The history of this city will take you back to the times of Lord Buddhaand Lord Mahaveer. Some of the people believe that the name of this city was derived from the terms “Nalam” and “Da” while Hieun Tsang recommended a “naga” to have been the idea behind the name of the city. Birth of Sariputra, the great follower of Lord Buddha also makes the city famous.
In 2nd Century B.C. a great philosopher Nagarjuna studied and taught here. In the same period, a great patron of Lord Buddha, King Ashoka built several beautiful temples, monasteries and viharas in Nalanda. Many great rulers ruled here for a long period of time like the Guptas ruled here in 5th century and King Harshavardhan ruled here from 606 to 647 A.D. in the 7th century AD, Hiuen Tsang visited the city and wrote about the purity of monastic life in Nalanda and also left description of the education system practiced here. In 151, an International Center for Buddhist Studies was established in Nalanda. It was declared independent district with headquarters of Bihar Sharif on 6th November, 1972.