History and Revival

Situated besides the Rajgir hills, the rejuvenated Nalanda University calls-out “Learning is being here.” The experience of being in this intellectual landscape is empowering with its seamless co-existence between nature and man, and between living and learning. The region vibrates with the positivity endowed by spiritual divines like Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira who meditated in this region and with the scholarly traditions developed by great masters such as Nagarjuna, Aryabhatta, Dharmakirti who discoursed at the ancient Nalanda. Ancient Magadha was characterized by an intellectual ferment rarely known to humanity. The opportunity to comprehend multiple discourses and embrace knowledge in its entirety is what made Nalanda academics unique and attractive for all seekers.

The first residential university of the world founded at Nalanda by the magnanimity of Emperor Kumaragupta in 427CE and sustained by the conscientiousness of the learned monks and teachers, flourished for over 800 years till the end in 12th century CE. It is believed to possess 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students. Nalanda had attracted scholars to its campus from places as distant as China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and South East Asia. Those scholars have left records about the ambience, architecture, and learning at Nalanda, as well as, about the profound knowledge of Nalanda teachers. The most detailed accounts have come from Chinese scholars and the best known of these is Xuan Zang, who carried back many hundred scriptures which were later translated into Chinese.

In March 2006, while addressing a joint session of Bihar State Legislative Assembly, the former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam proposed the revival of the ancient Nalanda. Concurring ideas came simultaneously seeking the re-establishment of ancient Nalanda: from the Singapore government; the leaders of sixteen member states of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in January 2007 in the Philippines; and in the fourth EA Summit, in October 2009 in Thailand. The Parliament of India passed the Nalanda University Act, 2010 and in September 2014, the first batch of students were enrolled. The State Government of Bihar was quick to allocate 455 acres of land for the University campus at a significant location. Thus, marked the establishment of Nalanda University and the infrastructural constructions were done in the new campus during 2017 to 2023. The celebrated architect Padam-Vibhushan [late] Ar. B.V. Doshi designed the eco-friendly architecture reflecting the Vaastu of the ancient Nalanda, while integrating all modern amenities that match world standards. It is a large carbon footprint-free Net-zero campus, sprawling over acres of greens and 100 acres of water-bodies, truly an abode for learning.

Nalanda is at once futuristic, for the ideals and standards of the ancient seat of learning have proven to be universal in their relevance as the feasible solutions to a shared and sustainable future for all, not just Asia. No wonder, the initiative for the revival of Nalanda University has been unanimously and enthusiastically welcomed the world over.

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