Monday, April 25, 2016

U for University

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


Did you know that the world’s first University was established in India?

In as early as the 700 B.C. the ancient kingdom of Gandhara was home to a giant University – Takshashila. The University taught 68 subjects to as many as 10,500 students, from not only India but Babylon, Greece, Syria, and China. Well known scholars like Kautilya (Chanakya), Vishnu Sharma, Charaka, Prasenajit, Jotipala, Panini and Jivak taught diverse subjects like Vedas, languages, grammar, philosophy, medicine, surgery, archery, politics, warfare, astronomy, accounts, commerce, documentation, music, dance and other performing arts, futurology, the occult and mystical sciences, and complex mathematical calculations. The vastness and the diverseness of the subjects taught in Takshashila is mind boggling indeed!

Another well-known university of those times was the Nalanda University which functioned from 500 – 1300 AD. The University was so advanced that it had an observatory called the Ambudharaavlehi for astronomical research, a vast library, laboratories and a 300-seater lecture hall. The university boasted of a strength of 10000 students and more than 200 teachers. In his travelogue, the famous Chinese traveller Huen Tsang makes a mention of how tough it was to gain admission to Nalanda. Students had to write an entrance exam and just 3% of students managed to pass and gain admission! What high standards! 

Isn’t it amazing that Indians pioneered the concept of a University? Makes me proud to know that we not only accorded importance to schooling and college education but were well versed with the need of a University too!

Believe it or not - That's Incredible India!

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