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Ruins of Vikramashila Mahavihara

Vikramashila (Skt. Vikramaśīla; T. rnam gnon tshul རྣམ་གནོན་ཚུལ་) was one of the three most important Buddhist monasteries in India during the Pala Empire, along with Nalanda and Odantapuri. Its location is now the site of Antichak village, Bhagalpur district in Bihar.[1]

Vikramashila was established by the Pala emperor Dharmapal (783 to 820 AD) in response to a supposed decline in the quality of scholarship at Nalanda. Atiśa, the renowned pandita and philosopher, is listed as a notable abbot. It was destroyed by the forces of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji around 1193.[2][3]

Vikramashila is known to us mainly through Tibetan sources, especially the writings of Tāranātha, the Tibetan monk historian of the 16th–17th centuries.[4]

Further reading


  1. Anupam, Hitendra (2001). "Significance of Tibetan Sources in the Study of Odantapuri and Vikaramsila Mahavihars". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 61: 424–428. JSTOR 44148119. 
  2. Alexis Sanderson (2009). "The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period". In Einoo, Shingo. Genesis and Development of Tantrism. Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. p. 89. 
  3. Eaton, Richard (December 22, 2000). "Temple desecration in pre-modern India". Frontline. 17 (25): 62–70. 
  4. "Excavated Remains at Nalanda". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
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