India has one of the ancient civilizations of world. Mathematics, Astronomy, Gemology, Administration, Arts, Biology, Law and many other subjects were taught widely. Knowledge of these were well blended with customs and culture and made part of everyday life.
We know of many world famous universities of modern era but India had world renowned universities even before Christian era. long before other civilizations learned about anything we had universities teaching students from other lands.
Starting from Takshashila there are many of these universities, knowing about them would help us understand the potential and greatness of India.
Once glorious these universities slowly lost sheen and disappeared from earth and memories too.
Takshashila was the first university that existed on earth, it was situated in the kingdom of Gandhara, present in today’s Punjab of Pakistan.
From 600 BC to 500 AD Takshashila was the center for learning for many around the world, students from India, Babylon, Syria, China and Greece are said to be traveling there to study.
Takshashila was equipped with teachers teaching as many as 68 subjects which included Vedas, grammar, languages, music, dance, mathematics, medicine, science, philosophy, literature, war fare, politics, administration, etc.
World famous scholars headed the university panel. Chanakya, Vishnu Sharma, Panini are few of them who were scholars in their field.
The world famous university of Nalanda was first residential University. Situated near Patna the capital of state Bihar of India. The university of Nalanda followed Buddhist principles and many teachers followed Buddhism.
Gupta dynasty ruled over the Magadh Kingdom during which Nalanda University was established.
It is believed that Nalanda was as big as it has a capacity of 10,000 students studying in it from different parts of India and other countries, over 2000 teachers were teaching various subjects such as Administration, Mathematics, Science, Astrology, Gemology, Astronomy, War fare, etc.
Students from other countries like China, Tibet, Japan, Indonesia, Korea and Persia also studied here.
University was spread over a vast land of 14 hectares and accommodated many 3 huge libraries, these libraries were named as Ratna Sagara, Ratna Dadhi and Ratna Ranjaka. These libraries had a huge collection of books related to subjects of literature, astrology, astronomy, mathematics, science, medicine, war fare, administration, etc.
It is said when invaders ruined these libraries and set the fire, it took 3 months to burn down all the books such was the collection and size of the libraries.
Many things about Nalanda were written by Chinese traveler Xuan Zang (Hiuen Tsang) when he visited it.
The university of Pushpagiri was established in the 3rd century in preset day Odisha state of India. Spread over approximately 58 hectares of land it is one of the main learning centers of that time. Pushpagiri has attracted many foreign students too, famous Chinese traveler Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) has written about Pushpagiri in his book when he visited it in 639 A.D.
Pushpagiri university site has been discovered recently 20 years back in 1995.
Inscriptions in Nagarjuna Konda has mentioned about Pushpagiri University and its glory as a learning center.
Other Universities which existed and spread wisdom.
• Vikramashila University, Telhara University and Odantapuri University in Bihar
• Jagaddala Mahavira, West Bengal
• Nagarjuna Konda, Andhra Pradesh
• Valabhi University, Gujarat
• Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
• Manyakheta, Karnataka
• Mahavira, Abhayagiri Vihara and Jetavanaramaya, Sri Lanka
• Somapura in Bangladesh
• Sharada peeth in Pakistan