Nalanda Mahavihara inscribed as 33rd World Heritage Site in India

Jul 17, 2016 07:00 IST

Nalanda UniversityThe ruins of ancient Nalanda Mahavihara known as old Nalanda University of Bihar on 15 July 2016 got inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

With this, Nalanda University ruins became the second World Heritage Site in Bihar after Bodhgaya's Mahabodhi temple and 33rd such site in India.

The ruins comprise the archaeological remains of monastic and scholastic institutions dating from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD.

The ruins have large number of remains of stupas, shrines and viharas and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.

Benefit: Listing into UNESCO’s heritage site list will help in conserving and protecting the site in a better way with increased funds and many more way.

Nalanda Mahavihara

This World Heritage Site is located at a distance of about 98 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar. The site stands for the most ancient university of the Indian subcontinent that transmitted knowledge over a period of some 800 years or more. Its historical development shades lights on development of Buddhism into a religion as well as growth of the educational traditions.

Nalanda Mahavihara was founded by Kumargupta I of the Gupta dynasty in 5th century CE. It was patronized by various rulers including King Harshavardhana of Kannauj (7th century CE) and the Pala rulers (8th – 12th century CE) as well as various scholars.

Records say that the Nalanda University was destroyed three times by the invaders but was rebuilt twice. The third destruction was caused by the Muslim army led by the Turkish leader Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193 AD.

About six centuries after Nalanda’s decline, the site was first discovered and reported by Sir Francis Buchanan. The site was systematically excavated and consolidated by Archaeological Survey of India from 1915 to 1937 and again from 1974 to 1982.

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