Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar

The Nalanda Mahavihara site is in the State of Bihar, in north-eastern India. It comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Site archéologique Nalanda Mahavihara à Nalanda, Bihar

Le site de Nalanda Mahavihara est situé dans l’état du Bihar, au nord-est de l’Inde. Il s'agit des vestiges archéologiques d’une institution monastique et scolastique en activité du IIIe siècle av. J.-C. au XIIIe siècle de notre ère. Il comprend des stupas, des sanctuaires, des viharas (bâtiments résidentiels et éducatifs) et d’importantes œuvres d’art en stuc, en pierre et en métal. Nalanda se distingue comme la plus ancienne université du sous-continent indien, une institution qui a transmis le savoir de façon organisée sur une période ininterrompue de 800 ans. Le développement historique du site témoigne de l’évolution du bouddhisme en une religion, et de l’épanouissement des traditions monastiques et éducatives.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

الآثار المرمّمة في مقاطعة نالاندا
يقع موقع نالاندا في ولاية بيهار شمال شرق الهند. ويتألف من مجموعة آثار مباني مدرسيّة ورهبانية كانت مأهولة في الفترة بين القرن الثالث قبل الميلاد والقرن الثالث عشر بعد الميلاد. ويوجد في المدينة أبراج بوذيّة ومباني سكنيّة ومدرسيّة ومعابد بالإضافة إلى أعمال فنيّة مهمّة مصنوعة من الجص والحجارة والمعادن. ويشهد تطوّر هذا المكان عبر التاريخ على تطوّر البوذيّة إلى ديانة بالإضافة إلى تطوّر التقاليد التربويّة والرهبانيّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

那烂陀寺考古遗址(那烂陀大学),比哈尔邦那烂陀

那烂陀寺遗址位于印度东北部的巴哈尔邦。遗址由公元前3世纪至公元13世纪存在于此的寺庙和佛学院遗留下的古迹组成,包括窣堵坡(坟冢),舍利塔,寺庙(僧房学舍),以及重要的墙画、石刻、金属器物等艺术作品。那烂陀作为印度次大陆上最古老的大学而引人注目,其作为有序的知识传递场所存续长达800年,发展的历史见证了佛学宗教化的过程,以及寺院和教育传统的繁荣。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Археологический объект Наланда Махавихара (университет Наланда) в Наланде
Объект Наланда Махавихара расположен в штате Бихар на северо-востоке Индии. Этот археологический памятник представляет собой монастырское образовательное учреждение, действовавшее с III века до н.э. по XIII век н.э. На территории комплекса расположены, главным образом, ступы и вихары (жилые здания и учебные корпуса), а также святилища. Здесь сохранились важные произведения искусства из гипса, камня и металла. Наланда является старейшим университетом на индийском субконтиненте. В стенах этого учреждения непрерывно передавались знания на протяжении 800 лет. Историческое развитие объекта свидетельствует о превращении буддизма в религию и расцвете монастырских и образовательных традиций.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sitio arqueológico Nalanda Mahavihara en Nalanda, Bihar

Este sitio se halla al nordeste de la India, en el estado de Bihar, y está integrado por los vestigios arqueológicos de un gran monasterio (“mahavihara”) que llevó a cabo una importante actividad religiosa y docente desde el siglo III a.C. hasta el siglo XIII de nuestra era. A los vestigios arquitectónicos de estupas, santuarios y edificios monacales (“viharas”) destinados a albergar y educar a los profesos, se suman importantes obras de arte realizadas en estuco, piedra y metales. Nalanda se distingue como la más antigua universidad del subcontinente indio, una institución que organizó la transmisión del saber durante un periodo ininterrumpido de 800 años. La historia del sitio atestigua no sólo la evolución de la devoción budista hacia su afirmación como religión, sino también el florecimiento de las prácticas monásticas y educativas tradicionales.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

ビハール州ナーランダ・マハーヴィハーラ(ナーランダ大学)の遺跡
多くの僧が集ったインド随一の学問寺の遺構。インド北東部ビハール州に位置するナーランダにある、紀元前3世紀から後13世紀にかけて運営された、修道的・教育的な機関の考古学的遺構。ナーランダの大学は、インド亜大陸において最古の大学として顕著な存在で、ここでは800年も途切れることなく系統的な知識の伝達が続けられた。遺構にはストゥーパや聖廟、住居や教育関連の建物としての僧院、漆喰や石、金属で作られた重要な美術作品も含まれ、当地の歴史は、仏教の宗教への発展および修道と教育の伝統の繁栄を証明している。

source: NFUAJ

Archeologische site van Nalanda 'Mahavihara' (Universiteit van Nalanda) in Nalanda, Bihar

Nalanda Mahavihara ligt in de staat Bihar in Noordoost-India. Het omvat de archeologische overblijfselen van een kloosterschool-complex daterend uit de derde eeuw v.Chr tot de dertiende eeuw n.Chr.. Het complex omvat stoepas, altaren, vihara's (woon- en onderwijsgebouwen) en belangrijke kunstwerken in gips, steen en metaal. Nalanda is de oudste universiteit van het Indiase subcontinent waar gedurende een onafgebroken periode van 800 jaar kennis werd overgedragen. De historische ontwikkeling van de site getuigt van de ontwikkeling van het Boeddhisme tot een religie en de bloei van onderwijs- en kloostertradities.

Source: unesco.nl

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Excavated Remains of Nalanda Mahavihara: View of Site no. 03 and structure to north of Site no. 1B from East © Rajneesh Raj
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara is located in the North-eastern state of Bihar, India. Spread over an area of 23 hectares the Archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara presents remains dating from circa. 3rd Cen BCE with one of the earliest, the largest of its time and longest serving monastic cum scholastic establishment in Indian Subcontinent from 5th Cen CE - 13th Cen CE before the sack and abandonment of Nalanda in the 13th Century. It includes stupas, chaityas, viharas, shrines, many votive structures and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. The layout of the buildings testifies to the change from grouping around the stupa-chaitya to a formal linear alignment flanking an axis from south to north. The historic development of the property testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.

Criterion (iv): The Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara established and developed planning, architectural, artistic principles that were adopted later by many similar institutions in the Indian Subcontinent, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Standardisation of the architecture of viharas and the evolution of temple-like chaitya into Nalanda prototypes manifests the sustained interchange and patronage towards the expansion of physical infrastructure. The quadrangular free-standing vihara of Gandhara period evolved into a complete residential cum-educational infrastructure borrowed by monastic-cities of South Asia such as Paharpur, Vikramshila, Odantapuri and Jagaddala.

Nalanda shows emergence and mainstreaming of a chaitya having quincuxial (five-fold) form. As a reflection and representation of changing religious practices, this new form replaced the traditionally dominant stupa and influenced Buddhist temples in the region.

Criterion (vi): Nalanda Mahavihara, as a centre for higher learning marks the zenith in the evolution of sangharama (monastic establishment) into the earliest higher learning establishment of early medieval India. Its merit-based approach said to have embraced all contemporary sources of knowledge and systems of learning practiced in the Indian subcontinent.

Nalanda remains one of the earliest and longest serving extraordinary institution-builder. Its systems of pedagogy, administration, planning and architecture were the basis on which later Mahaviharas were established. Nalanda continues to inspire modern university establishments in the region like Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda University and several others across Asia.

Integrity

Archaeological remains of Nalanda Mahavihara were systematically unearthed and preserved simultaneously. These are the most significant parts of the property that demonstrate development in planning, architecture and artistic tradition of Nalanda. As evinced by the surviving antiquities, the site is explicit of a scholar's life recorded a monastic cum scholastic establishment.

While the original mahavihara was a much larger complex, all surviving remains of Nalanda present in the property area of 23 hectares comprising 11 viharas and 14 temples, besides many smaller shrine and votive structures, demonstrate amply its attributes such as axial planning and layout along north-south axis, its architectural manifestation and extant building materials and applied ornamental embellishments. Preserved in-situ are the structural remains of viharas and chaityas whose layers of construction show evolution of the respective forms. The positioning of these structures over the extent of the site shows the planned layout unique to Nalanda. The property also retains a corpus of moveable and immoveable artefacts and artistic embellishments that show iconographic development reflecting changes in Buddhist belief system.

Archaeological remains including the entire protected area of the property are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The buffer zone of the property is sparsely populated with agricultural land and seasonal water bodies and thus poses no threat to the property. The property and the buffer zone are protected by a national-level law, the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR), 1958 and (Amendment and Validation, 2010) and is monitored by the National Monument Authority (National level) and office of the District Commissioner, State Government of Bihar (local level).

Authenticity

In subsurface condition for over seven centuries the archaeological remains of Nalanda Mahavihara were systematically excavated in the early 20th Cen. CE and conserved in-situ by the Archaeological Survey of India. Methodology adopted by the Archaeological Survey of India for the conservation and consolidation of its viharas and temples ensured the preservation of its historic fabric through adequate capping by reversible and sacrificial layers and providing supports wherever necessary. All conservation works and interventions are documented through photographs and drawings and published in the annual reports of ASI.

Historical research should be continued, supported by appropriate documentation, with particular attention to the identification of all excavation works carried out before the Archaeological Survey of India, as well as excavations by any other parties of the property, and the identification of all repair works carried out throughout the site, with particular attention to the repairs of brickwork and the documentation of the differentiation of authentic archaeological fabric and added repairs and added capping and sacrificial layers, some of which are marked by way of inscription of dates on select bricks at inconspicuous locations.

Nalanda's layers of construction, iconography and records testify these remains to be its oldest surviving parts. The spatial organization evident in these excavated remains demonstrate its systematic planning. Temple-like form of chaityas and quadrangular-form of viharas replete with infrastructure authenticate Nalanda's contribution in developing sacred architecture of the Buddhists and residential-cum-scholastic facilities. Its stucco, stone and metal art retain iconographic features that enabled changes in Buddhist belief system and transition of Mahayana to Vajrayana.

Ceasing functionally as an institution (13th century CE), Nalanda's role as an institution­builder is testified by the borrowing of its system of organization by later Mahaviharas of the 8th century CE. Nalanda's system of pedagogy is best preserved in Tibetan monasteries where discourses are conducted through debate and dialectics. Furthermore, universities across Asia consider Nalanda the landmark of academic learning excellence.

Protection and management requirements

The property is owned, protected, maintained and managed by Archaeological Survey of India vide national level laws - the Ancient Monuments and Sites Remains Act of 1958 (Amendment and Validation, 2010) Decisions pertaining to its conservation and management are governed by National Conservation Policy for Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains promulgated by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Conservation and management of the property is ordained by a perspective plan and an annual conservation programme. An in-house committee of the Archaeological Survey of India monitors its state of conservation and conducts need-analysis. A conservation plan for the excavated remains of the property should be worked out for the safeguarding of its Outstanding Universal Value and authenticity. This apart, plans for visitor should be developed to strengthen approaches to visitor management and interpretation. Also the risk preparedness plan should be completed.

The buffer zone is also managed by the National Monument Authority vide Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR), 1958, (Amendment and Validation, 2010) in consultation with National Monument Authority (NMA), New Delhi and the State Government of Bihar. The buffer zone also has facilities to augment visitor's experience.

The Integrated Master Plan of Nalanda should be prepared and implemented by the State Government of Bihar, keeping in mind national and regional laws, to mitigate concerns by any development in the vicinity of the property that may impact its Outstanding Universal Value. And a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) should be conducted for any development plans within the vicinity of the property, which are vetted by the competent authorities, Archaeological Survey of India, State Government of Bihar and Nalanda's District Collectorate's Office.