About 45 miles from Gaya is the historical town of Nalanda in the North Eastern state of Bihar. Visit the famous Buddhist monastery that was home to an international university from the 5th to the 12th century A.D. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the well preserved ruins of this ancient seat of learning make it an important destination on the Buddhist tourism circuit. Next drive to the ancient town of Rajgir that is 10 miles from Nalanda. Lord Buddha spent several years of his life in Rajgir.Highlights: • Nalanda University, oldest residential University of the world • Ajatshatru Fort • Vulture Peak
You will be picked up from your hotel in Gaya and driven to Nalanda, which is a 2-hour drive away.Nalanda is one of the world’s oldest living cities. It flourished as an international university under the patronage of Emperors Ashoka and Harshavardhana, who built temples and monasteries here. Nalanda was the first residential university of the world. It attracted scholars from all over the Buddhist world and at its peak had around 2 000 teachers and 10 000 monks staying here. The monasteries here are built on the Kushan style of architecture. There is a large courtyard that is surrounded by cells where the monks lived. Nalanda was destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 12th century. The three libraries here were burnt down. It is said that they had such a large collection of books and manuscripts that the fire burnt for six months. Spend some time walking through the ruins of this ancient seat of learning.Next take lunch at a local restaurant (own expense).After lunch visit Rajgir, that is 10 miles from Nalanda. Rajgir was the capital of the ancient state of Magadh. Lord Buddha spent many years in Rajgir and delivered some of his famous sermons here. This town is important for the Jain community, too, as Lord Mahavira is also said to have stayed in Rajgir. The travelogues of ancient Buddhist travelers Huen Tsang and Fa Hian also mention Rajgir. Vulture peak - Lord Buddha’s favorite retreat and Ajatshatru Fort are two important sites to visit in Rajgir.At the end of the tour you will be driven back to Gaya and dropped off at your hotel.