The architectural remains of the ancient Nalanda university are all set to become the second World Heritage site in Bihar after the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya.
PK Mishra, a superintending archaeologist with the Patna Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), on Thursday said India has approached Unesco (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to turn Nalanda university, 100 km from Patna, into a World Heritage site.
The fifth century architectural marvel, which was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers, is protected as a site of national importance.
"The ASI and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) have taken the Nalanda case to Unesco for World Heritage status for its preservation," Mishra said.
The Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, 110 km from Patna, where Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago, was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 2003.
The university of Nalanda - Sanskrit for 'giver of knowledge' - existed until 1197 AD, and attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey, besides being a pedestal of higher education in India.
Though it was devoted to Buddhist studies, the ancient varsity also trained students in subjects like fine arts, medicine and mathematics.