#GS-01 Indian Heritage
- Nalanda was one of the most publicly known and respected Mahaviharas of ancient India.
- It has been categorised as one of the early universities of India along with other institutions like ‘Vikramashila’ and ‘Taxila’.
- Nalanda Mahavihara was built by Kumargupta I of the Gupta dynasty in 5th century CE.
- The development of the property gives credence to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the establishment of monastic and educational traditions.
- The ruins contain stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
- Students and scholars from regions like China, Central Asia, Korea and Tibet studied in this great vihara.
- They were taught Mahayana philosophy, Hinayana philosophy, Sanskrit grammar, Vedas and Samkhya among others.
- Famous pilgrim monks like Hiuen Tsang and I-tsing from China visited the university in the 7th century CE.
- The official monastic seals found in the ruins bear the wheel-and-deer insignia and the legend Shri-Nalanda-maha-vihariyarya-bhiksu-sanghasya.
- The ruins of Nalanda university got included in the Tentative List of World Heritage on January 9, 2009.
- It got declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site on 2016.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI):
- ASI was founded in 1861 by a British Army engineer, Alexander Cunningham who was ultimately appointed as first Director–General of ASI.
- It currently exists as an attached office under the Department of Culture under Ministry of Culture.
- ASI is India’s premier organization responsible for the archaeological research, scientific analysis, excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and preservation of protected monuments.
- It helps in regulating all archaeological activities in the country under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
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