Vikramaśīla monastery, (near) Colgong, Bihar, IN

Raw data

"During the time of King Ramapala at the beginning of the 11th century there is said to have been 160 teachers and 1000 students in the monastery. You must go to Vikramasila via Patharaghat, a picturesque hill where there are rock cut caves, numerous Buddhist statues and a fine view over the Ganges. From there the road goes another 3 kilometres to the main ruins, the dimensions of which are truly impressive. A broad processional way leads up to the monastery's main entrance. The remains of the huge stone pillars that once supported the roof of the gatehouse can be seen on the left and right. Passing through the gate you enter a vast quadrangle surrounded by monks cells. The thickness of the walls suggest than there may have been in two or even three tires of cells. In the middle of the quadrangle is the immense main temple, built on a cross plan, rising in three terraces and with shrines on each of its four sides. Terracotta figures once decorated the sides of the terraces but only a few of these now remain. Unfortunately all the statues found on the site are locked up in a large building and can't be seen. […] To get there you will have to hire a vehicle in Bhagalpur and go via Kahalgong and Patharaghat, a distance of about 50 kilometres over bumpy dusty roads."
Input by: tmciolek, 24 Jan 2009.

"History of old Vikramshila University
A fortified Vikramaśīla was destroyed by Muslim invaders fighting the Sena dynasty along with the other major centers of Buddhism in India around 1200. The remains of the ancient university have been partially excavated at village Antichak in the Bhagalpur district, Bihar state, India, and the process is still underway.
Vikramasila (village Antichak, district Bhagalpur, Bihar) is located about 50 km east of Bhagalpur and about 13 km north-east of Kahalgaon, a railway station on Bhagalpur-Sahebganj section of Eastern Railway. It is approachable through 11 km long motorable road diverting from N.H.80 at Anadipur about 2 km from Kahalgaon.
Excavated remains represent the ruins of Vikramasila Mahavihara the celebrated university founded by Pala king Dharmapala in late 8th or early 9th Century A.D. It prospered for about four centuries before it collapsed in the beginning of 13th Century A.D. It is known to us mainly through Tibetan sources, especially the writings of Taranath, the Tibetan monk historian of 16th-17th Century A.D.
Vikramasila was one of the largest Buddhist universities having more than hundred teachers and about one thousand students. It produced eminent scholars who were often invited by foreign countries to spread Buddhist learning, culture and religion. The most distinguished and eminent among all was Atisa Dipankara, the founder of the Sarma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, metaphysics, logic etc. were taught here, but the most important branch of learning was tantrism.
Meticulous excavation at the site conducted initially by Patna University (1960-69) and subsequently by Archaeological Survey of India (1972-82) has revealed a huge square monastery with a cruciform stupa in its centre, a library building and cluster of votive stupas. To the north of monastery a number of scattered structures including a Tibetan and a Hindu temple have been found. The entire spread is over an area of more than one hundred acres.
The monastery, or residence for the Buddhist monks, is a huge square structure, each side measuring 330 metres having a series of 208 cells, 52 on each of the four sides opening into a common verandah. A few brick arched underground chambers beneath some of the cells have also been noticed which were probably meant for confined meditation by the monks. […]"

"Reference to a monastery known as vikramashila is found in Tibetan records. The Pala ruler Dharmapala was its founder. The exact site of this mahavihara is at Antichak, a small village in Bhagalpur district (Bihar). The monastery had 107 temples and 50 other institutions providing room for 108 monks. It attracted scholars from neighbouring countries."

"Colgong (also called Kahalgaon) is a city and a municipality in Bhagalpur district in the state of Bihar, India. […] It is located on the bank of Ganges river."

Colgong, India Page
World:India:Bihar State of
Latitude 25.2667 Longitude 87.2167

An ancient university at Vikramaśīla, in Bihar (circa 800-1040) -

Input by: tmciolek, 10 Jun 2009.

"In 1040 Atisha and Nagtso set out for Tibet, accompanied by Gya Lotsawa, who had aided them at Vikramalashila, serving as translator. Unfortunately Gya Lotsawa did not survive the journey, passing away before they arrived in Nepal"
Input by: tmciolek, 14 Dec 2012.

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 05 Apr 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Vikramasila monastery, IN.

General location of the Vikramasila monastery, IN.
Lat 25.2810 Long 87.2530
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20IN)&ll=25.2810,87.2530&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Vikramasila monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Bihar

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 25.2810 Long 87.2530 - position of excavated ruins overlooking Ganges, NE of village of Anadipur, using - tmciolek, 17 Jun 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • 780 - 820 CE. Established by royal patronage
  • MBM chrono-tag: 0767-99p 0800-32p - tmciolek 14 Dec 2012
  • 0767-99p 0800-32p 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 1167-99c - tmciolek 14 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeology. Tibetan texts.

16. Additional notes

  • 160 teachers and 1000 students. Tibetan text of the 11th Century
  • A huge square structure, each side measuring 330 metres having a series of 208 cells, 52 on each of the four sides opening into a common verandah -

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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