Nalanda Mahavihara

Nalanda Mahavihara

#GS-01 Indian Heritage

For Prelims

Nalanda Mahavihara

  • 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.

Source “ASI discovers archiac stupas at Nalanda district in Patna

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