Nalanda was an ancient higher-learning institution in Bihar, India. The site is located about 88 kilometres southeast of Patna, and was a religious centre of learning from the fifth century AD to 1197 AD. Nalanda flourished between the reign of the Śakrāditya (whose identity is uncertain, who might have been either Kumaragupta I or Kumaragupta II) and 1197 AD, supported by patronage from the Gupta Empire (which supported Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) as well as emperors like Harsha and later rulers from the Pala Empire.
The complex was built with red bricks and its ruins occupy an area of 14 hectares (488 by 244 metres). At its peak, the university attracted scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Greece, and Greater Iran. Nalanda was ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Muslim Mamluk Dynasty under Ikhtiyar ad-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193.
The Nalanda University in nearby Rajgir is an effort to revive and re-establish this ancient institution of learning.