The next day I wanted to visit the ancient university of Nalanda. It was a long walk to the bus station in Gaya, but I got an early start. I crossed over a dry river bed (it is the dry season) and I was surprised to see a few people trying to wash clothes in the few puddles of water left.
It was a couple hours by bus to get to Nalanda. Next, it was another long walk to get to the actual site. There were horse carts, but my patience was wearing thin trying to share one. It was a few km away, so I walked past the farms until the brick ruins of the over 1000 year old university that held over 10,000 students. I also visited the archaeological museum and the Xuan Zang Memorial Hall, which fitting to come to the final destination of this ancient Chinese traveler and his 17 year trip to get to India and back. (photos)
The way back to Gaya was not so easy. I was able to share a horse cart this time for the first leg, then I had to get a local bus to the next biggest town of Rajgir, then I had to wait an hour or so for a bus that passes by. There was one bus, but a lot of yelling and pushing and fighting for people to get on. I kept my distance and waited for the next one. This one wasn’t much better, but I got on and and to stand for most of the two hour trip. There was one good news, one local person helped me share an autorickshaw back to the area near my hotel. It would have been impossible to share and pay the local price without his help.
The day after, I visited Bodhgaya by autorickshaw. I paid the foreigner price to go all the way there, but of course it wasn’t a simple direct ride there. There was a change of driver halfway through and he couldn’t just take me, but had to wait around and fill up the whole thing.
Bodhgaya was filled with people from around the world. I saw Japanese, Chinese, Westerners, Thai, and Tibetans. The Tibetans move in to the town for a few months and I had a chance to eat at a seasonal Tibetan restaurant. On the way back to Gaya, I was able to share an autorickshaw for a good price. (photos)
I spent an extra day waiting for my train in Gaya. This time a AC Sleeper bound for Puri, Orissa.