Today Nalanda is an UNESCO world heritage site.Nalanda University, which was set up at Rajgir in Bihar in 413 AD during the Gupta dynasty, had emerged as a world seat of learning before it was destroyed sometime in the 11th century.According to historical studies, University of Nalanda was established during the era of the Kumaragupta. He was a famous Gupta emperor. Prajnavarman and Xuanzang, both claimed him as the laying founder of the university, which is also proved by the seal discovered at the site of ruins of the Nalanda University.Today Nalanda is an UNESCO world heritage site.It is believed that the whole University campus is spread across over 15,000,000 sq meters and only 10% of which has been excavated while the rest of the ruins still lie under the ground.At that time it was the only international university in the world. There were around 10000 students and 2700 faculties in the university who came from all over the world like Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Iran, Persia, Greece, Mongolia and many more.Nalanda was first of its kind which was a boarding university.
During the reign of Skandagupta, Huns were the first one who tried to destruct the university under Mihirakula. But the library was restored and improved with bigger building and better faculties by Skanda’s successors. The second invasion was done by the Gaudas which was again restored by Harshavardhana; the Buddhist king. Khilji was an illiterate person who was hired by some Turkish rulers due to his military skills. But the army led by Turkish leader Bakhtiyar khilji did the most destructive attack in 1193 who tried to destroy the roots of knowledge, Buddhism and Ayurveda, from the country.
The curricula of the university offered the study Philosophy, Religion, Logic, Astronomy, Mathematics, Medicine,theology, grammar,History,Linguuistic,Literature etc.
In each classroom, there used to be 100s of students and they were not allowed to go outside until the lecture was over.To add to their facility, even a well was there in most of the classroom to quench the thirst of the students if they were thirsty and teachers used to sit on the dash and students on the ground.
At that point of time, the Library was a very prestigious and renowned repository of the Buddhist knowledge throughout the world. The library of the Nalanda University was called Dharma Gunj which meant the “Mountain of Truth”. The library constituted of three main buildings, which stood up to nine stories. It was composed of hundreds and thousands of volumes of books. This is quite evident from the fact that it took about 3-6 months for it to burn down completely, at the time when it was set aflame by the Muslim invaders. The three library buildings were called upon by their respective names that included Ratnasagara-The Sea of Jewels, Ratnarañjaka-Delighter of Jewels and Ratnodadhi-The Ocean of Jewels. The library constituted of three main buildings, which stood up to nine stories.It was composed of millions of manuscripts. This is quite evident from the fact that the library kept burning for more than 5 months when it was set aflame by the Muslim invaders.
Till today, a number of ruined structures survive at the ruins of the university. The excavated ruins are known to extend over an area of about 150,000 square foot meters. According to the report, it is believed that 90% of the remains at Nalanda University is still unexcavated.
Nalanda University certainly was one of the only Universities that was closed for around 800 years after is destruction. In recent times the University was reopened after efforts made by A.P.J Abdul kalam during his visit.
Presently, Nalanda University is also considered as one of the self-sustained campus oriented universities of the country.