. These scholars came to Nalanda to study, teach, and engage in intellectual discourse, contributing to the rich multicultural atmosphere of this ancient educational institution.

Nalanda University was a center for Buddhist studies and philosophy.

Buddhism held a prominent place at Nalanda University, with the institution being a center for the study and practice of Buddhist philosophy. The university had separate sections dedicated to different Buddhist sects, fostering a deep understanding of Buddhist teachings and promoting spiritual growth.

Nalanda University was destroyed by invaders in the 12th century.

In the 12th century, the once-flourishing Nalanda University fell victim to a devastating attack by invaders led by Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turkish general. The invaders set fire to the university, resulting in the destruction of its buildings and the loss of countless precious manuscripts.

Archaeological excavations have revealed valuable artifacts at Nalanda.

Since the discovery of the ruins, several archaeological excavations have taken place at Nalanda University. These excavations have unearthed valuable artifacts, such as statues, inscriptions, pottery, and coins, shedding light on the rich cultural and historical significance of this ancient site.

Nalanda University is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, Nalanda University ruins were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in This prestigious recognition highlights the significance of Nalanda as a center of ancient learning and its enduring legacy in the field of education.

Nalanda University continues to inspire modern educational institutions.

Despite its demise centuries ago, the legacy of Nalanda University lives on. The principles of knowledge, intellectual exploration, and cross-cultural interactions that Nalanda embodied continue to inspire modern educational institutions, fostering a spirit of curiosity, learning, and global dialogue.


Exploring the ruins of Nalanda University is like stepping back in time and uncovering the mystique of an ancient educational institution. The site holds immense historical and archaeological significance, offering a glimpse into the rich intellectual and cultural heritage of ancient India. From its establishment in the 5th century AD to its eventual decline, Nalanda University has left behind a legacy that continues to captivate historians, scholars, and enthusiasts.

The enigmatic facts surrounding the Nalanda University ruins only add to their allure. From the sheer size and scale of the complex to the presence of monastic cells and a vast library, every aspect of the site elicits curiosity and wonder. The intricately carved stupas and the remnants of ancient education systems make it a must-visit for anyone interested in delving into the history of Indian academia.

Visiting Nalanda University ruins is not just a journey through time, but also an opportunity to appreciate the architectural brilliance and intellectual excellence of ancient India. The site stands as a testament to the pursuit of knowledge and the enduring spirit of human curiosity.


1. What is the significance of Nalanda University ruins?

The Nalanda University ruins hold immense historical and archaeological significance as they offer insights into the ancient education system in India and the intellectual legacy of the region.

2. When was Nalanda University established?

Nalanda University was established in the 5th century AD, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.

3. How big is the Nalanda University complex?

The Nalanda University complex covers an area of approximately 14 hectares and consists of numerous buildings, including monastic cells, classrooms, and a massive library.

4. Are there any preserved artifacts at the Nalanda University ruins?

While most of the artifacts from the original university have been lost or destroyed, some artifacts like statues and sculptures can still be found at the Nalanda Archaeological Museum nearby.

5. Can visitors explore the Nalanda University ruins?

Yes, visitors can explore the Nalanda University ruins and witness the remnants of its grand architecture and ancient education systems.

6. Is there an entry fee to visit the Nalanda University ruins?

Yes, there is an entry fee to visit the Nalanda University ruins. The fee may vary for Indian and foreign tourists.