About the NOU
The Nalanda Open University is the only University in the State of Bihar meant for imparting learning exclusively through the system of distance education. The University was established in March, 1987 by an ordinance, promulgated by the Government of Bihar. Later, Nalanda Open University Act, 1995 was passes by the Bihar Legislature, replacing the Ordinance, and the University came under the authority and jurisdiction of the new Act automatically. The University is named after the famous Nalanda University of Ancient India. At present, the University is functioning from its camp office at Biscomaun Bhawan, 2nd,3rd,4th and 12th Floors, Patna 800 001. The University has established at its camp office at Patna a well equipped and fully automated modern office in an area of approximately 60,000 sq. feet, which houses an examination centre for about 1000 students, a state of the art Library with about 50,000 titles and a computer laboratory of about 300 IBM Pentium-4 computers, apart from administrative offices and other infra-structures. The University is recognised by the Distance Education Council (DEC), University Grants Commission, and Ministry of HRD, Government of India for imparting education through distance mode.
Aims & Objectives
- To Provide educational opportunities to those who are unable to take up formal education and are still desirous to upgrade their educational qualifications and acquire knowledge in various fields of learning through the print medium (correspondence course), contact programmes, study centres and mass media.
- To provide flexibility in matters of eligibility for enrolment for higher education, age of entry, choice of course, methods of learning, conduct of examination and operation of programmes.
- To offer degree and diploma courses and to make provision for research for advancement and dissimination of knowledge.
- To provide special facilities to groups like, elderly people, in-service personnel, housewives, people living in remote areas, socially disadvantaged people of the society and all others who wish to upgrade their skill and acquire higher academic qualification through distance education.
- To lay emphasis on vocational, as well as, conventional courses, leading to award of degrees and certificates.
- To create awareness for self-sufficiency and equip people with knowledge and higher qualification to enable them to become suitable for new job opportunities.
- To provide course for rural, agricultural, industrial and commercial needs of people and design learning material for improving socio-economic condition of the masses.
- To bring awareness in women, children and down-trodden of their social rights, duties and legal status in society.
His Excellency Hon'ble Governor of Bihar
Prof.(Dr.) Munindra Kumar
Dr. S. P. Sinha
Towards the Southeast of Patna, the Capital City of Bihar State in India, is a village called the 'Bada Gaon', in the vicinity of which, are the world famous ruins of Nalanda University.
Founded in the 5th Century A.D., Nalanda is known as the ancient
seat of learning. 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over
the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential
International University of the World. A walk in the ruins of the
university, takes you to an era, that saw India leading in imparting
knowledge, to the world - the era when India was a coveted place
for studies. The University flourished during the 5th and 12th century.
Although Nalanda is one of the places distinguished as having
been blessed by the presence of the Buddha, it later became particularly
renowned as the site of the great monastic university of the same
name , which was to become the crown jewel of the development of
Buddhism in India. The name may derive from one of Shakyamuni's
former births , when hewas a king whose capital was here. Nalanda
was one of his epithets meaning "insatiable in giving."
This place saw the rise and fall of many empires and emperors who contributed in the development of Nalanda University. Many monasteries and temples were built by them. Kingarshwardhana gifted a 25m high copper statue of Buddha and Kumargupta endowed a college of fine arts ere. Nagarjuna- a Mahayana philosopher, Dinnaga- founder of the school of Logic and Dharmpala- the Brahmin scholar, taught here.
The famous Chinese traveller and scholar,Hieun-Tsang stayed here
and has given a detailed description of the situations prevailing
at that time. Careful excavation of the place has revealed many
stupas, monasteries,hostels,stair cases,meditation halls, lecture
halls and many other structures which speak of the splendour and
grandeur this place enjoyed,when the place was a centre of serious
A large number of ancient Buddhist establishments, stupas, chaityas,
temples and monastery sites have been excavated and they show that
this was one of the most important Buddhist centres of worship and
culture.Regarding the historicity of Nalanda, we read in Jaina texts
that Mahavira Vardhamana spent as many as fourteen rainy seasons
Pali Buddhist Literature , too, has ample references to Nalanda,
which used to be visited by Lord Buddha. During the days of Mahavira
and Buddha,Nalanda was apparently a very prosperous temple city,
a great place of pilgrimage and the site of a celebrated university.
It is said that King Asoka gave offerings to the Chaitya of Sariputra
at Nalanda and erected a temple there.Taranath mentions this and
also that Nagarjuna, the famous Mahayana philosopher of the second
century A.D., studied at Nalanda. Nagarjuna later became the high-priest
The Gupta kings patronised these monasteries, built in old Kushan
architectural style, in a row of cells around a courtyard. Ashoka
and Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons who
built temples and monasteries here. Recent excavations have unearthed
elaborate structures here. Hiuen Tsang had left ecstatic accounts
of both the ambiance and architectureof this unique university of
ancient times. Modern historians have tentatively dated the founding
of a monastery at Nalanda as being in the fifth century.However,
this may not be accurate. For example,the standard biographiesof
the teacher Nagarjuna, believed by most historians to have been
born around 150 AD, are quite specific about his having received
ordination at Nalanda monastery when he was seven years old. Further,
his teacher Rahulabhadra is said to have lived there for some time
before that. We may infer that there were a monastery or monasteries
at Nalanda long before the foundation of the later Great Mahavihara.
At the time Hsuan Chwang stayed at Nalanda and studied with the abbot Shilabhadra, it was already a flourishing centre of learning. In many ways it seems to have been like a modern university. There was a rigorous oral entry examination conducted by erudite gatekeepers, and many students were turned away.To study or to have studied at Nalanda was a matter of great prestige. However, no degree was granted nor was a specific period of study required. The monks' time, measured by a water clock, was divided between study and religious rites and practice.There were schools of study in which students received explanations by discourse, and there were also schools of debate, where the mediocre were often humbled, and the conspicuously talented distinguished. Accordingly, the elected abbot was generally the most learned man of the time.
The libraries were vast and widely renowned, although there is
a legend of a malicious fire in which many of the texts were destroyed
and irrevocably lost.
During the Gupta age, the practice and study of the mahayana,
especially the madhyamaka, flourished. However, from 750 AD, in
the Pala age, there was an increase in the study and propagation
of the tantric teachings.This is evidenced by the famous pandit
Abhayakaragupta, a renowned tantric practitioner who was simultaneously
abbot of the Mahabodhi, Nalanda and Vikramashila monasteries. Also
Naropa, later so important to the tantric lineages of the Tibetan
traditions, was abbot of Nalanda in the years 1049-57.
Much of the tradition of Nalanda had been carried into Tibet by the time of the Muslim invasions of the twelfth century. While the monasteries of Odantapuri and Vikramashila were then destroyed, the buildings at Nalanda do not seem to have suffered extensive damage at that time, although most of the monks fled before the desecrating armies. In 1235 the Tibetan pilgrim Chag Lotsawa found a 90 year old teacher, Rahula Shribhadra, with a class of seventy students. Rahula Shribhadra managed to survive through the support of a local brahmin and did not leave until he had completed educating his last Tibetan student.
Nalanda Open University is a State Open University duly established under the Act of Bihar Government and is also recognized by Distance Education Council, IGNOU, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi since 1997 vide their letter Nos. :
- DEC/Univ/State/2007/5583 dated 31.8.2007
- DEC/OU/Recog/2008/7829 dated 08.4.2008
- DEC/Recog/NOU/2008/17385 dated 18.12.2008
Nalanda Open University Degree/Diploma /Certificates are eligible for higher studies, public & private sector employment and service promotions.