Vikramshila is 50 km from Bhagalpur in the state of Bihar. The Vikramshila University was founded in the 8th century AD, which grew to become the intellectual center for Tantric Buddhism. In the beginning of the 11th century AD, during the reign of King Ramapala, there were 160 teachers and 1000 students in the monastery. This was the age when the India of yesteryears was going through a transitory phase i.e. the early medieval period. The great dynasties were gradually giving way to the invaders from the West. The age was no longer The Golden Age. Political and social values were crumbling, as was the hold of the central political authority.
This was the political setting when Dharampala established the Vikramshila, a top a hill on the banks of the river Ganges in Magadha. A joint board of scholars governed the Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities. The entire campus was circular in structure spread out within a radius of nearly 150 miles. There were 53 rooms meant for Tantrik practice, another 54 for general use and 17 monastic cells opening into the verandahs. This University was established primarily to spread Buddhism.
The State was responsible for the maintenance of the Pundits, teachers and the students. Diplomas were awarded and the scholars shared the profit of the University.
Vikramshila had excellent student exchange programmes with Tibet. The curriculum included Grammar, Metaphysics, Logic, Rituals, Astronomy, Medicine and Economics.
The University provided very good education to students but it could not resist the onslaught of the invaders and was soon destroyed. Bakhtiyar Khilji’s invasion completely uprooted this famous University. The remains of the Vikramshila University, the medievial centre to the conservation and propagation of Buddhist education is still a visual delight for visitors. But, it is another matter that in absence of any organised efforts for its up-keep, there is an imminent danger of its slipping down in the annals of history as a monument that was.