Taxila University is the world’s oldest, most recognized university proving that the concept of a full-fledged university was originated in India (proud to be an Indian). As a guest, when you visit Taxila, you feel or rather you experience history. It’s a city of contrasts and sensation. The city continues to amaze you, amaze you more and more everywhere you go. The city has been touched by almost all great rulers, Emperor Asoka, Lord Buddha, Alexander the great, and Emperor Kanishka explaining why Taxila is a city of grandeur. It has evolved magnificently in all aspects and captures the hearts of all. Taxila was conquered by Alexander and later on came under the rule of the Mauryan dynasty. But, it was during the reign of king Ashoka, that Taxila grew the most. In the next 200 years, Taxila became the hub of great learning. But as it is in the nature of every good thing to come to an end, the Buddhist monasteries and many stupas at Taxila were smashed on a large level by the Hephthalites (nomadic unions in Central Asia) and, after that, sadly the city is not the same.
The city was admired for the Taxila University, a globally well-renowned institute of education in old India.Today; the university’s ruins are located at a distance of about twenty miles from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Back then, when this university was on the go, about 10,500 students from all over India and also, across the world came to the Taxila university to pursue higher studies. Taxila University, at that time taught the most number of subjects, than anywhere in the world, which included science, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, mathematics, music, religion etc. But the study of medicine was the most highly developed in this university. Students entered the university when they reached the age of sixteen. This university, however was not as planned as the university at Nalanda and Bihar, to develop the hostel system but as the quality of learning was higher than most of the universities, pupils used to stay with their teachers for education. The pupil either would pay for his stay or lend services to the teacher and his family. Taxila University was among those universities which gave priority to learning rather than fees and money. If the university realized that any particular student, not having enough money, had an urge to learn, they would support him/her in every way they could.
According to a fact, Chanakya (Kautilya) an advisor to the great Chandragupta Maurya taught at the Taxila University. Taxila produced many bright minds such as Panini (the great Sanskrit grammarian), Kautilya (Chanakya) and Charaka (a popular physician of ancient India).
Chandragupta Maurya (the great ruler), during the rule of Asoka, Taxila was famed as a Buddhist centre. Also during his reign, for trade many new roads were constructed and but there was one main road connecting Pataliputra with Taxila. In that period, it was a great step.
Exploring Taxila is a journey to life. The incredible ruins, the statues of Gandhara and pictures of Buddha take the city to a whole level! And the most splendid thing is the ruins are perfectly well preserved. The ruins are the reason for the city’s magnificence. It’s a very important archeological site and interest’s people with love for history (people like Indiana Jones!). But it seems that more of these kinds of ruins are still waiting to be excavated. Generally, a day seems small to visit all these historical places. But if you can manage, you won’t be disappointed.
Note: If you are there for a day or two, visit the Taxila Museum, you’ll cover it all. ENJOY!