Nalanda Archeological Museum

Museum / Gallery

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Nalanda Railway Station): 3 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 30 Mins - 1 Hr

Place Location: Opposite To Nalanda University Ruins

Transportation Options: Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 3 km from Nalanda Railway Station, and 14 km from Rajgir Railway Station, Nalanda Archeological Museum is a museum situated in the ancient city of Nalanda, Bihar. Located just opposite to Nalanda University Ruins, it is one of the popular archaeological museums in India, and among the top places to visit in Nalanda.

Established in 1917, the Nalanda Archaeological Museum is one of the most prestigious site-museums of the Archaeological Survey of India. It houses antiquities found from the excavated site of Nalanda Mahavihara, one of the oldest universities in the world. Later on, few objects collected from the neighboring villages of Nalanda, and Rajgir too were added to the treasures of this museum. The museum boasts of a rare and beautiful collection of bronze statues, copper plates, manuscripts, stone inscriptions, pottery, coins, and images of various Gods & Goddesses. The majority of the sculptures excavated from Nalanda have been carved on Basalt stone but some are made of stone, bronze, stucco, terracotta, etc.

Divided into four galleries, the museum has about 350 artifacts at display whereas more than 13,000 are kept in the reserve collection that date back from 5th to 12th century AD. The first gallery has 57 sculptures include Hindu gods and goddesses like Surya, Kuber, Lakshmi, Shiva-Parvati, Ganesh, and Rishabhanath. Among the Buddhist sculptures those of Heruka, Khasarpana, Vagesvari, Marichi, Buddha in varad mudra are the significant ones. The second gallery has a huge collection of about 150 objects including stuccos, terracotta images, iron implements, seals, and inscriptions. Terracotta seal with the legend 'Sri Nalanda Mahavihariya Arya bhikshu sanghasya', decorative swastika tile, iron padlock, fragmentary tablet of Nidanasutta, a sample of charred rice, stucco head of Buddha & Bodhisattva, and a multi spouted pot found from Rajgir are noteworthy specimens in this gallery.

The third gallery comprises of around 93 specimens of bronze including two images of Buddha in boon giving posture, Tara, Prajnaparamita, Loknath, Bodhisatva padmapani. Another sculpture shows Lord Buddha in earth touching posture at Nalanda Museum. Other than these the images of Lord Ganesh, Surya, Kamadeva, Indrani, and Vishnu, etc. of Brahminical religion are found in this gallery. In the fourth gallery, there are 36 sculptures made of stone. These sculptures are of Lord Buddha, Lord Vishnu, Padmapani Bodhisattva, Vajrapani, and Marichi. Two massive jars found in Nalanda University are exhibited in a different shed. An ample number of stone sculptures and pictures, bronzes, terracotta, and other antiquarian items are preserved in the collection. Besides, the entrance hall of the museum showcases 16 sculptures, prominent among them include Samantbhadra, Parshvanath, Nagaraj, Buddha in Varad, Dharmachakra and Bhumisparsh posture, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Maitreya.

Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM, Closed on Fridays

Entry Fee: Rs. 5 for Indians & Rs.100 for Foreigners