Abhay K


Bakhtiyar and his men
play buzkashi in my alleys today
monks are being burnt alive; and
those who try to escape are beheaded.
Dharmagunj- the nine storied library
has burst into flames
smoke and ash from burning books
have turned the day into night.
The sun has disappeared from the sky today
and even my bricks bleed,
sacred chants that once purified Magadha
have turned into shrieks of a falling humanity.
The light of the world is fading today
to face ravages of time alone
abandoned, scorned, forgotten
or perhaps, to be reborn into many Nalandas.


Forlorn under the red earth
buried for centuries
I rise today like a phoenix
eight hundred years later
from ashes of my burnt books.

I open my arms today to embrace you
whoever you are, from wherever you are
come, walk into my enlightened fold
as once Buddha and Mahavira did
seeking shelter in my grooves.

I remember Hiuen Tsang and Faxian --
the ancient travelers from the East,
I hear footsteps of Aryabhata and Charaka
in my ancient grounds today                               
you too come; come to me as I rise again.

Nalanda, in Bihar, India, was a Buddhist monastery and centre of learning for about 600 years. In 1198 it was destroyed by the forces of the invading Bakhtiyar Mamluks.

Today Nalanda has been excavated and its atmospheric ruins can be visited. They lie in what is now the state of Bihar.

iIn 2014, Abhay K. met students of the first batch of the reopened  Nalanda University. He writes, "great institutions, ideas never die. Nalanda University has risen from its own ashes like a mythical Phoenix in 2014 with 15 students from different countries coming together to study Ecology and History."

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Main Location:

Nalanda Ruins, Magadha, Bihar, India

The Ruins of the ancient Buddhist University of Nalanda