Wait a moment!! Are you thinking about Takshashila and Nalanda? I bet you are… Of course these two universities have been engraved in our minds for ages. Well, there were a lot more universities that existed in the Indian subcontinent during ancient times. The Vedic civilization can be credited to have passed on the legacy of giving extreme prominence to education in the Indian social arena. This led to the emergence of several other learning centres. Let us visit the past and explore a few ancient universities along with Takshashila and Nalanda.1. The University of Takshashila: One of the most prominent of the list is the Takshashila University referred to as Taxila today. You can trace the roots of this university to the period that existed way back 2700 years ago. The University was so huge that it could accommodate more than 10500 students across the globe and offered specializations in 64 varied fields of studies ranging from vedas to music and grammar to agriculture. Prominent names of the students included Chanakya, Panini and Jivak.
- The University of Nalanda : It was Shakraitya of Gupta dynasty who established this university way back in and around 5th century and survived the test of time till the 12th century successfully. It was established in modern day Bihar area. The unique features of this university were the residential quarters for the students and the teachers. Numerous students from Persia, Korea, Turkey, Indonesia and other countries attended Nalanda University. Dharmagnaja was the name given to the library that was presumed to be the largest in the ancient world. Several countries have stepped forward to revive this lost university after the Indian Parliament approved to the restoration of this university in 2010.
- The University of Odantapuri: Established in the 8th century in Magadha (present day Bihar) by Dharmapala of the Pala dynasty, this university fllouriished for a span of 400 years uptil the 12th century. It is recorded that the university could accoodate around 12000 students. One of the prominent students of this University was Acharya Sri Ganga who taught at the Vikramashila University later.
- Valabhi University: Saurashtra of Gujarat is credited to host this University between 6th century and 12th century. Prominent Buddhist scholars Sthiramati and Gunamati were the aluminus of this University that was regarded as one of the best learning centres in the ancient word.
- University of Vikramashila: The Bhagalpur district of Bihar is known to have had this University way back during the 8th century and 12th century.The university boasted to have had 1000 students and 100 teachers as it was founded by Dharmapala of Pala dynasty.
- University of Pushpagiri: Established in the 3 rd century in the kingdom of Kalinga (present day Odisha), this university was regarded as one of the finest universities in the ancient India and existed upto the 11th This university was visited by the famous Chinese traveler Huien Tsang. Recent findings suggest that Emperor Ashoka played a major role in the establishment of this University.
- Somapura University: Dharmapala of the Pala dynasty established the Somapura Mahahvihara in the 8th century.Spread over 27 acres, this university flourished uptil the 12th century. The teaching of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), Bauddha Dharma (Buddhism) and JIna Dharma (Jainism) were taught in this University.
This is not a conclusive list of the ancient universities that flourished in the Indian subcontinent. Most of these universities were destructed during the Muslim invasions led by Bhatiyar Khilji. The destruction of such learning centres set a violent blow to the educational field in India.