Statue of Buddha at Nalanda
Photographer: Caddy, Alexander E.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a statue of Buddha from Nalanda, in Bihar, taken by Alexander Caddy in 1895. Nalanda was originally famous as the sanctuary of Shariputra, one of Buddha's followers. It was visited by Buddha and Ashoka, the Mauryan Emperor, however there are very few archaeological remains from this early period. Nalanda soon became a major centre of Mahayana Buddhist studies and by the 7th Century scholars from all over Asia were visiting and studying at the monasteries and university. As time passed it's importance waned until in the 13th century, Muslim influence in the area became stronger and Nalanda was abandoned by Buddhists. Today, the site consists of a row of nine ruined Buddhist monasteries and four two-storey square temples with raised central sanctuaries. The outside of the latter were decorated with pilasters and images set in niches. Nalanda played an influential role in Indian art production and large quantities of Mahayana Buddhist sculptures were produced here. Sculptures from this site appear in the Indian Museum in Calcutta as well as at museums in Patna and New Delhi.