This time my taxi ride was quite tedious and the journey long because I was going to the Buddhist Nalanda University and Monastery, Patna which I was told was about 80-90 kilometers away from Patna. I was a little tired and took a nap in the moving taxi. The taxi driver woke me up when we reached the ruins of Nalanda.
This was Nalanda, an ancient religious center of learning, which has been here since the 5th century AD. Of course, the center has been subjected to plundering by the Turk ruler, Bakhtiyar Khilji and fell in ruins once it declined from its peak periods when it received patronage from various Hindu Gupta rulers and Buddhist emperors. I saw in front of me a complex made of red bricks. I could not imagine the ruins in front of me as the much celebrated hub of learning in yester years where scholars came from all parts of the world but I do not deny realizing the importance of this center. The monasteries here had monks from faraway places like Greece, China, Persia and Tibet. I heard a guide say to some other tourists that the construction here had hundreds of rooms as classrooms.
It is said that the Buddhist Nalanda University and Monastery, Patna had a huge library too, which was set on fire by the Turkish Muslim ruler and it burned for several months. It is a shame that the place was burned down, and it made me think that if it had not taken place what a sea of knowledge and historical evidence we might have been left with to join the pieces of history together. Alas, we just have the ruins of the world famous institution which has now been designated as Nalanda International University for its revival and restoration by countries such as Singapore, Japan, and China, where Buddhism had left its mark. I leave with a feel of the history here. With nothing more to do for the evening I retired to the home like environs of my hotel to rest and dine. The next day, I would conclude my sightseeing in Patna with my first stop at Indira Gandhi Planetarium Patna.