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Odantapuri, also called Odantapura or Uddandapura, was a Buddhist monastery in what is now Bihar, India. It was established by the Pala Emperor Gopala I of in the 7th century. It is considered the second oldest of India's universities and was situated in Magadha. Acharya Sri Ganga of Vikramashila had been a student here. According to the Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students at Odantapuri. Odantpuri was situated at a mountain called Hiranya Prabhat Parvat and the bank of the river Panchanan.

In the modern era, it is Bihar Sharif, headquarters of Nalanda district.

In a Tibetan history of the Kalachakra tantra[1] by Ngakwang Künga Sönam, 27th Sakya Trizin (Wylie: ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams,1597–1659), it is mentioned that Odantapuri was administered by "Sendhapas," the Tibetan referent for Theravadins from Sri Lanka.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pala period in ancient Bengal and Magadha. According to Tibetan sources, five great mahaviharas stood out: Vikramaśīla University, the premier university of the era; Nalanda, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapura Mahavihara, Odantapuri, and Jagaddala.[2] The five monasteries formed a network; "all of them were under state supervision" and there existed "a system of co-ordination among them . . it seems from the evidence that the different seats of Buddhist learning that functioned in eastern India under the Pala were regarded together as forming a network, an interlinked group of institutions," and it was common for great scholars to move easily from position to position among them.[3]

The university perished, along with Nalanda, at the hands of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1193. Khilji's descendants would form the Khilji dynasty in 1290 and become known for their assault on Indian religions.


  1. ^ ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams. "༄༅།དཔལ་དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོའི་ཟབ་པ་དང་རྒྱ་ཆེ་བའི་དམ་པའི་ཆོས་བྱུང་བའི་ཚུལ་ལེགས་པར་བཤད་པ་ངོ་མཚར་དད་པའི་ཤིང་རྟ་". TBRC. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. 
  2. ^ Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-329-X pg 15
  3. ^ Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 352-3

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