Discover Nalanda, Bihar

Nalanda, Bihar


Nalanda is one of the most beautiful religious centers in India which is also a learning and a cultural site. With its establishment around the 5th century, it was the destination of Lord Mahavir and Gautam Buddha for over many years. Being one of the richest in regards to tradition and more, with worldwide recognition, this is the favorite spot for many folks who want to spy monasteries and the aged monolith. This is an irresistible destination for the historians. The historic objects of the old higher level institution is the chief attraction in all parts of the main town. The ravishing temples add more beauty, a representative of the glorious history of the area and the ruined university . It carries a remarkable culture as well as history, a spot that you should never miss.



Story of Nalanda


Nalanda is known to have a colorful history from back to 6th century, the period of Lord Mahavir and Gautam Buddha. There is a close relationship between the dozens of myths and the fulfillment of name Nalanda. One of the most recognized is the Nalam meaning lotus and da signifier giver. Additionally, the place is renowned because of its origin of the Sariputra, a world-shaking devotee of the Gautam Buddha. Lord Buddha has repeatedly visited this critical Buddhism site. Up to date, there are fresh memories of Hiuen Tsang, a traveler from China who happened to be part of the university for 12 years.


King Ashoka constructed numerous temples in the 3rd century BC, which were closely situated to the site. The acclaimed alchemist Nagarjuna taught and learned here during the 2nd century BC. It then came under reign of the Guptas in 5th century. The municipality was under the control of empire of Mauryan king Harshavardhana from 606 to 647 AD.


Attraction sites not to miss

nalanda temple

Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall


The establishment of this tourist attraction site came after a tourist from China stayed at Nalanda college, the world’s first university. Hiuen Sang Memorial Hall is the most prominent attractive spot that you will get to enjoy and have breathtaking memories.


Nav Nalanda, the Mahavihara


This is preeminent educational institution of the region which offers education mainly on Buddhism and Pali. With its establishment in 1951 by the Bihar government, and Nav Nalanda is the best site for the students who want to have a broader knowledge of Buddhism. You get every kind of support you need, and the environment is friendly.


Bihar Sharif


While the name is originally derived from the term for “monastery” this city actually predates the arrival of Buddhism.  This is an area that changed hands in terms of ruling dynasties and has a history of conflict. The city is rich in Jainist and Buddhist relics still and draws tourists from all walks of life. Be sure to take in the many natural attractions as well such as the mountains, trails and many rivers in the region.




Rajgir is the primary site of the Gautam Buddha in the rainy season. Seven mountains surround this site, which adds its beauty. Rajgi is the home of dance festivals which reveals explicit performances of pro performers. Its tranquil locations and jungle-like landscape make it an exemplary place for both pilgrims and tourists. It has a calm surrounding which colors the tourists’ experience and gives them a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature.


How to get there


By Air


To those wishing to land at the  hallowed city by air, Loknayak Jayaprakash Airport is the most convenient. It links up to the major cities of India like New Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur Mumbai, Bangalore, and many others by the daily flights. Traveling through air saves time since its faster than the other means.


By Train


You can get to Nalanda through the nearby railhead at Rajgir which is 12 kilometers away. You can decide to board a taxi from the railway station and head to your desired terminus.


By Road


Traveling by the road gives you an opportunity to enjoy more because you get to see a lot on the way. Although it might be slower than traveling by air; some people prefer it especially those that are not in a hurry.

Below are the various roads that lead to the holy site:

Patna 90km

Rajgir 12 km

Pawapuri 26km

Bodh Gaya 50km

Other facts:

Favorite time to visit: From October to March

Language: Hindi and Magadhi

Do you think a pilgrimage to this sacred area is in your future?  The NBG in CT is planning a trip in late 2018!  Contact us to learn more!



Nalanda in the West

Nalanda Traditions Available to Western Students

Nalanda traditions are now being taught to Western students. However, this field of Buddhist study is not without its challenges. Today, we’re going to share information about innovations in the traditional methods which are meant to offer Western students education that they are able to process effectively. Reflecting on the differences between traditional Asian cultures and the West is important and meaningful.


A New Master’s Program is Available


An FPMT Master’s Program known as Dharma Studies in the West is now being taught.


Since Buddha’s time, twenty-five hundred years ago, the traditional teachings of Buddhism have been shared with students via a lineage which is uninterrupted. This teaching reached Tibet and it was popular there for twelve hundred years. Lately, as Buddhism became more interesting to people in the West, more and more Western students want to gain deeper understanding of this faith and its traditions from the distant past.


The new master’s program is one of the most ambitious examples of learning programs which are designed to help Western students understand the principles of Buddhism. This program is centered on teaching ordained students from the West and lay students. It shows them the value of the great texts, as well as how to practice traditions which are Tibetan Buddhist. The program requires 6 to 7 years of study, as well as an additional “retreat” year for meditation.


The curriculum for this master’s program is a lot like the Geshe programs which are delivered within the bigger Gelug Tibetan monasteries. However, the new program has a shorter time frame. To contrast, a Geshe program usually takes a decade and a half (or even two decades) to complete! As you can see, a lot of condensing of material needed to be done in order to teach students in just six to seven years. However, most students who take the new master’s program have a lot of knowledge already.


The biggest issue with creating this study program was how to transmit the traditional teachings of Buddhism, while adding Western context. Studies needed to be relevant to Western culture.


What Is Nalanda Tradition?


This Buddhist tradition is about balancing reasoning and faith. It’s focused on emphasizing the direct link between the greatest scholars of an ancient Indian Buddhist university (Nalanda University) with the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This ancient school was a place where so many great minds of Buddhism learned and practiced. The tradition is about devotion and faith, as well as intensive critical inquiry.


Changes to traditional teaching methods for Nalanda Tradition were needed in order to create the Dharma Studies in the West master’s program.


With traditional teaching, such as teaching to Tibetans, the emphasis is on developing academic understanding which leads to spiritual development. Mostly, monks study in this manner, which involves years of debate, study and memorizing.


The new Dharma Studies in the West program features instruction about a trio of the five great texts, in addition to tantra “grounds and paths” and the Tantra, Guhyasamaja. As well, study of mind and awareness. reviews of key topics and study of philosophical tenets are in the curriculum. Students take examinations regularly and they get tested on all subjects at the close of the program. If they pass, they get completion certificates. Then, they embark on one-year phases of retreat.


This program isn’t about creating Western geshes. It’s about giving students comprehensive educations.


Western Students – A Different Approach


Western students have been raised in a different culture. They tend to reject dogmatic thinking and religious authorities which have absolutist mindsets. Therefore, the new program is innovative, as it takes Western culture into account and offers learning that is based on the Western tendency to question everything.


Some people may view the new learning program as an erosion and dilution of Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Others  – including our Nalanda Buddhist Group in CT – realize that the new degree program is evolution at its finest.