Home » Buddhism in Bihar » Vikramshila Tour

Vikramshila Tour

Vikramshila, Bihar
From what is known, the Buddha never visited Vikramshila. Still, this place in Bhagalpur district in Bihar is extremely important for the Buddhist for the simple reason that it was one of the most important centres of learning in India along with the Nalanda University in the bygone era. It was, infact, established in the time when the Nalanda University was apparently loosing its significance as a learning centre. This was in the 8th century and the person who established it was the King Dharampala of Bengal. The monastery gradually gained importance and became a centre for Tantric Buddhism. By 11th century, a time when King Rampala was ruling, the monastery was a thriving centre of learning housing around 160 teachers and 1000 students.

The outer wall of the temple had six gates while the main temple was guarded by two statues, that of Nagarjuna and another of Atisa. Atisa was one of the most eminent abbot of the university. The monasteries of the university were guarded by important scholars like - Santipa, Jetari, Ratnavajra, Jnanasrimitra and Naropa.

The fortified Vikramshila suffered destruction by the war between Muslim invaders and the Sena dynasty in the 12th century. Today, when can see the ruins of this once glorious university at the Antichak village and Bateshwar Sthan (Pather Ghatta). The excavation work of the university is still in progress.

The site covers an area of 4 sqkm. As you begin exploring the site, you will come across the ruins of a Tibetan dormitory. This dormitory stands on a platform which is 60 feet wide. The dormitory is not in a very good condition because of alkalisation of bricks, a couple of its columns have suffered serious damages. Quiet closeby is a meditation house which is in even worse condition, actually it would not be wrong to say that it is in complete ruins. The house has overgrown grasses around, is covered with thick layers of dust and the terrocta on the wall is decaying.

The 60 feet stupa constructed on 300 feet wide platform is probably in worst state. It has soils around its three main entrances which need to be taken out. Also, the hostels around the stupa have not been excavated yet.

Quick Getaways

Bhagalpur :
Just 44 km west of Vikramshila, Bhagalpur is a city and the headquarters of a district by the same name. The city finds mention in the two of the greatest epics of the Hindus – Ramayana and Mahabharata – as kingdom of Anga. Later, the city also became associated with the Mughals. The tomb of the Suja, brother of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, in the heart of the town, is the standing reminder of that association. The city, today, is also quiet well known for its silk production.

Sultanganj : Sultanganj lies around 20 km west of Bhagalpur and is well known for the cave sculptures and a temple dating back to the reigns of Ashoka and Gupta period respectively.

Champanagar : Champanagar is located quiet closeby the ruins of the Vikramshila University and was visited by Lord Buddha. Here, He delivered sermons on Kandaraka Sutta from the Middla length Discourse and the famous Sonadanda Sutta from the Long Discourses. Sarovan talab is the prime Buddhist attraction here.

The Mode of Transport :

Airways - The Patna airport is the closest one from Vikramshila. Flights from here operate to destinations like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ranchi and Lucknow.
Railways - Bhagalpur is the closest railway station to reach Vikramshila by rail.
Roadways - Vehicles are available on hire in Bhagalpur to take you to Vikramshila.


© 2012 Buddhisttour.com All Rights Reserved.
( A Unit of Frontiers Beyond Tours Pvt Ltd )