An ancient center of learning, Nalanda is situated in the eastern state of Bihar
. A part of the Buddhist circuit, it is about 75 km from
and 80 km from Bodhgaya. Nalanda was visited by
frequently during his lifetime.
, a Chinese scholar, lived and studied here during the 7th century. The ruins of the Nalanda University, a prime center of Buddhist learning in ancient India, are spread over an area of 14 hectares. The ruins of the university which attracted scholars from all over the world are a major attraction. The Nandangarh stupa is believed to house the ashes of the Buddha.
Other tourist spots are the Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall, Nav Nalanda Vihar, Surya Mandir and a museum established in 1971 which has a good collection of ancient manuscripts and Buddhist statues. About 15 km from Nalanda is
Rajgir, a scenic place possessing a complex of temples and monasteries. Recent excavations have unearthed elaborate structures including impressive temples and monasteries built by King Ashoka and
Harshavardhana, the Sariputra Stupa built by Ashoka to honor the Buddha's first disciple, Ananda, and scattered prayer halls.
The area is inhabited by around 30,000 people among whom
Hindi and English are the major languages. The region experiences hot temperatures throughout the year (average between 26°C and 30°C). The average rainfall during monsoon is 120 cm. The ideal time to visit is from October to March.
Nalanda has a good network of roads connecting to other parts of the state. Patna Airport, 90 km away, is the nearest airport. Train services are also available to Nalanda.