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Top 10 Oldest and Largest Ancient Universities of India

by Kunal Ravan 5 months ago in Historical
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List of Ancient Universities of India and Their Legacy That is Truly Fascinating

Ancient Universities of India

Ancient India was a major centre of education and knowledge, only then people from many countries like China, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Persia and Roman used to come here to study. But most of us today know about only two ancient universities of India, one is Taxila and the other is Nalanda University.

India is the richest country of the world's oldest civilization as well as has been a centre of higher education in ancient times. Even today there is a mention in many books about the ancient universities of India. India was the largest hub of education in the world from the 8th to the 12th century. Even today many shreds of evidence of these universities can be seen.

So in today's article, we will know in detail about the top 10 oldest and largest ancient universities of India. Where was this university established? When was it made? Who built it? And how did invaders destroyed it? You will get to know all that and many more apart from this, in this article, read the article till the end.

So, here is the list of the top 10 oldest and largest ancient universities of India.

10. Odantapuri University

Odantapuri University

Odantapuri University was located in today's Bihar. It was built about 10 km from Nalanda University in Bihar. The credit for its construction also goes to the rulers of the Pala dynasty. It is said to be the second oldest university in India after Nalanda University. From the 8th century to the 12th century, it went through its best times.

Like other universities, not much is known about the history of our country, but according to the history of Tibet, about 12,000 students used to live in this university. Shri Ganga, a teacher of Vikramshila, did his studies from here. This university continued to run well till the year 1193.

Then the Muslim rulers of Turkey started attacking, and Bakhtiyar Khalji was also one of them. He demolished the wall of this university by telling his soldiers and during this time Nalanda University was also set on fire by the same soldiers. On seeing the 2 ancient universities of India come to an end.

9. Jagaddala University

Jagaddala University

Jagaddala University was a major centre of Buddhist learning in Bihar. It was built in northern Bangladesh. It is said that it was built by the ruler of the Pala dynasty, Rampal. According to the history of Tibet, 5 major monasteries were built during the rule of the Pala dynasty.

Vikramshila, Nalanda, Sompura, Odantapuri and Jagaddala were the links between these 5 centres and there were many good scholars, who kept coming from one monastery to another.

There are four main sects in Buddhism, but Jagaddala University used to give knowledge of the Vajrayana sect. This university was special in the Vajrayana sect. Shakyashri Bhadra, who was the last abbot of Nalanda University, was from Tibet and taught here. He left Jagaddala University in 1204 and went back to Tibet.

It is said that around the year 1204, the influence of Muslim invaders started increasing here, making it difficult for this university to move forward and finally by the year 1207, its operation was completely stopped.

8. Sompura University

Sompura University

This university was formed in present-day Bangladesh. Along with being a major centre of Buddhism, many important subjects like law, engineering and medicine were taught here. It was a major university from the 8th century to the 12th century. The credit for its establishment goes to the Pala dynasty.

It was the largest among the 30 monasteries established by the Pala dynasty. It was spread over 27 acres. About 8,500 people lived in this complex. Just as all ancient universities of India did not charge fees, here too the same rule was there.

It is known from some of its inscriptions that during the reign of Mahipala, which was from 995 to 1043, this university was repaired once.

Nearby kings used to arrange the necessary funds for university operations because their princes used to study in such universities. Like every university, students from other countries used to come here to study.

7. Bikrampur University

Bikrampur University

Bikrampur University was also the centre of a Buddhist monastery which was built in the present-day Munshiganj district of Bangladesh. This university was built in the year 820 by Dharmapala, the ruler of the Pala dynasty. This was not the only university built by Emperor Dharmapala, Dharmapala had built a total of 30 Buddhist monasteries, it was also a part of him.

It is said that people from many countries like China, Tibet, Nepal, and Thailand used to come here to study. The number was not small, about 8,000 people, including students and teachers, lived here at one time.

By the year 1000, Buddhism was at its peak and there was Buddhism in Tibet as well. At that time "Atish Dipankar" was an important person of Buddhism there, he also had a connection with this university.

6. Vallabhi University

Vallabhi University

This university used to come in Bhavnagar district of present-day Gujarat's Saurashtra region. It was built by Senapati Bhuttaraka, the founder of the Maitraka dynasty, in 480-775 CE. Then the Gupta empire was on the verge of collapse. Its written history dates back to 780 CE.

After that this university completely disappeared. Historians say that between the years 725-735, the invasion of Arabs started and the whole university was gradually destroyed due to these invasions. By the year 1200 AD, all the educational activities here had stopped. Like other universities, it was also a centre of Buddhism.

The university was world-renowned for its economics, ethics and medicine. Evidence of how special this university was, is found in a book in China. When Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk from China came to India in the late 7th century, he wrote a lot about India. In his book, he compared this university with Nalanda University in Bihar and when he came here, about 6,000 monks lived there.

5. Nalanda University

Nalanda University

Nalanda University was the first complete university in the world because there used to be a syllabus system as it is today. After completing the studies, the student was given a certificate. Based on this he could work anywhere.

Just as classes are held for every subject, similarly Nalanda used to organize in the university too. In a way, it was a complete university. About 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers lived here.

Kumaragupta-I built this university in the city of Nalanda in Bihar in the 5th century, which lasted till about the 13th century, but then a foreign invader named Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed it.

Even after the end of the Gupta dynasty, the rulers who ruled Nalanda also contributed to the rise of this university. Not only the students of India, but people from many different countries like Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia and India also used to come here to study.

4. Taxila University

Taxila University

It is said that Taxila University was the first university in the world. In ancient India, this university was located in the city of Taxila. Which is now 18 kilometres away from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. It is said about this university that its fame spread to every corner of the world. Students from all over the world used to come here to study.

At one time, more than 10,500 students used to live and study here and a great educationist like Chanakya himself used to teach them. However, this university was not given the status of Organisation University because the student was not given a certificate after taking all the knowledge here. It was up to the teachers, how many students they would teach simultaneously.

Usually, the entire course of a student was 8-10 years, but if a student was quick in reading and had more understanding, then the teacher would teach him all the subjects in less time.

This university was at its peak during the Mauryan period, many Greek writers came here and they have also written about the grandeur of Taxila, but as the Maurya Empire declined, the University of Taxila was gradually towards its last time and between the 2nd-5th century, this university was completely closed.

3. Pushpagiri University

Pushpagiri University

It was the 4th world-renowned university after Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila. Its fame spread far and wide. History states that it was founded by the Kalinga kings around the 13th century. The second aspect of history also says that it was built by Emperor Ashoka.

It was located in the present-day Jaipur district of Odisha. Its complex was so vast that its boundaries met with three hills Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri. This university was in its peak state for about 800 years but by the 11th century, this university was also destroyed.

2. Ratnagiri University

Ratnagiri University

Ratnagiri University was built as a Buddhist monument. This university was built around the 5th century. The campus of this university was also very spacious. Many students used to come here to study. This university is also mentioned in some historical books of Tibet, which were written around the 10th century.

It can be said that this university was in good condition around the 12th-13th century. The followers of Buddhism used to perform various rituals here. Looking at the monuments here, it seems that it must have also been a kind of pilgrimage site, but as foreign invaders entered India, this university started to decline.

Some Muslim rulers attacked it and spoiled its basic structure. Due to this the development work of this university stopped. Although many Buddhist followers remained here till the 16th century, after that this university also turned abandoned.

1. Vikramshila University

Vikramshila University

This university came into existence between the 8th-12th century. It used to be a major learning centre in India in those days and this was the period when Buddhism was at its best in India.

It was built by Dharmapala, the ruler of the Pala empire. This university was as famous as Nalanda University. This university was very special for the people who followed Buddhism.

It is said about this university that the number of teachers teaching here was more than 3,000, so it would be difficult to estimate the number of students. Like Nalanda University, when the student completed his education here too, he was given a certificate.

It was the world's most famous university in India during its time because no other university had such a reputation that people from other countries came to study there.

Due to the fame of this university, once the king of Tibet came here, since then it was especially taken care of the people of Tibet. But the destruction of this university was also done by an invader. In the year 1193, Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed this university.

Final Thoughts

So, this is the list of the top 10 ancient universities of India. Friends, today the situation is that we Indians are completely deprived of these achievements of our ancestors, rather we do not want to know about our ancient history. Do people say what will happen after knowing the old things?

Focus on today but I say that in those times when our ancestors used to be more advanced than us, we should look at our past and take inspiration from them.

So that we can be even more advanced than them. The way we blindly follow western civilization today and are getting away from our own culture. This shows that we are all like those leaves of a tree which do not know which tree it is a part of.


About the author

Kunal Ravan

My name is kunal, I am enthusiastic writer from my childhood, and I am passionate about my work, and I love to write articles on different topics, mainly top 10 lists based articles on different topics.

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