Religious Places In and Around NalandaNalanda being an important tourist destination attracts people from far and wide. Though Nalanda is renowned mainly for its historical significance and for being the most ancient seat of learning, it is also home to a number of holy shrines belonging to the major religions of the world. Apart from the Hindu temples there are a number of places of worship associated with Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.
Religious Places in and around Nalanda
KundalpurSituated about 3 kms to the west of Nalanda is Kundalpur, the famous Jain pilgrimage site. This sacred region is considered to be the birthplace of lord Mahavira’s first disciple Gautamswamiji. The place is believed to be visited by Lord Mahavira many a times. Kundalpur Teerth Temple, maintained by Shri Jain Shwetambar Bhandar is considered to be a very holy place for Jains. The main shrine of this temple is a black colour Charan Paduka of Gautamswamiji.
Beautifully constructed temple with a large open space attracts every eyes. You can find almost 72 idols of Jinas in a separate two storied building. Another main attraction of the temple is Bhagwan Mahaveer’s Padmasana idol which is about 4½ feet in height. The temple is one of the revered place and is visited by thousands of Jain devotees throughout the year.
How to reach Kundalpur from Nalanda ?Kundalpur is located within a kilometre from the Nalanda University Ruins and about 4 kilometres from the Nalanda Railway Station. From Nalanda Circle, one can take a tonga or hire a rickshaw to reach Kundalpur. Private taxi or state run BSTDC bus facilities can also be availed at nominal rates.
PawapuriAn exquisite marble temple in the middle of the lotus pond also called the Jalamandir is visited by tourists mainly belonging to India’s ancient religion Jainism. This place is believed to be the place where lord Mahavira attained Nirvana. It was here that he was cremated and a pond was constructed. This place Pawapuri meaning the sinless town is considered to be a sacred pilgrim centre for Jains.
Samosharan another famous Jain temple where Lord Mahavira delivered his last sermon is located in this part of Bihar . During the months of November to January, one can see lots of migratory birds and lotuses in the pond, leading to a joyous and colorful environment. It is an ideal place for meditation as the atmosphere here is spiritual and peaceful.
How to reach Pawapuri from Nalanda ?Pawapuri is located at about 20 kilometres from Nalanda. It may take about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach there by road, depending upon the traffic conditions. Private buses and car facilities are available connecting Nalanda to Pawapuri. Trains are available between Nalanda and Pawapuri. It would take only about ten minutes to reach Pawapuri by rail route.
Sun TempleLocated near to the Nalanda University premises, the magnificent Sun temple of Surajpur Baragaon is dedicated to the Sun God. It is a temple that is several centuries old. In addition to the idols of many gods and goddesses, Buddhist deities are also seen inside the temple premises. Chhath puja or Sun worship is held twice a year in "Vaishakha" (April-May) and in "Kartika" (October - November) in Surya Temple. People take a holy dip in the river, give their offerings to the sun god. Thousands of tourists from far and wide gather during this puja and the whole place is filled with a spiritual ambiance.
How to reach Sun Temple from Nalanda ?It is located next to the university ruins, about 3 kilometres from the Nalanda Circle. One can take a rickshaw or a tonga to the temple premises. Luxury cars and coaches by private travel agencies can also be availed.
How to reach Viswashanthi Stupa from Nalaanda ?
Rajgir, about 15 km from Nalanda takes about 20 minutes by road. There are buses, every half an hour, the cost being Rs.8 per ticket. The ViswashanthiStupa is located at about 5 kilometres from the bus stop. One can hire rickshaws, tongas or vehicles by private agencies to reach the Rajgir Aerial Ropeway.The Stupa can be reached by a chairlift, a fifteen-minute round trip offering panoramic views.
Bihar SharifBihar Sharif is a Muslim pilgrimage centre visited by thousands of tourists from far and wide. There are many tombs of great Sufi saints and many mosques around Bihar Sharif, the headquarters of Nalanda district. In Bihar Sharif lies Tomb of Malik Ibrahim Vaya on the Bari Pahari. The site is surrounded by the wreckage of Jail of Jarasandha. The main crowd pulling hotspot in the town of Bihar Sharif is the tomb dedicated to Saint Mallik Ibrahim Bayu .This tomb is a brick structure that was built way back in the 14th century.
Many smaller tombs surround the major tomb dedicated to the Sufi saint. People gather in large numbers to witness the annual Urs festival and pay tributes the great saint. There are many other mosques and tombs like the Choti Dargah, the tomb of Makhdum ul Mulk etc that are popular among the tourists.
How to reach Biharsharif from Nalanda ?It is about 10 km from Nalanda Circle. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach there. Regular bus facilities are available, connecting Biharsharif to Nalanda. Rental car services and shared auto facilities can also be availed.
In addition to these there are a number of Buddhist, Hindu, Japanese temples that are visited by the tourists throughout the year. These are places where religion meets spirituality. A visit to these places fills is bound to fill you with a divine sense of inner peace and tranquility that is indescribable and can only be experienced. After visiting these places, it is inevitable that you will be backing home with an enlightenment you were searching for all your life.