Any traveller visiting Bihar should definitely make a trip to Nalanda. This humble little village packs in some of the richest chunk of history and is deeply steeped in priceless culture and tradition. While Nalanda emerges as a paradise for history buffs, it also satiates the pious inclinations of visitors with its numerous holy places. Besides, there is also a lot to look forward to by way of nearby destinations. For instance, Nalanda is located very near to the highly popular tourist destinations of Bodh Gaya and Patna. This article attempts to serve as a short Nalanda travel guide with information on the destination’s top attractions and also sheds some light on Bodh Gaya and Patna.
Tour of Nalanda University
The basic motive of most people’s travel to Nalanda is to visit the ruins of the Nalanda University. Dating back to the 5th or 6th century, this ancient seat of learning has gained worldwide acclaim. After all, it was established by the legendary Gupta dynasty. To be precise, Nalanda largely flourished from the time of akrditya’s reign. It is not clear whether akrditya was Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II. Other than the patronage, Nalanda also received the patronage of Harsha and other Buddhist emperors as well as the emperors from the Pala Empire. The place served as a Buddhist learning institution up to around 1197 CE. Even the present day ruins span an area of over 14 hectares and the place attracted students from faraway lands such as Greece, Persia, China and Tibet. It would be no exaggeration to say that Nalanda University is the mainstay of Nalanda travel tourism.
Visit to the Great Stupa
Nalanda travel gives you the chance to behold the much acclaimed Stupa here. This structure is spectacular indeed and has been built across seven different stages. In fact, the seven different stages of construction are clearly visible in a row protecting the original stupa. This original stupa seems to be buried deep within the structure. Amazing sculptures, votive stupas and an intricate network of stairs and terraces speak volumes of the grandeur of Nalanda in the yesteryears. For exhilarating views of the Nalanda University, take the stairs to the top. Once you have visited this astounding place, you will thank yourself for framing a travel planner to Nalanda.
Journey to Sun Temple
In the course of your Nalanda tour, you can easily check out the Surya temple. It is located right near the University and has idols of numerous gods, goddesses and Buddhist deities. Although, the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, the most captivating deity is that of Goddess Parvati. This idol is about five feet tall. The temple is at its liveliest when Sun Worship or Chhath Puja held during April/May (Vaishakha) and during October/November (Kartika). Naturally, you will be able to make the most of your visit to the Surya Mandir if you plan your tour of Nalanda during the Chhath Puja.
Tourist Places around Nalanda
Bodh Gaya and Patna are highly popular tourist places around Nalanda. You may easily plan a trip to any of these destinations. Here is a simple travel planner you may like to refer to for these trips.
Trip to Bodh Gaya
The distance from Nalanda to Bodh Gaya is approximately 80 km. It would be better to do this journey by road instead of looking Nalanda to Bodh Gaya trains. A Nalanda to Bodh Gaya taxi will cost you about Rs 1,100. If you want to drive down on your own, click upon the following link for Nalanda to Bodh Gaya driving directions.
Trip to Patna
The Nalanda to Patna distance is about 80 km. If you do travel from Nalanda to Patna, make sure that you visit Patna Museum, Har Mandir Saheb and Kumhrar. The fares for Nalanda to Patna trains start from around Rs 60 and the journey officially takes less than two hours. You may also travel from Nalanda to Patna by car and petrol cost will work out to about Rs 400.