Posted on: 27 July 2015

Digital Rare Book:
Universities in Ancient India
By D.G.Apte
Published by Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda -1923

This brochure contains a brief account of the famous universities in Ancient India. The term 'university' as used here simply means a centre where higher education was imparted to aspiring students. It does not connote all the different features possessed by the universities in the East and the West to-day. There were a number of important features in these universities, which do not find a parallel in our modern institutions going under the name. The following brief account of these universities will enable the reader to have some idea of education imparted in these institutions during the long period of about 2,000 years beginning with the 10th century B.C. and ending with the I2th century A.D. It is hoped that a perusal of this booklet will enable him to compare our present institutions with those of ancient India and realise that the centres of higher learning in ancient India were unique in their organization and scholarship during those distant times when elsewhere in the world very few had thought of organised, education at the university level.

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Excavated site Vikramshila, Antichak Vikramasila (village Antichak, district Bhagalpur, Bihar) is located about 50 kms east of Bhagalpur and about 13 kms north-east of Kahalgaon, a railway station on Bhagalpur-Sahebganj section of Eastern Railway. It is approachable through 11 kms long motorable road diverting from N.H.80 at Anadipur about 2 kms from Kahalgaon. Excavated remains represent the ruins of Vikramasila Mahavihara the celebrated university founded by Pala king Dharmapala in late 8th or early 9th Century A.D. It prospered for about four centuries before it collapsed in the beginning of 13th Century A.D. It is known to us mainly through Tibetan sources specially the writings of Taranath, the Tibetan monk historian of 16th-17th Century A.D. Vikramasila was one of the largest Buddhist universities having more than hundred teachers and about one thousand students. It produced eminent scholars who were often invited by foreign countries to spread Buddhist learning, culture and religion. The most distinguished and eminent among all was Atisa Dipankara, the founder of Lamaism in Tibet. Subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, metaphysics, logic etc. were taught here but the most important branch of learning was tantrism. Meticulous excavation at the site conducted initially by Patna University (1960-69) and subsequently by Archaeological Survey of India (1972-82) has revealed a huge square monastery with a cruciform stupa in its centre, a library building and cluster of votive stupas. To the north of monastery a number of scattered structures including a Tibetan and a Hindu temple have been found. The entire spread is over an area of more than hundred acres. Read more:

Nimisha you would love to read this.