Nalanda is the "Buddhist monastic center, often spoken of as a university, in northern Bihar state of India. Though it is traditionally dated to the time of the Buddha (6th-5th cent. BC), archaeological excavations date its current foundations to the 5th century AD. It housed a population of several thousand teachers and students. Topics studied covered included logic, grammar, astronomy, and Ayurvedic Buddhist medicine. The Chinese pilgrims Xuanzang and Yijing provide vivid accounts of Nalanda in the late 7th century.
Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th-12th centuries. Famous Chinese Sage Monk Dharma Master Hiuen Tsang stayed here in 7th century and has left detailed description of the excellence of education and purity of monastic life practiced here. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall is also a special attraction in Nalanda University. Hieun Tsang came and stayed here both as student and as teacher. He was in Nalanda for twelve years. The Memorial Hall is built in his memory.
Near the University of Nalanda, is a temple dedicated to the Sun God. This temple has a number of statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities. The five feet high statue of Parvati is of particular interest and attraction.