One of the
important Nalanda stone inscriptions, discovered in 1863, refers to the eleventh year of
Mahipala I. This inscription also refers to the destruction of Nalanda by fire and its
subsequent restoration. The excavations made in Nalanda show unmistakable signs of such a
fire. The end of Nalanda as one of the most important and glorious centres of Buddhistic
monasteries and temples can only be explained in the context of the wider issue of the
decline of Buddhism from India.
Bihar and Bengal
were the last two provinces where the light of Buddhism was kept aflame with the help of
royal patronage. Tantricism had already crept in as is amply borne out even by some of the
finds in Nalanda. Buddhism was already on the decline when Hiuen Tsang visited the place.
Many of the important centres of early Buddhism were found deserted by him.
The preaching of Kumarilabhatta and Sankara-charya in the
Eighth century brought in a revival of Brahmanical Hinduism and a consequent decline of
Buddhism, which had already decayed considerably. The Muslim invaders were fanatic against
the Buddhist monks and monasteries, and their fanaticism led to the final destruction of
in any of them. The Buddhist laity had almost disappeared and royal patronage had dried