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City Guide - Nalanda
Introduction: Nalanda is an old city built during the 5th century AD. It is situated at a distance of 90 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar and 62 km away from Bodhgaya. Despite being possessing the honor of having the oldest ancient University, it is also abound with the historical importance of ancient India. This land of Nalanda was a learning center of Buddhism during the fifth to the twelfth century AD. Huen Tsang the Chinese scholar and traveler gave an account of Nalanda being the perfect environment for education. Nalanda bears the record of being the first international university with strength of 2000 teachers and 10000 learners.

History: The university of Nalanda was founded in the 6th century AD since the time of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira. Nalanda was an ancient famous university place of historical importance. It is known to be the first residential university of monks’ establishment. It was a territory of Rajgir in ancient times. The explanation of the name of Nalanda goes as Nalam meaning “Lotus” and Da meaning “to impart”. In contraction it literally means imparting knowledge. Nalanda was also a frequent visiting place for both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira. A source of ancient record states that the philosophers, alchemist, and nagarjuna of 2nd century taught and studied in the temple built by King Ashoka. 

Places of interest: There are many historical places in Nalanda for visitors to ponder. Some of the important places worth visiting are the ruins of Nalanda University, Huen Tsang Memorial Hall, Surya Mandir, Museum and Nav Nalanda Vihar. The Nalanda University is the prime attraction of the visitors and scholars from all over the globe. The university ruin is spread over 14 hectares of land. One can find some detailed accounts of Huen Tsang in the memorial hall built for him. Surya Mandir is a temple enshrined by the sun god. The statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities are distinct features of this temple. The big statue of Parvati standing five feet tall proves to be the main attraction of the visitors.

Travel information: The weather of Nalanda is of extreme type i.e. severe winter and scorching summer. Considering the climate, the best season for visit to this place is from October to March. People of Nalanda speak Hindi and English. All amenities of modern mobility are available for traveling. Flight operation is available from Patna the capital city at 89 km from Nalanda. Major cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Katmandu, Ranchi and Lucknow are accessible by aircraft transportation. The nearest rail service can be attained from the Rajgir Railway Station at 12 km distance. This station can connect visitors to and from all places of India especially from cities of Patna, Delhi, Varanasi and Calcutta etc.

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