Since its inception in the 5th century CE, during Emperor Ashoka's reign, the ancient site of Nalanda has been a magnet for teachers, students and travelers from foreign lands, especially India s neighbors and lands further in Asia. The book will provide a history of Nalanda from ancient times to the present, examining the remains of the site's temples and monasteries as well as the stone and bronze sculptures excavated at Nalanda. In the course of presenting Nalanda, it will consider some of the myths associated with the monastery, for example, Ashoka's role in its establishment, the destruction of Nalanda by Bakhtiyar Khalji, the international character of the institution, and the modern conception of Nalanda as a university, one revived with the establishment of the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara and the new international Nalanda University.
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Frederick M. Asher teaches at the Department of Art History, University of Minnesota. He is a senior academician and specialist in South Asian art. His current research considers the visual culture of the Indian diaspora, the visual culture of Buddhist pilgrimage sites and the visual culture of the Indian Ocean.
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