Nalanda University was big time. Right outside Rajgir, or Vulture’s Peak in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar, in its prime it had over 10,000 students, 2,000 staff, and denied 80% of its applicants. It would be hard to overstate how big time it was, and not just in Buddhist history. Dating back to the fifth century, it was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the world. Scholars came from all over the world to study philosophy, medicine, astronomy, and other subjects. Today it lies in ruins.
There are plans, however, to revive the ruins and return Nalanda to its former glory as an active center of learning. Well, actually, the plan is to build a new Nalanda—while retaining the spirit of the original—next to the physical ruins.
Andrew Buncombe, reporting for the Independent, writes: