Nalanda TourismOne of the main highlights of Nalanda City is the large number of religious and tourist spots scattered in and around the city. Nalanda is a city of historical significance where one can experience a divine calm while traveling. The land of Nalanda was traveled to a length by both Lord Buddha and Mahavira. Once a seat of learning Nalanda today is one of the fast developing regions of Bihar. Recently Government of India has proposed to restore and revive the ancient site as Nalanda International University. Many international players are also interested in the project and some of them like China, Japan and Singapore have already expressed their willingness to contribute both in terms of men and money. One must surely visit this city to experience the aura of the history that surrounds this place.
A Brief History of Nalanda
The history of Nalanda city dates back to Gupta dynasty when the famous Nalanda University came into being. For long it received there patronage from the liberal rulers and emerged as a famous seat of learning in Bihar and India. After Guptas the mighty emperor Harsha too extended support to the university. He was amongst the last mighty ruler in India during whose rule the city prospered a lot. Palas of Bengal wholeheartedly made contribution in the growth of the city and university. Discriptions of Nalanda University can be found in the records of the Chinese Buddhist Monks and travelers like Fa-hien and Hiung Tsang. The city and the university was brought down by a fanatic Turkish Muslim General Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193, who after ransacking the region set the university on fire to wipe out the traces of Buddism for ever.
Helplines and Important Contact NumbersBihar State Tourism Development Corporation
(A Govt.of Bihar Undertaking)
Bir Chand Patel Path,
Web Site: http://bstdc.bih.nic.in/
Best Time to Visit NalandaIn summer, the temperature in Nalanda may even rise upto 44°C, making it extremely hot and unsuitable for tourism. During monsoon, Nalanda experiences moderate to heavy rainfall that may sometimes disrupt travel. The ideal time to visit Nalanda would be from October to March, during the winters. The climate is cold, pleasant and ideal for sight- seeing. During March, spring settles in and offers sunshine and clear skies adding to the charm of this place.
Places of Interest In and Around NalandaNalanda with numerous sightseeing option has everything for a tourist and visitor traveling to this city.
From ramparts of stupas, monasteries and viharas to memorial halls and sightseeing options it has all to amuse you. Some of the treasures of Nalanda include ancient structures, sculptured towns, beautiful ponds and the remains of a great university spread across 14 hectares. Though Nalanda is said to mainly attract pilgrims research scholars and archeologists, a large number of people also visit this place simply to relax and unwind. Buddhist monasteries and ancient monuments adorn this city. Be it the historic significance of the excavated ruins of the Nalanda University or the divinity of the monasteries, the very fact that thousands of tourists throng this place proves its religious and cultural exquisiteness. A visit to Nalanda will remain incomplete without visiting the following mentioned places.
- Ruins of Nalanda University - for its architectural splendour and grandeur
- Nalanda Archaeological Museum – for the envious collection of stone inscriptions, coins, terracotta jars, copper plates, pottery etc
- Nava Nalanda Mahavihara - an institute devoted to study and research in Pali literature and Buddhism
- Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall - built in memory of the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang
- The Great Stupa - for its marvelous architectural design and stupas depicting significant incidents of Lord Buddha’s life
- Surajpur Baragaon - a paradise for pilgrims, with a pretty lake adjoining the temple dedicated to Sun God
- Rajgir – for its scenic beauty and a number of amazing tourist and religious attractions.
- Bihar Sharif – for its Muslim tombs, pillars, mosques and a number of other religious places of significance
- Bodh Gaya – for the famous Maha Bodhi temple and other monasteries
- Pawapuri – for the famous Water Temple, a number of other shrines and other religious places of significance, especially for the Jains, as it is believed to be the place where Mahavira breathed his last
- Silao - for the popular local sweet ‘Khaja’.
- Kundalpur –the birthplace of Mahavira, popular for its large number of temples.
How to Reach Nalanda ? Transportation in Nalanda is never a problem as various means are available that can take you to this historical city. Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport at Patna is the nearest airport, at a distance of about 90 km from Nalanda. Regular flights are available to all major cities of the country. Private buses, state transport and taxi facilities can also be availed. Nalanda Raiway Station is well-connected to major Indian cities. Rajgir, about 12 km away is the next nearest railway station. Gaya, 65 km away is the major railway point, connecting major eastern centres of India. Nalanda is situated on NH-82 which connects it to Gaya, Patna and other prominent cities of Bihar.
Where to Stay in Nalanda ? There are a number of moderately priced hotels in Nalanda, many of which are laced with modern facilities. Tourists visiting Nalanda generally opt to stay at Rajgir. They can stay at any of the three Tourists Bungalows of Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation namely Gautam Vihar, Tathagat Vihar and Ajatshatru Vihar. Apart from these bunglows there are numerous hotels that makes your stay more comfortable.
Address: Ramchandrapur, Biharsharif, Bihar, Main Road, Biharsharif, Nalanda - 803101
Manish Rest House
Address: Shakuntala Market, Near Biscomoun, Ramchandrapur, Biharsharif, Nalanda - 803101
Indo Hokke Hotel
Address: Near Viraytan, Rajgir, Virayatan Rd, Bihar 803116
Phone:06112 255 245
Where to Shop in Nalanda ?Nalanda, considered to be a heaven for the tourists, is famous for its low cost handicrafts. Tourists can buy rural handicrafts like Madhubani paintings, stone pottery, bamboo, leather goods and applique work, souvenirs, statues, trinkets, glass bowls, sculptures etc from various places in Nalanda. You will never feel bored while shopping in Nalanda. Articles like jewellery made of beads or sea-shells, key-chains, hand-made pens, pottery, trinkets, art pieces etc. are things to buy from Nalanda. Sohsarai in Bihar Sharif, called as ‘Mini Surat’, is famous for dress materials, saris and other dress materials imported from Surat. Tourists visiting Nalanda often prefer to go to Rajgir for shopping. Pulpar, Garhpur, Sabji Bazar, Kandakpar are the famous town markets in Rajgir. There are many shops in Kund area and Aerial Ropeway, selling glass bowls and sculptures.
Thus being a rare amalgamation of ancient history, culture and tradition of India, Nalanda has so much to offer to the tourists. One must visit this place at least once in the life-time to experience unadulterated joy and pure bliss.
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