Amazing Facts About Great Ancient Indian Universities

India boasts a history of great scholars and wonderful education system ever since the ancient period. The great universities that were built in that time has been a proof for the excellent education system that existed. Many of you may be just aware of either Takshashila or Nalanada universities as the great universities that existed in India during the ancient time. But India had many more such great universities that served the education purpose in those days.

Here is the list of great universities that existed during the ancient time.

  1. Nalanda University

Nalanda University was built in Gupta Dynasty by Shakraditya during the 5th century. It is in the present Bihar state. This prestigious university was very well known for the huge library and was the first university to provide residential quarters for both students and teachers of that university. There were more than 300 rooms in the university. It has excellent library with many books and also had large public lecture halls. There were students from Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Tibet, Persia and Turkey.

Dharmaganja was the name given to large library complex which had many ancient manuscripts on various subjects like grammer, logic, literature, astrology and many more. And this huge library had three buildings namely Ratnasagara, the Ratnadadhi and the Ratnaranjaka. Ratnadhadhi complex had all the manuscripts and it was nine storied building containing many ancient manuscripts such as Prajnaparamita Sutra and Samajguhya. This great University exited till 15th century i.e. for 600 years. If not invaded and destructed by the enemies then Nalanda would have been the world’s greatest and oldest functioning universities.

Cause of Destruction

Nalanda was ransacked and destroyed by an army under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193.Bakhtiyar khilji Destroyed the university thinking that it as Fort of the empire. The great library of Nalanda University was so vast that it is reported to have burned for three months after the invaders set fire to it, ransacked and destroyed the monasteries, and drove the monks from the site.

nalandha university

  1. Takshashila University

Takshashila University also known as Taxila University is located in present day Pakistan. This great University has housed about 10,500 students over a period of 2700 years. This University had courses specializing in 64 different fields. So students from all over the world would come here to study subjects like agriculture, surgery, politics, Ayurveda, commerce, astrology, music, dance and many more. Many famous people like Chanakya, Panini, Vishnu sharma, Jivika, Charaka etc have graduated from Takshashila University. This university is the world’s oldest University.

Cause of Destruction

It was said that Taxila was destroyed in 499 AD by the Hunas. Hunas were a nomadic tribe of Central Asia. And after Hunas left Takshashila, the university so remained after their destruction was even more destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 12th century.

thakshila university

  1. Somapura University

Somapura Mahavihara University was established during late 8th century in Bengal by Dharmapala of Pala dynasty. This university flourished till 12th century for about 400 years. It was a very big university spread over 27 acres of land. Out of his 27 acre land the main building complex itself was of 21 acres. It was main learning centre for Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The terracotta paintings on University walls depicts the influence of these three traditions.

Cause of Destruction

Lack of maintenance and local politics was the main reason for decline of this University. The damages caused to the terracotta paintings on the outer wall of the university evidently shows the destruction caused to it.

Somapura University

  1. Vikramashila University

Vikramashila University was established in late 8th Century by Dharmapala of Pala dynasty. It flourished till 12th century for about 400 years. It is situated in present day Bihar. This University consisted of over 100 teachers and 1000 students with specialised coaching in Tantra. Atisa Dipankara, founder of Sharma Tradition of Tibetian Buddhism was one of the most popular graduates of this University.

Cause of Destruction

The Vikramashila University was destroyed in a war that took place between Muslim invaders and Sena Dynasty in 12th Century.

Vikramashila University

  1. Pushpagiri University

Pushpagiri University was established in 3rd Century during the Kalinga kingdom. And it flourished till 11th century i.e. for about 800 years. This University is situated in modern day Odisha and was spread across Kolkata and Rajasthan districts. It was one of the very famous and prominent university for higher education. It was said that Pushpagiri University was spread across three adjoining hills namely Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri. A Chinese traveller named Huien Tsang has praised about this university in his book. Archaeologists have recently discovered images of Emperor Ashoka in the found remains. It has been suggested that Emperor Ashoka of Kalinga kingdom constructed this great Pushpagiri University.

Cause of Destruction

The great Pushpagiri University was destroyed during the 11th century because of the war that took place in the Kalinga kingdom.

Pushpagiri University

  1. Valabhi University

Valabhi University was established in 6th century and flourished for 600 years till 12th century. It was built in Saurashtra of modern day Gujarat. This University was very famous for the quality education it gave to its students. And all the graduates from this esteemed university were holding higher executive posts. A Chinese travellers named Itsing and Huien Tsang who visited Valabhi University during the 7th century describes this university as a great centre for learning.

Cause of Destruction

In a war the king of Valliabhipura was defeated due to all ill politics and in that war all the buildings, monuments, towns etc. were destroyed. And after the war The Barbarian captured that region.

valbhi university

  1. Odantapuri University

Odantapuri University was established in 8th century by Dharmapala of Pala dynasty. This university was constructed in Magadha the present day Bihar. It flourished till 12th century for about 400 years. According to Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students in this University. Acharya Sri Ganga who was one of the famous persons graduated from this university and he also became a professor of Vikramashila University.

Cause of Destruction

Odantapuri University was destroyed by a Muslim invader named Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1193.

As you can see, many of the universities mentioned above came to an end around 12th century. The universities like Nalanda, Vikramashila etc were destroyed around this period during the Muslim invasion of India by the fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji from Turkey in 1193 CE.

Odantapuri University

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  1. latha March 12, 2017
  2. Jayaraj MS April 26, 2018

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