Patna, Jan 14: Remains of an ancient university have been discovered in Bihar, which is home to Nalanda and Vikramshila universities, officials Tuesday said.
“We have discovered remains of another ancient university at the Buddhist monastery site of Telhara in Nalanda district,” Atul Kumar Verma, director of state archaeology, told IANS.
Telhara was visited by Chinese traveller Heuen Tsang in the 7th century A.D., and it was mentioned as “Teleadaka” in his account, Verma said.
Describing it as a major discovery for Bihar’s history, Verma told IANS over telephone that remains of “Tiladhak” ancient university are spread in a big area and will take more time for full excavation — just like Nalanda where the excavation took years.
“It is a positive development in the field of excavation in Bihar. After discovery of remains of 4th century ancient Nalanda and 8th century Vikramshila university, this is the discovery of remains of third ancient university in the state,” Verma said.
Verma said that Tiladhak ancient university was set up in 5th century during the Gupta period.
He said that remains of this ancient university were found during excavation of a 45-foot high mound.
“We have also found a huge floor, statues of bronze and stone and over 100 seals,” he said.
The excavation at Telhara site was started in 2009 after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took special interest in it. Nitish Kumar has announced that specimen from the site would be housed in the proposed International Museum in Patna.
Last week Nobel laureate Amartya Sen visited Telhara excavation site and was impressed by the discovery, Verma said.
According to Verma, Heuen Tsang has given a graphic account of a cluster of as many as seven Buddhist monasteries flourishing at “Teleadaka”, also called “Tiladhak”, at Telhara site, where about a thousand monks studied under the Mahayana school of Buddhism.