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Heritage

Revisiting Nalanda

Recent scholarship has brought about a shift in the way Nalanda, the world’s most ancient university, is seen. It appears to have had larger geo-cultural connections than were previously realised, and the monastery complex may have been twice the size of the present excavated site.

 

Site 3 or Temple 3, popularly known as the Great Stupa or Sariputra’s Stupa, is the most iconic of all the monuments at the Nalanda site in Bihar.
Site 3 or Temple 3, popularly known as the Great Stupa or Sariputra’s Stupa, is the most iconic of all the monuments at the Nalanda site in Bihar.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The plinth of Temple 2, which was once a huge, imposing structure.
The plinth of Temple 2, which was once a huge, imposing structure.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Carved stone panels of deities and figures, belonging to the late 7th century, that once adorned the plinth of Temple 2.
Carved stone panels of deities and figures, belonging to the late 7th century, that once adorned the plinth of Temple 2.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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One of the minor shrines in the Temple 3 complex.
One of the minor shrines in the Temple 3 complex.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 1, the largest of the monastic dwellings at the site, went through at least nine phases of construction.
Monastery 1, the largest of the monastic dwellings at the site, went through at least nine phases of construction.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The remains of Monasteries 1A and 1B in the background, which are connected to the Temple 3 complex (in the foreground).
The remains of Monasteries 1A and 1B in the background, which are connected to the Temple 3 complex (in the foreground).Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 6. These ruins give one a rough idea of the arrangement of monk cells around a central courtyard.
Monastery 6. These ruins give one a rough idea of the arrangement of monk cells around a central courtyard.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 8.
Monastery 8.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 9.
Monastery 9.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 10.
Monastery 10.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Monastery 11.
Monastery 11.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The gallery leading to the excavated-enclosed site.
The gallery leading to the excavated-enclosed site.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Miniature shrines and votive stupas in the Temple 12 complex.
Miniature shrines and votive stupas in the Temple 12 complex.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The remains of the stucco images that once adorned the base of the structures in the Temple 3 complex.
The remains of the stucco images that once adorned the base of the structures in the Temple 3 complex.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The Nalanda Museum, which was established in 1917.
The Nalanda Museum, which was established in 1917.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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A pushkarni, one of the waterbodies lying outside the excavated-enclosed site.
A pushkarni, one of the waterbodies lying outside the excavated-enclosed site.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The famous black Buddha, now enshrined at a temple in Bargaon, is popularly known as the Teliya Baba.
The famous black Buddha, now enshrined at a temple in Bargaon, is popularly known as the Teliya Baba.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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Temple 12. It comes across as the largest and most complex of the temples in the enclosed area.
Temple 12. It comes across as the largest and most complex of the temples in the enclosed area.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The Xuanxang Memorial Hall, which also houses a museum.
The Xuanxang Memorial Hall, which also houses a museum.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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The new art and craft centre village that lies close to the Xuanzang Memorial Hall.
The new art and craft centre village that lies close to the Xuanzang Memorial Hall.Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha
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